a bit of grace

The random musings of Kate Grace

To Write, or to Eat Chicken Off the Bone? That is the Question.

“I just don’t have time to (insert form of creative expression here).” It’s an excuse/reason I’ve heard a lot this past year and with a clear and refreshed perspective, I get it.

My schedule has taken a jump to the “busy” recently (and thankfully). It’s good news for me and certainly for my bank account, but bad news for my writing. It’s amazing how quickly a schedule can fill up with activities and responsibilities that pull at your brain leaving it thin and useless (like that hanging slip of lip skin you can’t help but play with before tearing it off).

I rushed home last night with every intention of writing… but then: Burn Notice. Yup. I made the mistake of taking my dinner to the couch and getting sucked into Burn Notice. Not because I like the show or am into it – I’ve never actually watched it before last night – but because it’s just so damn easy to find an excuse NOT to write.

And after a long day of dealing with work, rush hour traffic and damning the traffic gods for allowing semi-trucks anywhere near the freeways during peak commuting hours, you’re tired. I’m tired. I couldn’t even cook last night. I microwaved some cold chicken and ate it right off the bone Renaissance-Fair style in front of the TV.

I could even hear the internal writer voice in my head address the army of imagination elves who had showed up revving to go. “We’ve lost her.” My intentions were bunk because I let my determination guard down. Last week I went to the woods to write and edit without distraction. My mistake? I traveled to the woods with two others who brought me as their distraction.

By the second day the others were getting stir crazy and I was expected to offer company. And here’s the thing many already know and if you don’t, you need to know – writers, when writing, are the worst company to keep. They aren’t company. We’re A and B holes. We have to be or else we’ll never finish anything.

When you have things to do, whether it be work or familial obligations, you will never have time to write (or create). This is simply the truth. Spare time will never come to you wrapped with a shiny bow as a reward for all the times you put other things and people first. There will always be something to fill spare time with.

I just realized this truth. If you don’t make time to write, you will never write.

So, with this new and necessary resolve I went about clearing my schedule of as much as possible. These are things I care about and enjoy doing, so it will be no small sacrifice in the coming months. But it’s simply what needs to be done. I will never have the time to write. I need to make the time to write.

I have to actively and persistently make time to write and then protect that time, or else it will never happen.

All of this to say to those in my life and whom I adore: I’m gonna be a really big B-Hole for the next few months.

Sorry. Try not to hate me too hard.

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5 comments on “To Write, or to Eat Chicken Off the Bone? That is the Question.

  1. Rebekah Joy Plett
    October 7, 2010

    Oh MAN is this ever true! Almost anything can be a distraction from getting real work done. I find I even convince myself that I’ve been “working enough for now” and “need to take a break” not to “exhaust myself” and then find myself worrying that I didn’t work enough and I won’t get the project done and how could I be so lazy?

    Also, living with my wonderful husband is great but we don’t have any “escape” rooms where one of us can be alone if we need to. Going out into the woods sounded like a great idea (minus the people) and I think I will have to do that one day.

    You are my hero.

  2. Jabbercookie
    October 8, 2010

    Dang, you nailed it. I wonder if every writer feels this way. I know I do. Between sleeping, commuting, work, school, research essays, cooking, eating, buddies, and the boyfriend, there’s little time left for productive, creative thought.

    It makes me wonder are the greatest writers selfish? Does this art, in order to flourish, almost demand selfishness? It certainly demands energy and love – an energy and love that must often be diverted from the energy and love we put into every day life and people.
    Do we have to rip and tear away from the sphere of shared space in order to hoard our own quiet, private writing space?

  3. Kate Grace
    October 8, 2010

    You touch on something in your comment I’ve really been battling with lately – to be the writer I potentially can be, do I need to embrace selfishness?

    Both in the act of writing (canceling on people, retreating away from my community or family, telling people “I can’t talk right now” when the walk into the room wanting to share something) and in story (dipping my pen in the family and friends ink to infuse my storytelling with the truth of my experience, despite how they may feel about it).

    It’s made me wonder about every time someone has said, “Oh that writer? He/She is a jerk!”

    What if we all have to be a jerk to some extent simply to get the act of writing done?

    • Jay Rhoderick
      October 10, 2010

      Very interesting, Kate. My thought is that we only have our own experience to draw on as writers/creators. I don’t think being creative has anything to do with how you treat people. We all find our own level of self-respect, morality, and respect for others. But that’s how I live. How I find my most creative moments are through authenticity–drawing on true experience and real feelings–idiotic, embarrassing, hysterical, petty, terrifying, compassionate, self-pitying, devout, obnoxious feelings. I think the only stuff worth reading/writing/performing is stuff that comes from life (if not the EXACT events, names, addresses involved). But don’t write to make people comfortable or to make yourself loved as a person. Share your light and your truth! You go girl!

      • Kate Grace
        October 10, 2010

        This is such a wonderful encouragement and perspective, Jay. Thank you for this!

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This entry was posted on October 7, 2010 by in Uncategorized.
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