July 23, 2010

The right kind of free time

Despite the craziness of life with a 3 month old, 4 year old and living with my family, I've found myself with more hobby-ish things to do. My only consistent hobby over the years has been reading. A year and a half ago I added knitting, but I haven't been able to do that for a few months because of pregnancy-related carpal tunnel in my wrists and hands and the up and down, no more than 2 minutes to concentrate nature of mothering. But as I've made more decisions to write and focus on certain things in my life, I actually have stuff waiting to be done (that aren't chores).

With my free moments lately I've been able to blog, work on different writing projects, keep up with the journals I'm making for each of the boys and, of course, read. I'm quite happy with this. I don't like being bored. And even though I'm pretty self-motivating I tend to be more lazy when I have too much free time. As I have more that is required of me, I think I get more productive. I remember that some of the happiest times in my life have been the busiest and/or craziest. When I was in my last year of college, my life was pretty insane. Full, tough schedule at school, 2 jobs working 25-30 hours a week, an apartment to take care of, church responsibilities, a husband, etc. However, because I was doing something I loved and cared about in pursuing my degree, I felt quite fulfilled much of the time.

In August I will begin a part time (20 hours a week) job at my alma mater, working for the professor I worked for as a work/study student. I'll be the Office Manager for the Honors Department. I'm am very excited about this, but also quite nervous. Having an outside, more cerebral outlet for myself is appealing, and something that I have yearned for since becoming a stay-at-home mom. It is very important for me to raise my children primarily myself, but I struggle a great deal with the lifestyle. This job will be flexible and hopefully not overly taxing. Jim will be able to do most of the baby-sitting of the kids so we won't have to spend much or any money for childcare. The extra pressure on my time will, I hope, make me more productive at home because I won't have too much undefined time. At least, that is my hope and prayer. There is a part of me that is still nervous about leaving my kids and adding another responsibility to my life. It's new territory and I hope its exploration is exciting and invigorating, rather than draining and overwhelming!

July 9, 2010

Doing it, and doing it, and doing it well

The prolificness (I looked it up and this IS a real word!) of certain creative people astounds me. Lately I've been contemplating these types of people and wondering how they do it. Mark Twain wrote dozens of books, tons of short stories and essays and wrote material for the myriad of speaking engagements he did. Jack White of the White Stripes has at least 3 bands, at roughly the same time, for which he writes music and lyrics and performs with lots of other very talented musicians. There are countless people who have amazingly brilliant collections of creative work, whether it be musical, written, performed or created with other artistic mediums.

How do they do it?

I know many of these people are not the norm. They are geniuses who live and breath their work. Sometimes they have a lot of money, resources or help to free up their time and focus heavily on the creative process. But not all. There are many stories of people writing books while working full time or taking care of young children all day. Artists who painted what we now consider epic examples of the form, but they also had day jobs or did other things. What's more amazing are the people who did things like write full time for a newspaper and simultaneously write novels in their spare time. That's A LOT of writing.

Someday I would like to get to the point where I write no matter what is in the way, with no excuses. So I have two young kids who pull a lot of my time and patience from me. So I live in a house filled with 7 other people and rarely get a moment to myself. So I don't sleep much. If something is really important, don't you make time for it?

Jim reminded me of a quote someone gave as to what makes a writer. The person simply said it is a person who writes. It isn't someone who is good at writing, or published or anything like that. Just a person who writes. I want to be a person who writes. Who doesn't worry about whether I might get published today or in the future, or whether people will like what I do or get embarrassed about how my material will be taken in light of my personality or personal life. To use another writing saying, I want to be free to write what I know, even if it gives more of my personality away.

And that is my other struggle. To be honest with what I write. As a general rule, I keep a lot to myself. I'm careful what I share and how. I try to edit my thoughts, even, before I say them, so that I don't offend or sound stupid or give away too much of myself to people who may or may not use it against me. When a direct question is asked, honesty is not a problem. When I have to admit I'm wrong and apologize to someone when I've made a bad decision or done something that has caused a problem, I usually do. But, when it comes to volunteering many of my thoughts, foibles, quirks or shortcomings, I'm not so great.

I want to overcome my shyness and my excuses and become prolific. I want to write whatever comes to mind, to reflect my own point of view maturely and freely, even if it ends up being taken wrong or is written badly. I think that is the point I need to get to in order to be a real writer.

July 8, 2010

Deep Breath, and....Jump!

I am a writer.

It has taken me a long time to accept this truth, despite the positive things people have said about my writing, good grades I've gotten in school, the joy I've had in writing, the way I think (as a writer), the joy I have in reading what other people write, all the ideas I have for stories, novels, screenplays, poems, and blogs. Despite it all, I've been reluctant to say that I AM a writer. And, probably in connection to that, I find myself avoiding writing even when I want to. This makes no sense to me and has been my greatest struggle to overcome.

I think that my previous blog was a good outlet for my writing, yet I abandoned it in the move from Myspace to Facebook. It's time to resurrect and revamp the blog now. I think having a creative outlet helps me maintain my sanity in a crazy life with two kids and all the other stuff that comes with living. I plan to chronicle the things that are going on with my family and with me, but as I get braver I also plan to include pieces of my writing. Having an audience should help me to produce and also to edit and improve my work. I hope!