I love those moments of clarity where I realize I’m lying to myself. It feels similar to what I imagine an out of body experience feels like. My face bends at myself and I snarl internally as I glare at my intentions.
Tonight I have perhaps had too much wine to write (though it may also be a guiding force that’s getting my fingers to type). Yesterday the patio really did need to be cleaned. And as my adorable four-year-old tugs at my patience by shooting me with his finger-gun weapon of protest, I know I’m distracted. But am I really too busy (or too buzzed) to write?
I think it’s easy to lie to yourself about being busy. In fact, I think it’s the easiest argument to make.
“Christelle, you need to write,” I say to me in quietest and loudest moments of the day.
“I know,” I placate myself sweetly. “But if I don’t immediately transform the living room nook into a shrine to the wedding, all hell will break loose.”
Why is it so easy to do things that are legitimately silly tasks and so hard to commit to the thing that I hauntingly adore and crave everyday?
And though it’s not wrong that I’m busy it’s wrong that I busy myself with things that have much less important weight than my writing. My husband and my kids will always come first, but that doesn’t mean that breaking away from them is unforgivable. That doesn’t mean that watching Despicable Me 2 for the 24th time is necessary or even remotely respectable.
Time Spent, Time Wasted… Writing be Damned
To prove to myself that I really do have time to write and I choose to do other things, I’m going to list my silly tasks and accomplishments of this weekend that took time I could have spent writing.
• Drinking wine (admittedly this will never go away entirely, but doesn’t require the level of dedication I give it)
• Watching Beauty and the Beast (I grew up on it, no need to revisit)
• Watching We’re the Millers (seen it)
• Watching Salem (okay, kind of hooked, but I don’t need another show in my life)
• Cleaning the patio (as if dirt ever goes away in Arizona)
• Hanging pictures (a task that never takes five minutes)
• Wedding shrine (I already hate it and will likely waste as much time taking it down and redoing as I did setting it up)
• Facebook (freakin’ Facebook)
• Budgeting (not saying it’s unimportant, but I have never come up with a budget I stick to, so why spend the time?)
To be honest, this is painful to look at. It’s hard to see on paper the lie I tell my mind.
With these nine items – and I’m sure there’s more – I see around 10 hours I could have dedicated elsewhere. And then I know for a fact that my “I don’t have time to write today” excuse is a giant load. And so is the “I’m so busy, I’m too tired, I have to…” excuses that seem so legitimate.
Other People Don’t Buy Busyness
While anyone can find a sympathetic recipient for the chaos claims of life, people know there is always time to squeeze.
I spend countless hours on countless days bending my husband’s ear about being a writer and wanting to write. He’s supportive, of course, but I do shyly worry that if I spend an hour writing instead of an hour by his side I’m cheating him of time he deserves.
And yet, as I sit here typing, he approaches me to ask what I’m working on.
“I’m writing,” I say. “For me.”
“Good babe.” And he retreats to reading a book.
Behold. No guilt trip. No rolled eyes. Not that I ever suspected he would do that, but it was simply another load of shit I delivered to myself about my writing.
While that “Good babe” is a reaffirmation that I can write without worry, it also reminds me that nobody, not even my hubby, buys into my busyness. In fact, I glean that he’s ready to see me writing more rather than hearing me talk about wanting to.
And though I will have to sleep off my wine for tonight, I hope that I will read my list of unnecessary accomplishments and my mounting number of grammatical errors as a motivator.
There is time. There has always been time to write. And while cabernet will always hold a special place and having a beautiful home is something I’m very proud of, there are some things that are inescapably minor.
Join me. List just one thing you did recently that replaced chasing your dreams. It hurts and it sucks, but if it helps, why not give it a shot?