YA author Elana Johnson recently hosted a “Never Surrender Blogfest.” I missed it by a few days, but to participate, you had to blog about a time when you didn’t surrender. I thought that’d be a great topic for me to make a real comeback on my blog.
In the past year, I’ve considered giving up on writing. The thought’s been a sinkhole in the back of my mind. This is the first time I’ve even voiced it, because it was that devastating to me.
The last year has been one of the craziest of my life. I attended the Writing and Illustration for Young Readers conference last year and then my writing life just stopped. We moved across the country to Georgia and a few months later bought our first house. I discovered the world of Pinterest and got sucked into this “crafty Karen” mode, which meant all the writing time was taken up with making cutesy things for our house. Through all this, I could’ve made time to write and didn’t.
Then in February, my baby boy was born and the sinkhole started to take shape. With my first baby girl, everything from birth to behavior was easy-peasy. Quite the opposite this time around. With my girl, writing saved my sanity. This time, there was no way I could even get a sentence written.
But it was more than just not having (or making) the time to write. Finding time was (and still is) a huge obstacle, but for a while I couldn’t sit down to write without having a mini panic attack. I was suffering from postpartum depression and my “sanity saver” was only adding more stress.
When I first had the thought,”I can’t be a writer. Not professionally. I need to give up on that dream,” it scared the crap out of me. We’ve all had the frustrated banging on the keyboard, “Why am I doing this?” rant, but this was serious. I felt that I could never be both a mother and a writer at the same time.
Being a mother and being a writer are two things that want to fight against each other tooth and nail. They do not want to cooperate. They do not want to even be in the same room.
Here’s the catch though: even when I went for a year without writing, I still thought about my book every single day. I “wrote” in my head. I worked out problems, thought up funny lines, and put my characters in new situations. My book was being written without me ever putting my fingers to the keyboard.
I am a writer in the same way I am a mother. I can’t just stop being a mom and it’s the same with writing. So here’s me tearing up my little white flag. I still don’t know how I’m going to accomplish my writing goals. It make take me another five years to get this book ready for submission. But here goes nothing.
Writer Moms: Never surrender.