Deborah Siegel mashes up YOUR wisdom.
One thing I've long loved about She Writes is the intergenerational breadth of its membership. My post last Friday on Book/Life fit elicited confident wisdom from women writers who have been there, done that; tentative nuggets, based on trial and error, from many of us on the road to figuring it out; and one wisely skeptical nugget from fellow She Writer and cultural commentator Katha Pollitt, who wrote:
“[M]ale writers don't write these articles about how busy they are. They don't feel guilty if they do their work. They simply claim the time and the family has to deal with it.”
To which I responded that my husband, who morphed temporarily into stay-at-home dad after he lost his job during the recession, felt guilt when I'd glance over his shoulder and find him blogging instead of looking for work. But Katha's right, he didn't write about it. I did.
Wrote Sue in another take on the gendered angle, "If we are the ‘weaker sex’ how come we are repeatedly called upon to be more inventive, more resilient and enduring?” True that. And yet here we all are, inventing, enduring, and still somehow managing to find time to write in the crevices of insanely busy lives.
How do we do it? Here are 10 pearls of wisdom culled from YOU, She Writers, from the comments on my last post. This goodness was just too damn wise to keep to myself. If others just joining our conversation have wisdom—or struggle—to add to this ever-morphing guide, please do so here or in comments on last week's post. Here we go:
1. PRIORITIZE JOY.
I can no longer have my book on the back burner....it's now front and center with an end date. So, some things need to go, some things need to stay, but in the end it's what gives me joy that has to come first. -Amy Wise
2. DEMOTE GUILT.
Kate Wilhelm: "I realized the world, everyone in it practically, will give more and more responsibility to any woman who will continue to accept it. And when the other responsibilities are too great, her responsibility to herself must go. Or she has to take a thoroughly selfish position and refuse the world, and then accept whatever guilt there is. . ." via Deborah Batterman
[I]f we don't learn to say no, our goals will be about as good as the scrap of paper they are written on. And for goodness sake, how does this make us a credible source for empowering a child? -RYCJ
3. GET UP EARLY. AND KILL YOUR TV.
I have always gotten up two hours earlier than anyone else in my home and go to bed at least one to two hours later. I have four more hours in every day, twenty-eight more hours in my week and one hundred twelve more hours in a month. It is a practice I started when very young, have always continued and never divert from unless I am sick. I never watch television, and always use the time others use for that, to read a good book. -Kathy Kise Nicholson
4. MAKE SMALL POCKETS OF TIME MATTER.
I read on the bus to and from work as I have almost an hour commute each way. Sue
[I] write on my lunch break. [I] think of story ideas on the way home and in the shower. -Jessie Burche
5. IF YOU DON’T MAKE YOUR LIVING WRITING WHAT YOU WANT (AND BELIEVE ME, MANY OF US DON’T), AND YOU HAVE THE OPTION NOT TO WORK (WHICH, ALSO, MANY OF US DON'T), WORK NONETHELESS.
Work. Sounds counterintuitive, but now I have the money to pay for writing workshops, classes, website ideas. -Jessie Burche
6. BUY FOOD THAT COOKS ITSELF. LEARN TO TOLERATE DISARRAY.
I am trying to teach my house how to clean itself, but I think it's developmentally delayed. -Jane Baskin
Stop worrying about being a lady (being from Texas it's first nature to put on makeup). Learn to swear. Follow the teakettle theory--don't let life build up. -Kay Merkel Boruff
7. KNOW THAT THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER.
We're not in writer's block as long as the words pour out of us. There are writers who aren't saddled with a load of life, etc., and they still don't write every day, still don't get a book written, and still don't feel good enough. -Joyce Evans-Campbell
8. TRUST THE PROCESS. LIVE YOUR STORY. IT FEEDS YOUR WORK.
Trust the process. Look around and see all of the wonderful things going right in your amazing life story. For indeed, this is the most important story that you will ever write—it is your legacy. Be Inspired. -Sharyn Jordan Hathcock
9. SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO LET GO OF THE QUEST FOR BALANCE DURING A CERTAIN CHAPTER OF LIFE.
I don't believe there is such thing as "balance" in the short term; there are the all-consuming day-to-day diaper changes, feeding, consoling, doctor visits, role-modeling, and being there 24/7. The balance comes later when the kids are old enough to be more self-sufficient. It was a wild ride for me; only now that my kids are in their tweens and teens can I begin to think about my self-actualization. -Fleur de Lys
10. ACCEPT THAT WRITING/LIFE FIT IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION.
And now, back to Katha’s point, because of course it has me thinking. Why is it that we don’t see male writers writing these kinds of posts? And what's wrong with this picture? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Every day is a new adventure in adjusting my writing/life fit. - Pamela Toler
I muddle through and muck it up, we all muddle through and muck it up at times. -Mary Keating
Image cred: willraleigh