A Mother’s Writing Life Version 2.0

The only thing constant about my writing life is that it is always changing. If I try to set myself up into some kind of routine, it inevitably falls apart within a week or two. When I think of the oft-given writing advice to schedule your craft for the same time every day, so that your muse might follow, I feel despair. Because that just ain’t happening. I thought my time would be early mornings, up with the baby. But then she started sleeping a little later, and, thankfully, so did I. Then, I thought it would be during Colm’s nap, but Charlotte doesn’t reliably sleep for that and it leaves Aedan alone in front of the t.v. for an hour or more. Then, I thought it would be an hour several times a week in the corner coffee shop, but that’s only happened twice, because life with three littles is crazy and unpredictable.

My muse must be fast and ready at all times, prepared to leap into action whenever I find 30 minutes or an hour alone. I have to trust that she is just the muse I need at this point in my life. It encourages me, just now, to imagine this spirit: she is wiry and tough, sharp-eyed and always listening. She sees the opportunity coming before I do, and she begins to hum in anticipation. And I hear that hum, hear it steady and low beneath the constant (and I do mean constant) chatter around me. Together we snatch up a pen and paper, or fire up the computer, and we create something. We put words together, or rearrange them on the page. We build my writing life new each day.

I’ve been drawn to poetry over these last couple of months, both because of its compressed nature and because it’s my first love. I’ve been writing and rewriting several poems, polishing them til they gleam, til I can’t look at them anymore. Yesterday, I sent them out to several online literary magazines for consideration. I’ll try not to think about them and how they might be faring out there as I move on with new poems.

This morning over oatmeal and green tea, I emailed a local writer’s society to inquire about their critique groups. And I joined the mailing list for the Ontario Writer’s Conference, which I hope to attend in the spring.

So, even though this seems like the worst, most ridiculous time to be building a writer’s life, I’m doing it. Because, like I said in this post back in July, this is the only life I can save. And as Elizabeth Gilbert points out in her inspiring new book, Big Magic, this life is temporary, so why not use it to create?

This post is part of the #WhatImWriting link up. Please visit Writing Bubble to see the other linkers!


8 thoughts on “A Mother’s Writing Life Version 2.0”

  1. Feels like we're in a similar position Tara! I think you're doing the right thing just seizing the moments when you can. I started making time for writing three years ago when I was pregnant with my third baby and in a way it seems like a crazy time to do that since life has been so hectic since then (got even more hectic when my husband got ill with a chronic illness two years ago… he's lots better these days thankfully). Sometimes when I look back at everything I've written and how far I've come amidst it all I'm amazed! I sense it's the same for you. It's amazing what you can achieve when you're backed into (something of) a corner! Well done for making those submissions and for just finding time to write and letting your muse call to you when she can. (love the picture of your muse too!) Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting, it's lovely to have another member of our community and I've enjoyed your posts. x


  2. I know what you mean about having to have that muse ready whenever possible. I find that when writing becomes a habit (which luckily for me it has done), you can switch into that state of mind much quicker and easier. Good luck, it's never easy when you're juggling so much.


  3. Yes, you're so right about the ritual of it helping to shift us into the right frame of mind. Hoping I can get some kind of regular practice happening one day soon!


  4. Yes, you're so right about the ritual of it helping to shift us into the right frame of mind. Hoping I can get some kind of regular practice happening one day soon!


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