Some writers have a ritual: write in the nude, sip on a glass of wine, listen to music, or brew a cup of coffee or tea. Some writers have a place: their desk in their home office, a cozy nook in the den across from the fireplace, or the coffee shop on the corner. I don’t subscribe to any of those rituals on a regular basis. I wish I could adopt a certain type of routine, but between the everyday hectic and getting sleep at night, I just haven’t figured out my formula. As a matter of fact I’ve probably at some point explored all those options or ones just as similar, symbolic, or inspiring, but none have stuck at this point.
I guess the truth is I write any way that I can: on the edge of my bed with a sleepy toddler resting near my hip and six-year-old racing cars on the floor around my ankles. I write on the backs of receipts and brown paper bags, I write on the backs of envelopes (What else is junk mail for?), and write out loud into my tape recorder. I scribble down words and ideas for writing on anything I can get my hands on if my journal isn’t around.
Maybe this unorthodox random rhythm of writing is just what works for me, for now. My commitment to writing is there, but the place, time, and amount of writing vary like the blur of my busy days. I’ve accepted that the only way I can squeeze in a thoughtful, creative word or two between working full-time, cooking dinner, the dishes, laundry, packing lunches, tucking the kids in to bed, and late night political debates with my husband, is to claim those words, go after them, and tuck them in to whatever space, nook or crevice I can find.
To be honest, when I really think about my commitment to writing, I’m far too busy (aren’t we all) doing everything else to really write like I want to, or need to. But I’d like to think that maybe the “everything else” feeds my writing. So in some ways that busy, hectic life has some redeeming qualities and is bound to show up in the writing. And when I’m tempted to harbor a little writer’s guilt, I try to remind myself that these days I write because I love to, not because I necessarily have to. And if I’m not writing, I’m definitely reading, or at the very least, thinking about writing. Does that count?
Here’s to a new year not bogged down by resolutions, but freed by options, and hopefully some of those options will lead to lots of writing—-we’ll see. Happy New Year!