Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ten Minutes

Summer is kicking me around the block, friends.  Every moment from now until the kids go back to school has been planned away, and during the school year every moment is logged and accounted for, and I fall into a spiral of despair about time whizzing by as speedily as I did in my car past the police officer that one time I got a ticket and it was all my husband’s fault because I was following him on an unfamiliar road and then after the ticket my husband STILL didn’t slow down enough for me to follow him and I took a wrong turn and got lost and things were ugly at home that night.

Wait.  Where was I?

Because things are moving rapidly around here, I feel like I’m playing a one-woman game of catch-up against the world, and I’m losing miserably.  It’s survival mode on steroids around here, folks.  About the only saving grace is that my kids are old enough to mow the lawn and feed themselves.

They feed themselves cookies and soda, but still.

I haven’t written anything.  I haven’t done anything blog-worthy, either.  And it is soul-crushing, because ennhhhhh… I MUST WRITE.  And I can’t figure out how to get back on the horse.

Which usually means that I’m about to get back on the horse, thanks to the following advice to writers that I hear pretty often:

Write every day.  Write when you have ten minutes, write when you don’t have anything to say, write even if it’s crap.  Writing is my preferred mode of expression, and – by the way, thank goodness ‘writer’ is one of those nebulous, broad designations – I took this advice to heart.

It’s amazing how great advice sounds before you have to do anything about it.

So I sit in my chair, fingers poised on the edge of greatness, the precipice of understanding, the foothills of the great mountains of truth.  I wait for pearls of wisdom to drop onto the page, er, the screen.

I got nothing.  And oh hey, the laundry needs to be folded again.


Writing is a muscle that you have to exercise, I hear.   Exercise – that terrible word that conjures up pain and time spent sweating and pushing yourself to exhaustion only to undo a fraction of the damage a body has sustained as a result of poor lifestyle habits.  I hate the thought of it, enter into it only grudgingly.  Since I quit the gym most of my muscles are slowly atrophying into masses of substance that I’d rather not even think about.  I could be in better shape, I guess.  I’ve thrown my back out while doing not-so-strenuous tasks like reaching across a car seat and climbing into bed.  My core strength might not be all that it could be.

Why must something that is so good for us be so difficult?

Is writing good for me?  Spending time alone sitting threatens at a lifetime of sciatic pain and relationship breakdown.  Exposing my thoughts and dreams and desires that might not previously have seen the light of day is scary.  Ignored household tasks and piles of mail and being late to appointments and SOON - school pick-up - and all the things that eat up the hours, days, weeks of my life degenerates into chaos.

But for ten minutes a day?

How hard could it be?

Even if this is all I have to offer?



  1. My well is dry these days. I keep telling myself that I will find a routine when the kids are back in school. I was going to shoot for an hour a day, but maybe ten minutes is more realistic.
    We should start a support group.

    1. I would love a support group. One that also takes turns cleaning each other's houses.

  2. Summer and writing just do not go well together. Looking back, I notice tons of things I COULD have written about, had I the time of the inclination.

    1. It grieves me, not having the time. The lack of inclination I can handle. That usually comes with a "oh, who cares" addendum.

  3. I don't know...sometimes I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to write - must exercise, ten minutes, failure if I don't feel like it, and all the rest. All writers have dry spells. And artists, and songwriters, and sculptors...and still they manage.
    I can tell you this, though - when my students have said "I can't write - I don't know what to write - it's too hard to write - etc., etc.," I tell them just do it even if you have to write about how you don't have anything to write about it and see what happens. It works. And so, it seems, that's kind of what you did here, right? :)

    1. Yes - exactly! I don't always know what to write, and it always helps to sort of put that out there. It always gets things moving in the right direction. I think I need to calm down about it.

  4. I've never written every day. I just can't.
    Some of my favorite pieces though, were written in 10 minutes.
    Go with the flow, enjoy life as it is now. You'll get back on the horse when the time is right. xo

    1. I think when you write when you're inspired, when the writing is more heartfelt and comes more easily, we like what we have to say. It's when I'm forcing it that I think "Now what was I thinking when I wrote that?" I have to learn to just let the days that I don't write go by without worrying about it.

  5. 10 minutes? MY KINGDOM for 10 (uninterrupted and creative minutes!!)
    You're so right, it should be so easy (exercise too..I mean 30 lousy minutes...but wait is that Law & Order on..a marathon..oh maybe I'll just sit down for a minut...zzzz)

    When I pressure myself to do it, it's always crap. But the 10 minutes thing, I'm trying to get there...right after Law & Order.

    Love you and your words.

  6. I try, I try. But, "I feel like I’m playing a one-woman game of catch-up against the world, and I’m losing miserably. It’s survival mode on steroids around here, folks." YOu took the words right out of my mind:)!

  7. You're not alone in this. It seems to be going around, and I blame end of summer vacations and strangely early school years for it. I say strangely early because where I come from, school doesn't start until after Labor Day!
    Anyway, I once had a three year+ dry spell so I'm not one to talk. It scares me that it will happen again.

  8. I tried so hard to write a blog post a day throughout July (not posting all of them - just building up a reserve), and I was incredibly hard on myself when I only managed 26. This is supposed to be fun, and it is most of the time... the times when I'm not under pressure.

    Eventually you'll get your writing groove back, once you are reminded of why you started your blog to begin with or when you are inspired by something completely different.