Listening To: the soundtrack from the Jane Austen Book Club, arranged by Aaron Zigman (love listening to soundtracks when I'm writing)
Reading: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Lately I've been enjoying being home. Taking good care of my kids, my house, attending to my home life in a way that could be described as thorough. And it's been good, satisfying on a personal level. I love investing in my home-- meals, groceries, decorating, errands, volunteering at school.
It's rewarding in its own way. An end to my means.
It's not my only job and, lately, I've been aware that in all this homefront investment, I've been neglecting the writing that needs to be done. This reality kept creeping in, a long bony finger reaching out to tap me on the shoulder and whisper in my ear in a menacing way, "You're not writing." Mostly I tried to ignore the sinister voice... but long bony fingers? They've got more of a reach than you might think.
This past weekend my husband and I talked through the stress that this dichotomy was causing.
di·chot·o·my /daɪˈkɒtəmi/ Show Spelled[dahy-kot-uh-mee] Show IPA
noun, plural -mies.
1. division into two parts, kinds, etc.; subdivision into halves or pairs.
2. division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups: a dichotomy between thought and action.
3. Botany . a mode of branching by constant forking, as in some stems, in veins of leaves, etc.
4. Astronomy . the phase of the moon or of an inferior planet when half of its disk is visible.
Yep, that word describes it-- being divided into two parts-- my writing and my home. Both must be attended to. Both bring me their own type of joy. Both are what I was created to do. And yet both seem to war with each other-- which is where the "mutually exclusive, opposed or contradictory" part of the definition comes into play.
So this weekend my husband and I talked it over, because he's who I go to whenever I'm feeling uncertain because he has this wonderful (and very male) ability to see past all the emotion and just go to the black and white facts of the matter. He helped me see that what I need to get back to is some good old-fashioned discipline. (Yeah, I hate that word too.) I'd let my home life swallow up my writing life in one greedy gulp. It felt good, easy, natural, so it was easy to feed.
Once I headed down that path, I couldn't quite see my way back out. Curt helped me to see (in the way that only an honest husband can) that I must put the brakes on, do a three point turn, and get back to the place where I could live life in both camps. Mutually exclusive, yes. But also possible to do both. With some discipline. (Yeah, that word again.)
So this week for me is about getting the discipline back. Discipline to TURN OFF THE DISTRACTIONS and write. Discipline to prioritize what needs doing first and actually do those things first. Discipline to do the things that can't be done with children in the house when the CHILDREN ARE NOT IN THE HOUSE. (I know this is basic, but bear with me.) Discipline to designate errands to one day only. Discipline to actually get on the treadmill and exercise instead of just gripe that I can't find the time anymore. And finally, discipline to get away from SO MUCH TV. I'd have time to read all the novels I need to read for She Reads if I'd just read instead of watch it at night. And really, what is another episode of Law and Order or Cold Case going to do for me?
My life has felt out of control because I haven't even tried to control it. And so that's what's on my mind right now-- developing a plan that gets both halves of my life back in balance.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle