I started this blog over a year ago. I didn’t know exactly where it was headed, but I felt inspired. What I wanted was to give myself more structure and freedom in my writing. At the time, Iris was four, and Orlagh was eight-years-old. They were in school, either part-time or full-time, and there was a rhythm to my nights and days I hadn’t seen yet. I wanted to write more often about the things I couldn’t stop thinking about: family, motherhood, city life, and culture. Writing was a priority again, and I wanted to do it around life as I knew it.
In the back of my mind, I had other ideas too. This blog is my personal journal. But it’s also a tool. I wanted to understand social media, so I started on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I wrote about things close to my heart. And things that were total whimsy. For a time, I believed much of it was a countdown to this fall. When both our kids would be in school full-time, for the first time, and there would be extra hours in the day. To write. To learn. To work.
A year into this process, I’ve discovered a few other things.
I don’t need a quiet place to write. At least not all of the time. Being able to write anywhere, especially near my family, is nice. I’ve gotten used to having my thoughts peppered by little voices. The more I write in the animated everyday, the easier it is to write. Every day.
A plan is good to have. Even when sticking to it is tough. Some days, I write a lot. Other days, only a little. And even though I have a better schedule, and more time to do it, I’m constantly changing my plan. And that’s okay.
I really don’t care if my house is clean. Seriously. I don’t anymore.
Twitter is amazing. I’ve found some pretty inspiring feeds from journalists, comedians, actors and friends. There is no end to the gems of stories posted, or the hilarious anecdotes of others. A gift.
Read everything. Blogs, magazines, newspapers, other people’s social media feeds. I visit this blog often. This one too. I follow this writer and this zine. I’ll always take a section of the newspaper along with me. I love technology. But I prefer paper.
The goal is not to make it a job or an assignment. The goal is to write. I bring a notebook. I keep a journal of quotes I stumble upon. I pen letters. And thank you notes. Opportunities to put down thoughts are everywhere. Archiving moments is useful and necessary. And nice for reflection someday.
The one thing I learned and appreciated the most came from a friend. She writes for a living and has been for more than a decade. She’s also a mom. Recently, we had a conversation about how she started out, and how her career has shifted. I asked her many questions. How she manages her time. How she fits what she does into a day and a night. She sort of waved away everything and simply said:
“You just have to write one thing. Focus on that one thing. And that’s all.”
I loved this. Right now, I’m focused on this post. Tomorrow, it will be something else.