So, interesting experiment.
I've been trying to do some writing every day, even if it's just a little bit of non-consequential stuff during Baby's morning nap. If I have more time to write, I go with it, but even if I have to spend the rest of the day doing chores and babycare, at least I had that little bit of "I wrote something" momentum to carry me through.
I decided to start with just poetry - one poem a day, doesn't have to be a good poem, just something on a page. Very low expectations. The point is just to make daily writing a habit, keep the creative muscles working, because the longer I go without writing, the harder it is to get started again.
It's been going pretty well. I've been using one of the poetry prompt books that I got for Xmas, the one that JoAnn introduced during a workshop at the writing retreat in the fall. I don't always get a chance to write, but I try. I don't always get anything from the prompt, but I try. Sometimes it leads to other things, sometimes I realize there's something else I wanted to work on and just needed to get the words flowing. In a couple of weeks I produced a good handful of protopoems to work with, some new, some archived stuff I got inspired to revise.
Last week I decided to throw some fiction in the mix. I'd made a promise to myself that I'd have a story to submit to my writing group in March because the last time it was my turn I didn't have anything to share. I still saved the mornings for new poetry, but during my few few free afternoon sessions I started messing around with a story premise I'd gotten from a recent dream (I swear, I don't know where my career would be without the blessings of my dreams).
I wrote a few pages, some good stuff, some silly stuff. I wasn't taking it that seriously, because keeping this writing thing low-pressure was a big part of the plan: I want to get to a point that writing is FUN, not stressful. BUT, on Tuesday morning I discovered that the March deadline had snuck up on me! I still wanted to keep my promise, but I didn't have enough new work to make submission worth it.
I decided to go for it. I spent every waking, non-parenting moment trying to get this story moving. On Wednesday evening I still wasn't far enough along, but I actually liked where the story was going - it had crossed from "story idea" to "almost-done first draft". So I begged my critique friends to bear with me another day, which they did, Godzblessum.
By Thursday (last) night I STILL wasn't done the story, and I have some serious questions to answer before it can be fully, satisfyingly resolved. But, I was able to send 18 pages of consequtive manuscript to the group, pages with enough meat and polish that I think I can expect some reasonble and helpful feedback.
So, that's awesome.
The trouble, though, is that for three days I lived in a state of writing fervor. It's the same state of fervor that has produced some of my most successful writing in the past, but it's not necessarily a good state to be in. When I'm in that state, very little else gets done. My house is a mess. I'm too distracted to cook, let alone wash dirty dishes; we ate out on Wednesday and ordered pizza on Thursday. I'm behind on laundry, grocery shopping, and still haven't deposited my paycheck.
Worse than this stuff (and yes, for me, losing control of the keeper of hearth things is pretty bad), I'm also impatient with my family. Writing like that keeps me in a constant, even dangerous state of frustration, because it is SO VERY HARD to maintain. If the kids and husband aren't demanding my attention, just when I'm trying to settle in to figure out the next line, the phone is ringing or a work email comes up or WHATEVER. I honestly feel like the universe conspires to keep me from being productive, which is why my writing career isn't more established, and me insisting on writing full-time is like fighting destiny. It fucking sucks.
Now that I'm on the other side of that writing fever, I'm happy with having an almost-done story, but determined to find a way to balance all of this so that I don't have to keep repeating this unhealthy cycle. I want to have the "I finished something" feeling, but I don't want to have to sacrifice big chunks of time and my sanity to accomplish it.
There's a balance to this that is still eluding me. Funny how it always come down to that - balance.
I'm not so great at that - always been an all in or out kind of girl. But I'll keep trying. Just, maybe I'll figure out how to be more zen about it.