The Discipline of Writing

Otherwise known as Parking Your Rear In Front Of The Computer And Writing Every Day.

I wish I was there. I wish I had this discipline of writing every single day; but I don’t. I’m working on it, though.

When I was in the sixth grade my teacher, Miss Hesselbein, had us write in a black and white marbled composition book. You know the kind. I still have that book and I so love one of the stories I wrote in it. The story was called “Glasses Land”. Everything in this land was made of glass. Pairs of glasses walked around and talked like people. Yes, you guessed it. I wore glasses.

That was the beginning of me loving to write. Thank you, Miss Hesselbein.

Then there was highschool and my english teacher, Becky Gross. For one of our assignments, she had us write a children’s book. Mine was titled,  Scott’s Socks. (I drew the pictures as well. Nothing to brag about there!) I then had a new dream. I wanted to be a children’s book author.

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This is High School Jen. Please don’t be alarmed at the whiteness of my legs. They are white nylons. Yes, I wrote white nylons. Hey, it was 1992, so I won’t apologize.

College came soon after that. I wanted to be a teacher and I wanted to be a writer. I knew my passion was teaching; I was called to do it. I knew I had a better chance of getting a steady paycheck as a teacher than a writer. I really enjoyed my college classes and received my degree in education.  I just fell in love with my creative writing class, though. In the end, I figured I could get paid for being a teacher and write on the side. I still have the notebook from that creative writing class up in my bedroom closet.

I pulled that notebook down, one day, some years back, and read through it. I was shocked. “I wrote this? This is kinda good. What happened to me? I can’t do this anymore. I’ve lost what little bit of talent I had.”

Somewhere between teaching (which I absolutely loved), getting married and just doing life, I had lost the passion I once had for writing. But wait!! Where there once was a flame, a spark usually remains. The spark may be dim and weak, just a flicker perhaps; but there it burns.

Right before I had kids I discovered blogs and I started one. I realized that once again I had something to say and this unexplainable desire to share it with everyone. Why do I feel the need to share with strangers what I don’t even share with family and friends at times?

Now there is a husband, kids, a dog, commitments, soccer practice, gymnastics, homeschooling, a house to run, family to spend time with and friends. Where does writing fit in? The passion is there. The time is not. I’m not 22 years old with no one to take care of but myself and all the time to spare.

My schedule is pack like my over packed suitcase on every single trip I take. There are these tiny crevices and gaps in my filled to the brim days. It’s in these nooks and crannies that I choose to make time for writing. And yes, it’s a choice to make the time. The extra hours in my day don’t just appear. I have to make it happen.

There are a few things I’ve done recently to make room for my passion.

1.) Decided that it’s  important and I don’t feel bad about it. I used to feel silly about wanting to keep up with my blog, like it wasn’t something a grown woman with kids and responsibilities should be wasting her time on. Shouldn’t I cleaning a toilet or wiping a butt or something? I still struggle with this from time to time; but I’m really beginning to see this desire to write as a God given desire. Who do you think planted that seed when I was a glasses wearing sixth grader?  I can’t do it full time; but He’s showing me ways to make it work in the schedule I have. I don’t look down on other women for following their passions while raising a family. Why do I look down on myself? So, I’ve stopped that faulty way of thinking and I’m just enjoying the journey.

2.) Shared my dream with my team. In this case The Hubs. Once I shared this desire with The Hubs, it didn’t seem so silly or unachievable like it had before. Having someone who supports your dream makes all the difference.

3.) I’ve scheduled the time to write.  I mean literally scheduled. Like with pen, in my planner. “Writing block 2-5” Every Thursday. (As I type this, it’s 4:18 on a Thursday afternoon.) This may be the only time I write each week; but I write. And because I shared my dream with The Hubs, I’m off duty during those hours. He takes over the house and kids for me.

4.) I’ve given up things to make time for this. Of course feeding my family trumps publishing a blog post. But, I’ve learned that I cannot continue to add things to my schedule and not take anything off my schedule. I had to decide what things, even if they’re small, that I could stop doing so I could start writing more.

Motivation-Picture-Quote-Work-For-Success

5.) I made my expectations realistic. While writing is a passion, my husband, my kids and  my walk with God are my number one passions. They trump all other things. They are El Numero Uno. I’ve asked God to help me be realistic in my expectations for how much time I can put into this passion of mine. I have a four year old boy, I’m homeschooling a 7 year old and I have a cop for a husband who works non-traditional hours. While life is full and there is never a dull moment, it is definitely not simple and my schedule is far from predictable. I can’t spend every spare moment behind a monitor and I don’t want to! So, I’ve asked God to bless the time I have, the words I type and those who may read them.

Yes, my goal is to  Park My Rear In Front Of The Computer And Write Every Day. I know that won’t always happen, but it’s something to shoot for.

To help with this goal that seems so lofty at times, I’m participating in a very cool writing challenge, the 31 Days Writing Challenge. My goal is to write every day in October and post every day in October on my blog. This is a huge goal for me and I’m just a little giddy, scared, nervous, excited about it. I have a few more posts scheduled leading up to next Thursday when I begin the challenge. I hope you join me all through October!

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