As is my wont from time to time, I have been devouring a blog – specifically, Theodora Goss’ blog. And as is the universe’s wont, a post just came to my attention that meshes with thoughts I’d been having today – Write Every Day.
I have always been from the school of thought that says that a writer should write every day. I am a creature of routine and habit. Well, I have been previously, before this latest incarnation of life as a mother. Even when I got sick, I still managed to develop a routine, and, most days, that included writing. I’ve always tended to take weekends off, but weekdays, I had to have written something in order to feel like I hadn’t wasted a day.
And I have to step aside here for a moment. When I got sick, I was still living at home with my parents (thanks to being a poor student). I was in the best possible place I could be – I had their full support in everything. I was able to focus my energy on what I wanted – which was writing. I was very, very lucky, and I have continued to be very lucky in many ways. I finished my studies, and am lucky to live in a country where my government supported me while I was too ill to work. I then married a man who has been an amazing support to me. Which is a long-winded way of saying that I am very, very aware that I am talking from a position of privilege.
Privilege, however, doesn’t change the facts of my day-to-day life. Most days I deal with at least some level of pain and fatigue. Most days also include some cognitive issues, most notably impacting upon my concentration levels. Right now, most of my pain is being managed – fortnightly massage has done absolute wonders for my fibromyalgia pain, and I currently have the energy to be exercising five days a week. But the fatigue is still there, as are the cognitive issues. I operate on a limited number of spoons every day, no matter what. And some days I start out thinking I have a dozen spoons, but in reality I only have two.
While there was only me to worry about, this wasn’t a huge issue. Well, I won’t lie – it was. It forced me to give up my career in science, forced me to live a life in which I was dependent upon someone else. But I managed to carve out something new, and reached a level of acceptance.
Now, I am a mother. And I am having to re-carve out the limits of my life.
My son always comes first. That goes without saying. But the writing…the writing is always there, always wanting to be born.
For so long, I’ve tried to keep on going with writing every day. This past week, I’ve been really struggling. My son has been not sleeping, which means that I’ve been not sleeping. Which means that all of my health issues have flared up. Today, I just gave in, and when my son finally went down for a nap, instead of trying to write or read, I just lay down on the couch and watched some television and then napped.
I feel guilty even writing that. Which is kind of nuts, given that parenting in itself is a full-time job. And hell, parenting with a chronic illness…I won’t even start, there. I know there are plenty of people who have it far worse than I do, and have far less support. But this is the life I walk through, and these are my limits.
Right now, I am very thankful to know others who struggle with similar issues – writers with chronic illnesses, and a couple who deal with chronic illness and parenthood at the same time. There’s one in particular who I won’t name, since she chooses to keep her health issues out of the spotlight, but S., I hope you read this and know that you are a massive inspiration and help to me.
I guess the lesson here is that no piece of writing advice fits everyone and their life. And sometimes you need to take that day off.
Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.