It’s written every single week in my planner. Maybe not the first thing in the “work to-do” list column. That’s reserved for something really pressing, something that might actually contribute to my income or have significant impact on a legitimate responsibility. Write something. It’s more like a fun idea or whimsical suggestion. But still I include it, almost as an afterthought, every Sunday when I’m filling out my to-do lists for the upcoming week.
I write three times more items on my “personal to-do” list: laundry, for one, because clearly if I don’t write it down I’m going to forget it’s actually a thing and it won’t get done; the errands that need to be run; the phone calls to make; the bills to pay; Halloween costumes to buy (two weeks written down and still no dice); other laughable household chore suggestions.
I make my weekly meal plan and my grocery list, then I take a stab at the work list. Write something. Write something. Dammit, why won’t you just write something?
The other lists take over, and “write something” becomes increasingly less essential, relegated to the expendable and gratuitous category, sort of like the “getting a pedicure” of tasks.
I put it off. I don’t want to look at it—why exactly am I not writing? I’m sure other people, non-writers, can relate to this. We all have a “write something” that we keep moving to the back burner, whether it’s working out, completing a passion project, carving out body care time, or taking the tiny steps to build a new career.
40 has been interesting so far; I find myself at a crossroads professionally with so many options but no clear path. There are so many maybes, so many possibilities. I feel torn; maybe the rut I am in isn’t an invitation to light a fire under my current work routine, but rather to make a totally new fire somewhere else.
My HerStories Project partner recently built the most beautiful, dynamic new membership community. It’s called HerStories Writers, and it’s for midlife women writers. It’s amazing: it’s a space (OFF Facebook!) for Gen X women writers to connect, learn through ongoing mini-courses about things like personal essay writing, self care for writers, building a platform, blogging, inspire one another through live group chats and co-writing sessions, and inspire themselves with weekly writing prompts. I love the idea of supporting each other’s writing as a community—so many of us are adrift and feel guilty for making our creative lives a priority. (You can check it out here!)
And yet as we encourage and champion other writers’ goals and successes, I continue to neglect my own.
Two weeks ago (because that’s how long it’s taken me to finish this lame blog post!! WHAT.), I ignored the other items on my list. I even skipped taking the dog on the long walk I felt she surely needed. I sat down and I wrote something. The HerStories Project just announced a call for submissions for a new project—A Fury of Her Own: Midlife Women on Embracing Anger and Changing the World.
It inspired me to sit down and write my own story, to process feelings that are decades-old and reflect on how I am channeling and using my own rage now as a mother of two daughters. I’m not sure if I will publish this story or not—it’s real, it’s raw, but even if it stays in my computer forever, I wrote something. And then this week I pulled out an idea I had 18 months ago (again, WHAT.) and started adding to it. I lament, “I used to spend hours every week writing!” The more “balanced” my life has become (read: being healthier and neglecting the house less), the less I write.
My girls are of the age now where they can coast while I do things independently. (Right now they are watching TV, home from “early release day” while I sit in bed and type . . . heaven.) As all moms do, I struggle with which items on my to-do list to tackle during these free periods. Today, the kitchen stays cluttered, the laundry stays waiting to be folded in the basket (three days and counting), and I fail to exercise. But I write something.
I hope each of you finds a few minutes or even hours to prioritize whatever YOUR “write something” is. You deserve it.
Such exciting things to share!
Listen To Your Mother Boulder is coming back for a 7th season! Save the Date for Saturday, April 27th!
The HerStories Project is publishing a new anthology in January! Check out the call for submissions forA Fury of Her Own: Midlife Women on Embracing Anger and Changing the World here.
And check out HerStories Writers, an online writing community for Gen X midlife women.
I recorded a new children’s CD! Shoot me a comment or email me above if you’d like a copy– digital downloads coming soon!