Sunday, 27 March 2016
for all the mom-writers out there
I know there are a good many of you who have managed to follow your passion for writing, even with a house full of kids and varying responsibilities. This is not for you.
Hey you. Who, like me, has juggled until your fingers feel like bruised nubs.
You, who wrote as a kid and knew you would always write.
You, who had high school teachers and college professors telling you, "you've got something– you must write."
You, who took the journey of many women before you and, try as you might to sit down and write your biggest project, let everything and everyone come first.
You, honey. This is for you.
I am a writer and I've been a writer all my life.
Screw the rhetoric that makes me feel "less than" when I read off writers' credentials, the awards, the honours, the degrees and list of literary appointments.
That will never be me.
Me–obtaining a nursing degree I was not so interested in, but thankfully allowed vast experience in mental health, and enabled me to work and support myself, paying my own way through university.
Me–choosing a career of helping others because I'd always been intrigued by people's complex stories. Yes, maybe I should have put the full-time effort into writing people's complex stories, but instead I made a career of helping people rewrite their stories so that their lives brought less pain to themselves and others. (crucify me)
Me–with my mate at 23, married by 25 and a mother to three by the age of 33, living a complex existence while working my socks off in mental health-- always squeezing writing in when I could-- but unfortunately most of that writing was to finish my BA and MA, each were completed (with honours) while nursing my first baby . . . and my last.
Me–divorced and remarried and now co-parenting a family of nine children as my little straggler boy was born when I was 43. Yes, 43. Throughout all of that I wrote. I wrote poetry sign-posting my journey, I wrote articles, I journaled, I blogged . . . and then, finally, I started the book. And finished it.
Let's talk about you, because I know most of you are like me.
Part of you feels guilty or "less than" because you know you are a writer, but you don't feel your portfolio says that you are a writer.
You hesitate to embrace the creative in yourself because everyone and everything else in this world seems to demand to come first.
I feel you honey. I am you.
I am working hard to take care of myself and part of that is to take care of my writing, which is a marriage of sorts. A commitment.
I'm working at letting go of thinking I'm too old to be putting out queries for my first book– look at how prolifically these other ladies have written, who am I . . .– comparing myself to others' accomplishments that were simply not meant to happen in my lifetime.
After letting my book sit and be just for me, I've decided to uncage it to fly and see if anyone welcomes its wayward self into their window– while trying to ignore the inevitable comparisons to other writers that creep into my consciousness.
My life has taken difficult, varied and innumerable twists and turns; a fact I cannot change. I bet yours has too.
But we can do this.
We can write.
We can call ourselves writers.
We can put our words out into the world.
Sister, let go of the "shoulds" and "what ifs" and embrace the "why not," letting that tension go and getting to the work at hand.
Write for yourself.
Write for others.
And when you are too busy to write in the moment, make note of the brilliant idea that flickers in your mind or comes in a dream and sets you alight.
And come back to it; she'll be waiting for you.