She was most prolific unpublished writer in history. Besides that one creepy guy who left behind trunks of manuscripts in his attic, as well as an extensive collection of single socks.
Something happened to my brain over the last few weeks. As president of the parent teacher organization at my daughter’s school, the devil has been in the details. Get it done. Do it right. Do it on time. Look at every angle. Communicate, blah, blah, blah.
As an introvert, it knocked the wind right out of me. Fortunately, this is my second and last year doing intense volunteering. There was nothing left for me at the end of the day. Nothing to write about and when I did write, it was with painful constraint. So painful, that I’ve written 12 drafts that have been gathering dust. It has made me very, very unhappy.
It’s in this moment, when I am reminded once again, you know what makes you happy, why aren’t you doing it?
This is all to say that what I’m good at, this juggling of minutiae, is not what is good for me as a human. For many years, I’ve been tapping out my creative skills on kid birthday parties, workarounds at jobs, and volunteering. While I like being creative and solving problems, I’m the overkill queen – obsessing over details no one in their right mind would ever bother with – and I know how to tie a perfect bow.
In the 47th year of my life, I’ve realized that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. I have already begun to daydream about what life will be like in a year. It won’t be easy to let go, this compulsion to say “I can do it, no problem”.
Yesterday, I took a call from my old job regarding some insurance and payroll questions. Then I filled out an assisted living application for my mother-in-law. I ran to the school to meet with our book fair rep. I made calls, appointments, answered emails, cleaned the house. I dropped off and picked up my child from school. I trimmed hockey skate guards and the cats’ front nails. Dishes. Laundry. Litter boxes. Garbage. Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat.
I’ve spent all my editorial skills critiquing and measuring and marginalizing my writing, when what I should be doing is editing my life. Instead of saying “yes” to everything else, I need to use a red pen on my schedule.
Writing needs to be a priority. I feel like I’m where I belong when I’m fussing with words or making myself laugh with some absurd piece of writing. It’s a palliative for all the mundane bullshit that can wear a person down. To recognize that something makes one happy and then not do it seems self-destructive. Why?
Writer is as writer does. Time to use the red pen.