I used to complain a lot about never having the time to write. I honestly felt I was too busy to sit down and write for five minutes. When I had to work on my MFA thesis, I would use time as an excuse. I was helping my family by taking care of my grandmother and babysitting my niece, and of course, assistant teaching online. I couldn’t alienate my relationship and my friends, so writing became too much of a responsibility.
I was having a hard time working on my thesis despite the approaching deadline. When I started this blog as a source of inspiration, it hit me that time wasn’t the issue, but the motivation to write was. I thought by documenting my writer’s journey and thinking of ways to be creative, I could actually stay on track with my writing. It worked, for the most part. I was so excited about the blog, I concentrated more on it than I did on the thesis. I was learning so much about myself as a writer by exploring creativity and why writers restrict their writing and why they can’t get motivated. But between teaching, blogging, babysitting, and taking care of grandma, I was writing. And I realized that even a sentence or two a day really moved my writing along. I’m discovering that with my latest short story as well, a personal story about a woman’s struggle with her mother’s Alzheimer’s. I began to realize that adding a few sentences here and there, maybe four times a week, was helping my story take shape. When I feel blocked on that specific story, I’ll work on my novel. Or I’ll read. Anything to keep writing and letting my mind flow with ideas.
I did end up finishing my thesis and earned my MFA in January of 2010. Of course, it wasn’t the perfect manuscript I had imagined it would have been when I started, but it was almost a year of effort and I let myself be proud of it. It comforted me to learn that not too many people are happy with their thesis; it’s something we do to get our degrees and we can keep working on it, shaping it, or discarding what we have and starting over. The learning process is really all that matters, and even if we don’t realize it at that moment, the more we read and write, the more we learn about writing.
I don’t have as much family responsibility anymore. My niece started daycare and we all take turns looking after grandma. So the time to write is mine. Next time I complain about not being able to write, I’ll know time isn’t the issue. It’s the motivation. And it’s so important to get ourselves motivated to keep writing. Because if we don’t write, we can’t call ourselves writers.
Off to work on my story now. Hope you’ll be working on yours as well.
The Accidental Blogger