I was trying to lighten my ice-cream recipe, so I looked online and one suggested half and half milk instead of full fat cream. I thought, I have no idea what that is, and I don’t really want to either. What is this milk that can’t commit to being one thing or the other? How come it’s allowed to have such a casual approach? And like most people, when I thought about milk, I took a good hard look at myself. Is my anger misplaced? Am I projecting my own thoughts of inadequacy about myself to this commitment-avoiding milk?
The worst thing my husband will hear while he’s at work is this: I feel like I’m getting little bits of lots of things done and getting nowhere. I can’t remember how I phrase it now because that sounds clunky, but I’m normally on autopilot at that stage and it flows naturally without a thought.When I don’t feel up to writing, I potter around doing a little housework and cooking, a bit of reading and some exercise. The whole time I sabotage these activities by moaning about how I’m not getting anywhere and that I should be writing. I thought it would be cool to be a ghost writer and I was amazed when it seemed my goal would be realised so quickly! You could barely see me in my study writing.
At the end of a day like this, I feel I’ve achieved nothing. Unless you count the hours guarding the spot on the wall next to my bed. Nothing was getting past me. That spot was safe.
I don’t like to bring my kids into my writing career. Well I do, but I prefer to innocently dissect their personalities and spread them amongst a number of characters for all to see. Anyway, when the kids get home, that’s when the fun really begins. I’m desperate. I really need that hour before dinner to write down all the ideas I’ve accrued while wallowing. So I try to get started the minute we get home from school, while there’s another ten things to be done. And after an hour of giving everything 10% of my attention, I still haven’t written much and the kids don’t feel I’ve been present, because I haven’t been. I’m icy and I’ll take forever to thaw – like the above mentioned low-fat ice-cream.
So, I’ve decided. If I’m not writing, then I’m going to commit to my non-writing hours 100%. If I need an hour in the afternoon to write, then the hour before, I’m going to commit to the kids 100% for that whole hour, and the hours after my writing hour. If I don’t feel like writing, then whatever I choose to do, I’m going to make that activity my newborn baby. And for me, little bits here and there amount to lots of something alright. Lots of frustration and guilt. It’s the same when I diet. When I break it, I have loads of little unsatisfying snacks, where if I went for a large-sized burger meal, I’d probably intake less calories, and be more satisfied.
How do you deal with your non-writing time? Do you feel guilty when you can’t do it all? Does it effect the enjoyment of every activity that surrounds it?