Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More writing. Less dwelling.

Since Little O's been born, time feels like a series of pockets. Zipped up most of the day, then flung open in hour increments when he naps. When he finally (finally) rests his bright red hair on the alphabet sheet and ends his day, it feels like my work day begins. It's in the evenings and late into the night that I sit down to work or write. 

This is no different from when I worked full time at a day job. In some ways, there's more time because the day isn't spent drowning in corporate stress and pressures. I may be physically exhausted, hauling Little O through our world, wrangling him upon changing tables or inside cribs and high chairs and strollers and carriers. I may be emotionally exhausted trying to understand what a mini-human who can not speak actually wants, tested by someone who knows more about wrongdoing than he pretends (but how can I scold that innocent face, those pleading up at me big-brown mirrored eyes?) But my mind is active and engaged with life and the world in a way it hadn't been inside a gray cubicle. And, for this reason, it feels like these very small pockets of time are more productive.

I'm not going to pretend I'm accomplishing loads of freelance work or knocking out novels and essays and stories in mere weeks. I can't say that I'm writing at some new level of quality. But my writing has become more focused. I thought, for a while, it was because of the time constraint alone but I realize it may be that active and alert mind throughout the rest of the day.

I used to use writing time for both writing and dwelling on what I would write or say and how I would say it. Now I dwell on words in some kind of secret passageway in my mind throughout the day, during the quick shower, the stroller walk to the park, at the sink washing dishes, or while feeding O yogurt from a spoon. And my writing time is, for the most part, writing time. Tapping out words. Playing around with them. And if words aren't coming, I move on to the next task on a very, very long list of to-do.

Of course, next week, it all could change. If motherhood has taught me anything, it's that nothing is static, everything is in motion, just a phase of the moon.

But for now. Today. More writing. Less dwelling. It's been interesting. 


  1. Agatha Christie said she wrote her best novels while standing at the sink washing dishes. :) I completely know what you mean...and generally speaking, this productive thinking time has stayed with me throughout motherhood. It may fade during deep three-year-old conversations or math lessons with my big girls, but it's ready to pop back up during all that seemingly "dead time" during folding laundry, vacuuming, driving in the car, etc. Honestly, I couldn't imagine how I would get any writing done if I worked a 9-5 job, as that ability for the mind to stretch is so much more limited!

  2. Melissa, this quiet time with the children is lovely day-dreaming time to try out words and sentences. It's a habit I cultivated when they were little and even now I do my chores in silence. Later, I can scribble in my notebook or tap out stuff on the keyboard. But I have really, really appreciated being able to stay home with my children throughout their growing up years.

  3. Enjoy every minute of your mommy time. They grow up way too fast. I didn't write when Katherine was little. I did crafts, sewed and scrapbooked. I remember doing them well into the night, as I also taught full time for a good portion of her childhood.