I’ve been doing a whole lot of thinking and talking and dreaming over the last few years. A whole lot of thinking and talking and dreaming about having a career as a writer, where I can work from home, or an office, or a coffee shop, or a beach chair, or anywhere I damn well please. What I haven’t been doing a whole lot of is writing.
I’ve had a million excuses in my head about why I haven’t written more. These excuses follow the usual litany of excuses that most writers find floating through their heads when they’re looking for a reason – any reason – not to write:
– I don’t have anything to say right now
– I’ll do it later, after I eat/sleep/clean/etc.
– I’ll think about it first and write it out later
– No one wants to read it anyway
– Who do I think I am? Some kind of writer?
– What if someone reads it and hates it?
Lots of words about why I’m not writing, and a lot fewer actual written words. At the same time, I have said over and over to other people that the key to being a writer is to write. And the trick to writing is not really any kind of trick at all. Just write. Write when you want to. Write when you don’t. Write every day, even just a little bit. Start a writing practice and stick to it. Don’t worry about what others think. Duh. Just write. Write. Write. Write.
I’ve seen some of the people I’ve coached start writing, and keep writing, and have some real success with their writing. And while I am so happy for them, there is a part of me that continues to scream that I should have done this myself. That I’ve wasted minutes, hours, weeks, years, just talking and thinking and not doing. I’ve said so many times that I’m sick of having the same conversation with myself over and over again. It starts with “I’m going to do it”, and ends with “soon”. But something has changed. I had a baby.
She’s a beautiful little girl who turned six weeks old yesterday. She has her father’s fair skin and my full head of hair. She can scream bloody murder when she’s hungry and the love I have for her is almost indescribable.
But she’s not my muse. I don’t look at her and find myself with words dying to pour out confessing my love for her, my amazement at her, or the wonderment of this new situation. But rather, I think about what I have to offer her, and truly, it’s not much. I’m not wealthy, or well-connected. I don’t have jewels to give her, celebrity friends to introduce her to, or a maid to make her bed.
All I can offer her is to be the best mother I can be. And the best mother is not one who wishes her life was different. The best mother is not one who encourages her daughter to pursue her dreams while her own sit unattended to on the back burner.
The best mother I can be is one who sets an example of how to live your life – with integrity in what you say, and love for what you do. Who follows her dreams without excuses. Who reaches higher after falling farther. Who is scared shitless, but goes forward anyway.
So I’m starting again. Again. Because now someone else is watching. And that matters to me more than anything.