I used to write so much more. In every sliver of time I could find. In little moleskin notebooks, on my beloved first MacBook Air. Every thought would be jotted down and I would just see where it would lead.
That was my writing gift – I’ve never really honed it or practiced it or taken a disciplined approach to it. Words would enter my head and my job was to dutifully record them.
I can’t explain it anymore than that. When I would write, I would enter this state where the next word just appeared, for my hand to translate by keyboard or pen. But that necessitated me being near some mechanism for me to record the thoughts as close to me having them. I have pulled over my car or just whipped out my phone and stopped in the street. There is no “saving” the thought. Once the moment has passed, so too, it seems, has my writing.
That was 5 years ago. Before I had my first daughter. Before my schedule was naturally and completely subsumed. In service of the needs that are immediate and all consuming. Having my girls has filled my life and expanded it in ways that I never thought possible. But so too has it completely disrupted something that is so personally vital to me.
I write for really no other reason but I have to. This is the thing that feeds my soul, above all else. Again, another thing I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t think I do it particularly well, but that’s not the point. I do it because I must.
I first started sharing some of these thoughts with my first blog when I was 24 and just moving down to the US. But that was more to stay in touch than anything else. It wasn’t until the day I turned 30 that I really started to share my thoughts in earnest.
But even though I’ve written pieces meant to share some observation or insight, the writing I most love to do is immediate and raw and honest.
That takes in-the-moment writing.
And that’s what I have found so missing from my life.
I’m only realizing now that it might never come back the way it used to. I just can’t see how it can. Often I feel my best thought threads coming when I’m in the middle of playing with my girls or in the car on the way to something. It just isn’t feasible or practical to leave or pull over now and capture the thought.
So if it can’t be impromptu, I wonder if I can teach myself to schedule it. Whether I can learn my way to discipline in my writing practice. Actually make it a practice.
A part of me mourns the way things used to be – where thoughts and ideas and words would come to me and I could create a time and a space to be with them. But if that is not to be, then at least I can still find a way to spend time with them.
Every parent feels this tug and tension between giving a bit more to the kids and the family vs. work and having little left to devote to yourself. We all face it. We all feel it.
But 5 years in I’m finally seeing the space to wedge something like this into. Maybe it’ll be a Sunday morning stolen (or scheduled) hour. Or like right now, when I’ve woken up at 5:30am to be able to write this.
I don’t know if it will work. If this will bring the joy it used to or writing that is in any way enjoyable to read.
But I have to try.