I greatly appreciate this December article from Hannah Anderson, and like some commenters on the post noted, the application extends far beyond writing, and even beyond women. For me, it’s in my still-new-to-me days of motherhood x4 where I’m really needing to hear this. I love having four kids, and the load isn’t heavy because I’m raising minuscule miscreants, but because being the primary nurturer to four kids at these ages (who are not away at school or daycare) simply requires a lot of work. But my dreams to write and to flourish elsewhere have not died; rather, they’ve mostly expanded and grown even as I’ve grown in my understanding of Imago dei. And, so for this season, holding on to those dreams mostly means “taking a long-range vision.”
‘“People—particularly women—need to hear that you can start late.” –Ursula K. Le Guin’
“But I’d like to suggest an alternative: Don’t give up; simply modify the dream to meet reality. And often, this means taking a long-range vision. Just like Katherine Paterson, P. D. James, and Laura Ingalls Wilder did; their first novels were published at 43, 42, and 65 respectively.
The tension between your day job and your dream to write is not a new one. The real problem is that too many of us aren’t content to simply write; at the very least, we want to make our living by writing and at the most, we want to be celebrity authors. This may happen for some, but whether or not it happens for you doesn’t mean that you can’t write. And having a non-writing day job doesn’t mean that you can’t spend these years learning the craft, taking opportunities as they come, and squirreling away ideas.
This week, you may make writing goals for 2015. I plan to. But if you’re not careful, these goals will quickly mutate from opportunities to demands: demands that you get a book contract or make it onto a list of top bloggers by a certain date. Can I suggest another approach? Put away the calendar and simply write.
Write in the in-between moments. Write on the backs of school papers and discarded envelopes. Write about the things you know and the words you love. And then give them time to cultivate. Give them time to grow. After all, the acorn hidden in the ground doesn’t become a mighty oak in one night. But it might just become one after twenty-five years.”
I finally accomplished inbox zero over the weekend. But, I still feel guilty posting something on my blog or social media. (Who am I kidding? This post is auto-scheduled and inbox zero will be gone long before it posts! :)) Because, I’ve got long line of correspondence to catch up on Facebook, as well as more texts to respond to. And, not everyone buys the “she’s a busy mom” excuse or understands the way I personalize my correspondence priorities. Or, really, that it’s the fact that the Internet creates a mountain that most of us simply can’t stay on top of 100 percent of the time. So, yes, this type of guilt gets to me.
This article is about more than just staying on top of Internet correspondence, but it’s a good read. (And ironically [see article], I actually had seen the referenced episode of Portlandia!)
“Anyone who spent the break cleaning up their inbox or delving into their backlog of media can corroborate. The mountain top does not exist. Nor do relationships tend to benefit from the added expectations represented by all the required reading. Now, before you cry “first world problem!” (awful phrase), Portlandia goes further. In their skit, aspiring to comprehensiveness is not a neutral drive. It can be destructive, maybe even fatal. The law–you must be on top of things–keeps Fred and Carrie squarely focused on themselves, breeding first antagonism and, then, death.
That was waaaay back in 2011. Few would argue that the pace hasn’t picked up considerably since then. In fact, a number of pundits used their year-opening columns to decry the breakneck pace of life greeting us in 2015. As the attempt to manage the flood of information has turned more frantic, the different responses have become more pronounced: some give up (Twitter’s numbers are down for the first time ever) and stop expecting anyone else to be on top of things either. These are wise people. Others, let’s call them “suckers”, redouble their efforts (start anInstagram account for instance). Others respond by writing thoughtful, tweetable, must-read columns about the glut of thoughtful, tweetable, must-read columns. Ahem.”
“He’s describing a cycle I/we know all too well, one that’s almost impossible not to get caught up in. Not if you actually want to communicate, or if you care about your message. The upside of our predicament is the unprecedented opportunity–and contrary to what Wieseltier might have us believe, the democratization of the Net has produced some wonderful voices. (For all its disadvantages, the rate of expression does turn people into better writers. It can’t not.) The downside is the cheapening that occurs when, in order to take advantage of that opportunity, you have to sensationalize and/or reduce your message. It’s a forgone conclusion that the emphasis would fall less and less on what is being said and more on that it’s being said.”