Writing through the Chaos

I have three little ones. I also have a career, although I’m on summer vacation, but I still have to do work in preparation for the next school year.

This means I have very little time to write.

It’s infuriating. I’ll get on a roll, and then somebody wakes up. Or somebody doesn’t take their nap. Or we have a zillion things planned. The house needs to be cleaned. There’s a project to work on. Something always happens.

I’ve been busy reading a smorgasbord of self-help books. Right now I’m reading Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection.” I think it’s all helping. I’m not as anxious and irate about not doing as much as I would like with my writing. I’m trying to aim for improvement but not beat myself up for the things beyond my control.

I’m waking up at 4:30 every day. This is working. I get a few hours of writing time before the rest of the house wakes up. It does require me to go to bed before 9PM every day or else I pay. That part sucks. I would love a few hours in the evening to do whatever I want.

But that’s okay. This is a fleeting little blip on my radar of life and things will sort out in time. If the worst that I experience right is less me time and more snuggle time with my adorable baby, I’m a lucky gal.

In the mean time, I’m making pretty good progress revising my fifth draft!! Five seems excessive, but you know what? Between drafts 1-4 I thought the story was pure crap. I hated it. I hated myself. I was sure I lacked any ability to put together a story that anyone would want to read. Now I’m finally seeing the light and things are materializing. I feel like I’ve been rubbing a piece of rock and finally it’s getting smooth and shiny and ready to be turned into jewelry. I mean, possibly after another couple of drafts! Seriously. I learn so much with each draft. Around draft 3 I had to resist the urge to abandon the project and start a new one. I reminded myself that I had to finish this story–no excuses. Now, on draft 5, the plot is coming together, and I actually want to keep working on it.

The point is, all is not hopeless. I love this quote:

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

-Michelangelo

The thing is, nobody ever tells you that Michelangelo spent hours and hours and hours working on that marble. Once we accept that anything beautiful will take time and effort and blood and sweat and tears, we can rid ourselves of the impatience that leads us to negative emotions that undermine our goals.

And as I told my son recently, hard work is supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to hurt. We’re supposed to want to run away from it. The people who stick through it are the ones who get to enjoy a better life.

And yes, I have dreams of my son quoting me someday Forest Gump-style, “mama always said…”

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