“When I entered the bay I put the paddle down, leaving the canoe to drift about under the morning sun while questioning how a mother knows when to give up certain selfish passions and fold laundry instead. I struggled with this, and needed to know whether I should hang my cravings to write out to dry until a different stage in life, or when I am old and there is no one to answer to but the flowers in my yard.”—excerpt from the book Sand in My Eyes
Before I start writing a book, I go over the impracticalities in my mind. I’m not going to get the hours of sleep that I like. I won’t be saying ‘yes’ to all the social invitations. The laundry, which I fold at night, will start piling up again into mountains my children climb on. There will be no television watching, and hardly time for reading. The decision for me to write is similar to that of having another baby, or buying a puppy. There’s never a perfect time. It’s an emotional choice, and life-changing, too.
But I think of the ideas I have, and how sad, if I don’t pursue them they’ll remain like seeds in a packet that never get opened. I make my choice to write and like a gardener stepping out into her patch of dirt, I begin raking through the mess, simplifying my life and clearing the way so I can write. All I need is a consistent two-hour chunk of time—morning or night. And because my three-year-old wakes early, climbing into my bed to cuddle, I decide at this particular stage, night writing will have to do. But that means I can’t get tired in the evenings. No falling asleep on the couch by nine!
I find myself dusting my desk, emptying drawers, and clearing my schedule for upcoming months. I also search for new music. I listened to Mozart while writing Sand in My Eyes, but need different music now. I buy a sandalwood candle and lotion for my fingers that will soon be hitting the keys. I switch from drinking two cups of coffee in the morning, to one, and then add two cups in the late afternoon, hoping for an added oomph. My husband questions whether all of this is a writer’s ritual or procrastination. I tell him it’s ‘nesting’—I’m carrying within an idea and preparing for it to come out.
I laugh at myself, aware that when we pursue what we are passionate, it might at first look to others as if we are only playing in the dirt. But there is a difference between playing and toiling in that toiling brings forth change in your life—even if that change is in your state of mind. My state-of-mind is full of anticipation. I am ready to write! Whether or not my toiling turns into a garden, or a novel that others will like, it’s okay, because the process is already bringing me joy.
For anyone choosing to pursue their passion, but wondering how they might go about finding the time and energy to start, try this: “…cut out that which isn’t needed in your garden, in your life, once, or twice a year. Trim away that which serves no purpose and benefits neither you nor others. And space your plants appropriately. Over planting, crowding your days with too many commitments, activities and involvements, may lead to disease and fungus, and the things you want to do won’t stand a chance of surviving.” –Sand in My Eyes
For more on Christine Lemmon and her books, visit: www.christinelemmon.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter.