Writing Addiction


I would prefer to write than shower.  Seriously.  I know I am gross. I have been ordered to shower by my husband.  I can’t remember the last time I showered, but please know that I have mommy brain so I can’t remember what I had for lunch.  Oh, I didn’t eat lunch because I wrote.  I get so caught up in the creative process that I will take any free moment I have to myself to write, take photos, blog, create, or organize my little create-o-sphere.  I wouldn’t call my create-o-sphere too organized these days as there are so many piles of journals, papers, and junk all over my desk.

I am just going to name ten things on my desk:

1.  A bottle of calamine lotion (I used this recently to make a hand print with my son for his father’s birthday card)

2. A photo of a church door taken in Vermont in 2000

3. A pair of scissors with an orange handle

4. A Little Tikes plastic sander

5. The book:  Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published

6. A Patriots jersey — size 18 months with Brady written on the back, turned inside out,

7. A soup spoon

8. A binder with typewritten journal entries from a summer camp I worked at in 2000, and a journal made of construction paper — knot bracelets and friendship bracelets create a makeshift binding — the entry facing me says, “Dear Meg, I don’t think I know a freer spirit than you.  I admire your intellect and heart of gold.  The world needs more people like you.  Stay sweet & don’t forget about me. Love Always, Madeline.”

9. A roll of Dollar General clear tape

10. One flourescent green sticky note: blank

I am not sure how to get this mess organized. It seems I just put stuff on my desk after taking it out of my toddler’s hands. He recently ripped a photo of my grandmother from the 1920’s.  I am living in a state of chaos.

My Little Wonder Boy and Chaos Creator

I am reading Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones — on page 101 – 102, chapter titled Write Anyplace:

Take out another notebook, pick up another pen, and just write, just write.  In the middle of the world, make one positive step.  In the center of chaos, make one definitive act.  Just write.  Say yes, stay alive, be awake.  Just write.  Just write.  Just write.

Finally, there is no perfection.  If you want to write, you have to cut through and write.  There is no perfect atmosphere, notebook, pen, or desk, so train yourself to be flexible.  Try writing under different circumstances and in different places.  Try trains, buses, at kitchen tables, alone in the woods leaning against a tree, by a stream with your feet in the water, in the desert sitting on a rock, on the curb in front of your house, on a porch, a stoop, in the back seat of a car, in the library…in Texas, Kansas, or Guatemala, while sipping a Coke…

It wasn’t the physical accommodations that were perfect, but when we are in the heart of writing it doesn’t matter where we are: it is perfect.  There is a great sense of automony and security to know we can write anyplace.  If you want to write, finally you’ll find a way no matter what.”

So, here I am writing.  Trying to absorb the chaos as motivation, as muse, and something to get me going.  But really, all I want to do is tell my husband –“Why don’t you take Ben to Grampy and Grammy’s house.  I’ll get cleaned up and meet you over there.”

I love time alone.  I can be surrounded by a million things, and I will make a space of 12 inches by 12 inches and write.  But noise, and toddler tantrums, and splitting my mind in ten second fragments doesn’t work for me.  So I write on the weekends and at night, when my husband can watch our son.  I just am being flexible.  What other choice do I have?

I should really shower — seriously.  But I think I will write some more, since I have the house to myself (the dogs are outside and my boys are at my in-laws) and a fan on my desk in the room I call the Art Room, where I write.  I was once mobile, but my laptop crashed.  The Art Room is not air-conditioned, but I have a fan on my desk.  I think I could place a cat on my desk and it would blend into my desk, which  is such a mess.

What things are you doing to overcome your difficulties to make time and space in your life to write and create?

What doorway do you walk through to overcome your struggle to find space and time to write?  (door metaphor — since I really want to share the photo of the church door in Vermont — #2 in messy desk list)

What difficulties do you walk through to get to your creative space?

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15 thoughts on “Writing Addiction

  1. My 2-year-old brings a second case of cars and wants me to open it. He wants to be the center of attention or give his cars all his attention. I can get some writing done when he’s in a trance of his cars. I like to write early in the morning and edit when he naps. My brain is so often dead at night. Good post! Writers can’t stop writing.

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    • Indeed true. It is hit or miss. For the record, I did shower, shave my legs, and put on a foxy red dress. I have my coffee and I am trying to get through the business list of stuff to get done. Then I will edit some. I take the time when I can. It seems your early morning schedule works for you. I know my husband (who is an early riser) loves the quiet in the house to do his own thing. When I wake up early and see my son is still sleeping, along with my husband — I feel like I hit the lottery. I love that early time in the morning, but too often I don’t get to it because I stay up late too write. There is a certain beauty to the early morning quiet. I am on the stay-up-too-late-train and it wears me down. But I have always been a night owl.

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  2. The one thing I’ve learned about writing is there is no right or wrong way to do it. Just write, that’s all. 🙂

    There are always a million things that take us away from our creative space, but there is also always at least 10 minutes a day we can use for ourselves. Sometimes that ten minutes is worth four hours to a muse.

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    • CB — Congrats on all your awards you won. You deserve them. I enjoy reading your posts. You plan them out so carefully and your writing is so succinct. I can’t wait until I get to hold your book in my hand and I know I will someday.

      There is no right or wrong way1 Yes, I have found that when I just do it and drop all the plans to make it perfect I write. It’s not rocket science — it’s when I try to make it perfect in my head that I don’t type a word. I love the chapter in Anne Lamott’s book,”Bird by Bird” called “Shitty First Draft.”

      10 minutes a day of focused writing, without any distractions can certainly write a novel. I think we get it in our mind that we need a two week residency in the mountains of Montana to truly write. Nah, just ten minutes a day!

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  3. My creative space sounds like yours right now…and it drives me bonkers. At least the garage is finally clean again! For me it is access…being able to easily get to the things I need, or think I need to get going creatively. Given time alone, I will generally write, photograph, edit photos, or read.

    My next post will delve into my own thoughts on this issue. Great, cluttered minds think alike!

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    • Britton,
      I did clean up my creative space, but I only did it because my computer wasn’t working. It was very nice to focus that energy into organizing it. It is only cleaned up and organized on the left side. The right side has the same roll of tape, the same soup spoon, and the orange scissors. At least the left side is organized and my projects are n their appropriate inbox. I wish we had a garage — my poor husband does not have a man cave. We share the art room. I dream of this elaborate interior designed room, painted with butter cream walls, and white furniture, with a chaise lounge and book shelves to the ceilings all for me. But I doubt it would help me write better. Good luck cleaning up your creative space. That is what is nice about photography, you can have complete disorder in your home(where you write or create) and just grab your camera and go to wherever the camera pulls you. Guess what side my camera is on? It’s plopped on top of the clutter of drafts of my current book project (motherhood memoir).

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  4. As I read (and smiled at) your post, I found myself clearing my desk. It’s my nature to be organized before I can actually sit down to work, so I have a kind of admiration for writers who (possibly) thrive in the mess of it all. Reading about the way you negotiate it all brings me right back to when my daughter was young. Natalie Goldberg’s book made a very big impression on my when I first read it years ago — the reassurance that, if writing matters as much as it does, there’s no way I can’t help but find time. Then there’s the reality of how all the other activities feed the writing. The bottom line — finding the time has never been so much the issue for me as maintaining belief in myself when disappointment (in the form of rejection, etc.,) becomes a tad dispiriting. How lucky am I to be now in the orbit of writers like you who reinforce both the shared struggles and joys!

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    • Deborah,
      I love being in your orbit, and I totally understand about feeling dispirited Writers work so hard on getting the work out of their brain into the form of a story with words. I compare writing to a craft of needlepoint. Instead we stitch without a pattern, and use the colorful thread of our words. I am experiencing some serious computer problems and my computer is so slow or doesn’t work some days. I sometimes throw an internal hissy fit, but I don’t let that stop me. I am typing this comment with the speed of an 80’s pre dial up speed. I guess all that really matters is if I have a pen and paper — because that is all that is needed to write — the rest is linguistics. You area gifted writer and you inspire me. But you are right, i is nice to connect with other writers who struggle with the other side of publishing, where we have to craft query letters in a language not our own, following careful rules — not too creative, not too dry, only one page, only three paragraphs. I am learning a lot as I navigate this new terrain. I hope your orbit today takes you to a beautiful galaxy of inspirations and cosmic beauty — writing is such a powerful process and once you have written, it feels so good.

      “I hate writing, I love having written.”
      ― Dorothy Parker

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  5. Where do I even begin? 🙂 It’s all about chiseling out time and finding balance–two of my most difficult challenges at the moment–especially with an active family and a husband who’s also an artist that needs creative time. Somehow we manage to make it work by taking shifts, sacrificing sleep, creating in pieces, and simply supporting one another. And of course, some things just have to be overlooked, like the dust bunnies under the couch.

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    • Becky,

      Sometimes I take a sledge hammer and let it rip to “chisel” out time. For example, Sunday morning, I grabbed my coffee and scurried to the computer immediately after waking up. The thought of writing first thing in the morning is just enthralling.

      The weekends and once my husband and son go to sleep are my time to write, but I am finding that I have to chisel with a smaller instrument, because I need to spend my weekend time with my family or at least greet my husband and child before I dart away to write. My husband is very understanding and along with making adjustments to our life with a young child we are still trying to find balance and take time for ourselves. Like you said, it is a process of supporting each other. Sleep! I keep saying I will go to bed early so I can wake early to write, but I love love love the quiet of the night and you can keep snatching more time, unlike the early morning — eventually everyone gets up. Coffee and I are in a very close relationship!

      I have no idea where I would find the time to write if I was working full-time. Writing is deceiving because it is a full-time job, but chiseled out in chunks of time. Truth be told, I still found the time to write when I was working full-time as a teacher.

      Dust bunnies have a whole little farm over at my house. Although I did clean my kitchen like a mad woman yesterday probably because I had time to write over the weekend. I am just rambling now.

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  6. I have to get away from the house: there are too many distractions there even if I’m alone. For that reason, I love coffee shops. Even if it’s busy and noisy, I can sink into my own little bubble and get some serious writing done (but beware free Wi-Fi~)

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    • David,
      Coffee shops are great. I do not have a laptop as it crashed and died a sudden and shocking death. I am in-between computers so to speak. This computer is slow as molasses, but I feel this struggle with my computer is the challenge I need to overcome to truly differentiate between easy and hard in the writing world, as there are going to many challenges. So I am going with the flow. It is ironic as an agent requested a full manuscript and a book proposal the day after my laptop crashed. I worked around it and did what I had to do to get er’ done.
      I like coffee shops. I used to go to Dunkin Donuts and because of my inability to figure out how to get on their wi-fi, I was forced to write because I couldn’t mess around on social media.
      I read your blog and saw your bus story. I thought I’d share this quote from one of my other blogs (book project): http://theoriginaljournal.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/this-bus-ride-is/
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s nice to meet you and I look forward to reading more of your fiction. Do you have any books out?

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      • I have written several novels but I don’t have any of them out yet. I have some earlier ones out on iBooks, I think: one called The Suburban Troglodyte, the other a short story collection called Tales from the Factory.

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