How long can you stay away from writing? I might last a day or two, or even a week, but the days I’m not writing are not good days. And, I hate that it’s just not that hard to put other things in my life that, like the gas in Boyle’s experiment, expand to occupy all the space–and leave no room for the writing. But they do, and writing doesn’t just take a back seat; it doesn’t even get on the bus.
Because I’m a teacher, the temptation is to take papers to grade wherever I go so I’m busy during the various “waits” in my life. Why aren’t I holding a pen and paper instead and working on my story? The reality is that the marking will always be there and I will always make time for it because it has to be recorded and returned in a timely manner. Writing, on the other hand, has no demands on it. If it’s not done, the only person disappointed is me.
I’ve decided to stop being disappointed. If food will get cooked and groceries bought and laundry washed, then why aren’t my words being written? It’s as important to me as all those things—even more, since I’ve never felt my soul was particularly well fed by folding towels, choosing pears, or putting a pot roast in the oven (although I do enjoy the results.)
I think writers need their own Declaration of Independence; one that honours the pursuit of writing happiness and celebrates it. Here’s mine: I declare that writing is essential to my life and I will make time for it every day.
There, that feels better.