And write with the blood
I put writing on hold for a time. Some might say I put it on hold for a lifetime, because I put off writing fiction until very recently. But I also put off my previous non-fiction writing because I was raising my son alone and that was struggle enough without adding the struggles all writers encounter.
It wasn’t an immediate decision. I was free-lance writing for newspapers and magazines when my son was born. He was delivered caesarean after 21 hours of labor, but most of those hours were good labor. However, a week after he was born, I had a deadline. The baby cried every time I wobbled to and sat down gingerly at the computer. My Mom was there and saved the day, but I was breast feeding, so she finally rescued me by finishing my article. She told everyone, “Carol thought she was going to birth this baby, pick him up, and keep on going.”
It was true, I did. At the time, I was also teaching adjunct classes at the University of North Texas, a 45 minute drive away, writing and seeing my first clients as a newly graduated psychotherapist doing supervision. It was a wild ride. He and I both survived it as my practice built. However, adjunct professorship and writing fell by they wayside.
Maybe this was in part because I had just spent 3 years writing research papers, but I don’t think so. I love to write. It was mainly that any time I had before and after seeing clients, I chose to spend with my son.
He is 25 now. My practice is flourishing, and so of course still takes much of my time. But I find that when I removed the News App from my phone (I still read the New York Times and Huffington Post, but I don’t let myself chase rabbits down rabbit holes) I had much more time to write. Thanks Medium.com, and writers who write about how to find time to write.
As a result, I am on my second screenplay and am finally a regular contributor to Medium.com. Writing again has energized my life.
We writers are a funny breed. Most of us have found that we have to write “with the blood” as Rodrigo, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, says of playing music on “Mozart In The Jungle”. “Play with the blood” he says through the first two seasons to his orchestra. He finally tells his girlfriend about practicing violin as a child until his fingers bled, then practicing some more.
If we try to write with no personal investment, or without authenticity, readers can tell. Perhaps after graduate school I thought of writing more as an intellectual exercise, and so lost interest in doing it. I don’t know for sure. What I do know for sure is that good writer’s who write what they know will find readers who appreciate them. And the more you write, the more you find you know, and the more curious you become, the more you learn and hence the more you know.
There will always be distractions. There will be life and people you love, which are important and urgent. Write about that and them. Writing helps you remember their value.
So, Write On fellow travelers. Don’t make the mistake I did of putting it on the back burner for so long. If you are a writer, it is in your blood, and so you must open up your vein and write with the blood. Just as long as you keep on writing.