Permission: Idle Fingers
Written by
Kathy Moores
December 2011
Written by
Kathy Moores
December 2011

This story is part of a series on Writing and Permission that was commissioned by Cori Howard, the instructor of the SheWrites online class, Writing for Moms. The topic evolved in one of her online forums in which women started to discuss how hard it was to give themselves permission to write and to be writers. These are the stories they came up with. The next session of SheWrites Online Writing for Moms starts in January. Click here for more registration and more details. Or email [email protected] 


There are Christmas decorations covering the floor and countertops, it's as if Santa has vomited all over my house. The dining room table is barely visible underneath reindeer and snowmen, the kid’s drawings for Santa and various school papers.  The upstairs needs to be vacuumed and the bathroom floors could use a scrubbing, but at least the dishwasher hums in the background providing me with a small sense of domestic accomplishment. 


It's this sense of accomplishment that allows me to sit and write for a few minutes. 


I've been staring at the screen for approximately seven of my self-allotted twenty minutes to write.  Words run through my mind but my fingers just sit idle over the keyboard.  I push out a sentence here and there wondering where the words will take me.  My thoughts then wander from the story at hand to the broader picture of whether my words will take me somewhere professionally, not just personally. 


My fingers fall idle again as I begin to think about life and why I'm sitting at my computer writing for pleasure when I should be updating my blog or laying out an updated sales plan for my business. 


Great, now my fingers aren't just idle - they're paralyzed with the workload and financials that are now whirling through my mind at hurricane like speed. 


Enter, my husband: a man who has not only given me permission to write but encourages it. He also has an iPad, which is currently playing Christmas music and distracting me to the point of irritation. I say nothing. I continue typing for my own enjoyment and catharsis: he stays awake to keep me company. The only payment I currently get from my writing is self-therapy and a windswept feeling of freedom, but without financial reward, I find it difficult to tell my kindhearted husband to turn off his music.


When he describes me, my husband often says that I’m a writer. This helps me justify the number of notebooks housed in plastic containers under my bed. More importantly though, his description gives me the confidence and permission I need to free up some time to put pen to paper. Now, I set tiny milestones so that my mind doesn’t constrict with the pressures of domesticity and work. It's about the only time that the whir of my dishwasher makes me happy.

What do you do to give yourself permission to write?  How do you get past the distractions of work or home?

To sign up for the next session of Writing for Moms, an online SheWrites class, please click here or email [email protected]




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  • Sue Urie

    Brilliant:) if Santa has vomited all over my house....FABULOUS!  Great post Kathy:) Great writing as always...