Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Explanation

I would love to begin this post something like this:

Yowza!  Life has been so busy!  I haven't had a second to sit down and write.

I would love to say that the reason there has been nothing written and nothing to read is a result of busy summer schedules.  Or that I've been working out in the yard.  Or that I've been reading hundreds of books.  Or that I've been writing elsewhere.  Or that I've been working on my massive blog revamp.  Or that I've had my hands full with solo parenting while Joey's away.  Or that I've had so many things going on that I just don't have the time.

All of that is true, by the way.  Summer IS busy.  I've decided to be a good neighbor and not have the yard on the street that makes people question if the house attached to it is abandoned.  And I've been devouring books (get to the Library and pick up Honor by Elif Shafak right now!).   I have submitted an article here and there.  The blog revamp has been in the works for the last, oh, two years.  And Joey gets home SO soon which means he has been gone SO long.  Yes, life is busy, this season is busy.

But that's not why I haven't been writing.  You see, I am a firm believer that I choose how to spend my time.  Somedays I work in the yard all naptime.  Somedays I workout (not often enough).  Some nights I curl up with a good book.  Some nights I veg out and watch PramFace.  Some dinners I spend time on a nutritious meal.  Some dinners Curious George babysits so I can quickly throw together Mac N Cheese.  And whether it's conscious or not, those are all choices.  When I say, "Oh, I don't have time to (fill in the blank)," it's because I've chosen to do something else with my time.  I can't say that I don't have time to write.  I have to be honest and say that I have chosen not to write.

And here's where I get authentic and confess a little piece of my heart: I haven't written because I've felt a little bit like a failure.  Yes, I've had a few (like 3) articles published in my lifetime.  But the number I have submitted and had rejected is far greater.  And yes, people have told me they like my writing (if that's you, thank you. . . I needed that).  But that little voice in my head convinces me that saying, "I like you're blog" is just something people say when they know you blog.  I've felt frustrated by my inability to pull the trigger and switch my blog to Wordpress, such a little thing that seems insurmountable to me.  I've felt nervous about the fact that part of writing real stuff is being vulnerable.  I've seen my writing become more and more Momblog and less and less Julie.  Disclaimer: I, Julie, am a mom, and therefore write about motherhood from time to time.  And I know so many creative people who are doing amazing things like writing books and screenplays, making music, living out their dreams, changing the world; do I really have anything to contribute?

You know what snapped me out of my rut?  Yep.  I was chosing to waste some time on the internet instead of writing (or sleeping, cooking, reading, and other useful ventures) and came across this box of pencils:

Contemporary Desk Accessories

What would I attempt if I knew I could not fail?  When I first poised myself that question I thought of running a marathon, and then I thought that maybe a half marathon would be more my style, or maybe a 5k, or how about a mile?  Maybe I'll just run to the end of the street and call it good.  I realized that I undermine my ability to grow by not attempting things I fear I will fail at.  If I knew I couldn't fail, I'd snatch up one of those pencils and scratch out words that have been milling around inside of me waiting to be let out.  I want to to write more, and better, and different.  When I think of writing outside of the lens of success vs. failure, I have a lot I want to say.  Who knows?  Some of it might be worth reading.  And if no one reads it but me?  Well, I'm learning to be ok with that too.

Success is relative.  It is what we make of the mess we have made of things.
T.S. Eliot


Cynthia Morton said...

Julie, I believe you are describing my biggest downfall - I don't try new things because I convince myself that I can't do it, or can't do it well.
Thanks for your open honesty, and the inspiration to overcome.
Love you!

Emily Blair said...

Julie, your blog is always so good for me. This particular post is completely relevant to where I have been mentally for several months now, both in the "choosing how you use your time" way and the "afraid to fail" way. I wish we could sit down and have several hours of conversation about these very things because I feel like your wisdom would be invaluable. Writing has always been a passion for me, but I lost it somewhere, lost the ability to do it without doing it for the praise. It's like the painter in The Great Divorce who forgot he paints for the love of the light. I have been wishing so much lately that I could recapture the freedom with which I used to express myself creatively. I blame it on lack of time, but usually it's choosing lessor things because I've told myself I'm not good enough.

Anna Stenwick said...

Well, Julie, I don't even know you that well and your blog is still on my reading list. So that must say SOMETHING about your writing, yes? It's so hard to find motivation with young children, don't beat yourself up! I DO love your blog!