Kate: On Daily Writing
A couple of weeks ago, in an effort to catapult myself out of a summer-long funk, which I described here, I began getting up and going to the coffee shop to write each weekday morning. My husband’s job had slowed down enough for him to be home until 9 am, and this allowed me two hours (or 1 ½, as is usually the case) to write.
I needed this desperately. My husband’s job, which he began just three weeks after Zoë was born, meant long days (12-14 hours) and a number of road trips this summer. Stella was out of pre-school for the summer, and I spent my days juggling my girls. By the time I got them both to sleep in the evening I was too drained to think, much less write. (And I’ve never been a night writer. Sadly, I get progressively stupider as the day goes on, so I need to write in the morning if I want anything coherent on the page.)
I literally ran out the door the first morning of my new writing ritual, jumped in the car and drove to the nearest coffee shop, where I quickly ordered my coffee and set up shop. This is the same coffee shop where I wrote the bulk of Ready for Air, and I’ve spent countless hours there, glued to my computer. Because of this, I know most of the regulars, something I realized that morning when they all greeted me as if I had returned from a long journey (which, in a way, I had). The problem with all the greeting, though, was that I got very little writing done.
The next day was better because I had explained my 7-9 time slot, and when my coffee shop friends saw me again, we waved, smiled, and I got straight back to work. Let me repeat that: I got to work. I got to work. I can’t tell you how this—a few hours in the morning five days a week—has changed my outlook on life.
When I arrive back at home to a fussy infant (and a ready-to-start-the-day almost five-year-old), I smile. I kiss my husband goodbye as he heads out the door, nurse the baby, and plan what’s next with Stella. Don’t get me wrong, as the day wears on I still get frustrated and Stella still gets time-outs. My arms still ache from carrying my not-so-little Zoë. But I feel lighter. I feel more like myself. And this is because throughout the day, I think about my work, about the essay I’m trudging through, about what I might add to it the next day. It’s near the surface, and I love that, because it makes me think that my mind is working on it all day, even when I’m doing something as mundane as putting toys away. This reminds me of Miranda’s comment on my last post. She claimed that even laundry could be a creative act. Cathy and I scoffed a little. But this is exactly how I’ve felt the last two weeks: all those little, housekeeping, family-tending things I do everyday are now infused with creativity—they are enhanced by my writer’s mind, at work again.
Even when D has had to go on road trips and I’ve had to miss a couple of my writing days, I know I’ll get back to it as soon as he’s home, so I’m not constantly wondering when I’m going have time to write. And this is such a relief. I have a schedule. I know when I’m going to do my work.
There is also something to be said for not writing until I’m exhausted. Each day when I leave the coffee shop to head home, I’m reluctant to go. I feel I could write for another two hours—or four. It’s hard to leave my work, but this means that I’m always excited to get back to it the next day.
I just wanted to let you know that it’s working. I’m working again, and I feel so much better. I’m officially de-funked.