the whole whole truth

Posted: March 1, 2020 by Rachel

It’s been two weeks since I last opened my laptop. It sat on the floor of my bedroom, next to my bedside table, untouched. The battery had gone dead when I opened it this morning. I could say I haven’t felt much like writing lately, but that would be a half-truth.

The whole truth is that I actively made the decision to stop writing. 

The whole whole truth is that somewhere along the line I tried to turn a hobby into something it wasn’t meant to be. I love to read and knit, and scrapbook; but I’m not about to try and make a career out of those things. I took something I’ve loved to do since I first learned to compile a proper sentence and tried to force it into something it was never meant to be. And in doing so I essentially ruined it.

When I sat down to write—or even thought about it—I immediately felt an intense pressure settle on my shoulders. I was frozen in place before I’d even written a single word. 

In my journal most mornings I’d write that I felt like a fraud. How could I call myself a writer when I was producing little to nothing. When I had nothing to share with the world. 

I was tired of being upset. Of the pressure I was putting on myself. So I stopped writing. 

It turns out I was right about the pressure I was putting on myself to produce. Since I put my laptop away I’ve been sleeping better and have had more energy. I started knitting again, I’ve read some incredible books, I’ve played more tennis and taken more walks.

I gave myself permission to write only for myself, only when it feels right. And if I never share a word with another person, I’m okay with that. This hobby is mine and mine only. 

It’s not.

Posted: November 26, 2019

I had my father, the new sender of daily selfies, on the phone yesterday. “How’s your writing going?” he asked. He asks often now. It still makes me smile. The answer to his question has the opposite effect. “It’s not.” “You haven’t been able to shake anything loose yet, huh?” I shake my head but he’s on the phone and he can’t see me. The kettle boils, I pour water over the tea bag in my favorite red mug. “Not yet,” I say eventually. Later, I write in my journal about how guilty I feel that I’m not writing. I…

easing in

Posted: October 14, 2019

I am writing these words seated in the corner of a new-to-me coffee shop on a weekday evening. I had this planned, this writing break, this get out of the house break. Whatever the name; I needed it. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends this year (these past few months especially) and needed to set a date and time to get out of the house and be alone. I’d driven past this cafe a few times and always seemed to make the point of telling my husband I’d have to try it out sometime. Much to my disappointment…

the status of things, part two

Posted: October 10, 2019

Last week, my father started reading my blog. A friend of his, after asking after me one day, had looked me up and come across my website. “How long have you had your blog?” my father asked me one night over the phone. It had come out of the blue and caught me off guard. I told him I’ve had a website, in one form or another, since the eighth grade. He didn’t say much else at the time, and I was too nervous to push for more. The next time we spoke on the phone, he told me he’d…

the status of things, part one

Posted: October 5, 2019

This morning I waited until the boys left, until I heard the car start up and pull away, and then I lit my favorite candle and made a second cup of coffee. My laptop sat open and ready on the kitchen table, the first time I’d even looked at it in weeks. The house was blissfully silent. I’d prepared myself for this, written in my journal just yesterday that this morning would afford me the perfect block of free time to finally sit down and work my way through everything the only way I really know how: by writing it…

It’s not about the desk (ok, it’s a little about the desk)

Posted: April 20, 2018

I ordered a desk yesterday. A small, white thing with clean lines and a drawer that the reviews say is deceiving because it doesn’t open all the way. But what do I care about that, really? I didn’t talk to Dom about it first. I didn’t tell him I’d been debating the purchase for a couple months now, mostly because I knew what he’d say. “Why do you need another desk?” I have a nice, big desk in a separate office that is cold in the winter and hot in the summer and I can never quite figure out how to…

The Writing Folder

Posted: March 20, 2018

It’s been a bit of a strange morning. The sky is solid grey, not a cloud in sight. There’s almost no sun. The house feels cooler than normal, and my new wool socks just don’t seem to be cutting it. Probably I should just slip into a warm bath, light a candle, make a fresh cup of coffee that hasn’t gone cold. But, oh, that’s right—I have to work. ** I’ve been working on something new this year. It’s definitely not a romance novel. It seems silly that it took me so long to realize this “new thing” is probably…

I worry

Posted: February 25, 2018

Last week, I heard something in an interview with Cheryl Strayed that stopped me cold. I hit pause—Cheryl’s face frozen mid-sentence—and tried to regain my breath. I sat there for a few more beats before I decided it was best if I got up and moved around (I have a bad habit of sitting for periods far too long), so I went into the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee—my third of the day, probably. And then I finished watching the interview. I’ve since watched plenty of Big Little Lies and read Hourglass (and half of Still Writing),…

My (Very New) Writing Habit

Posted: February 18, 2018

For almost two weeks now, I’ve been doing this thing where I sit down in the same place and same time every single day, to write. I give myself an hour, because, really, that’s all I can afford most days. I’ve read enough from successful writers to know that the real work is sitting your butt down in the chair every day and, well, I wanted to figure out a way to make that work for me. I take it quite seriously; that hour every day. Sometimes it means rushing my kid out the door (if it’s my day for…

The day I still didn’t write

Posted: February 18, 2017

Today I opened up my WIP for the first time in ten days. I’m meeting a girlfriend for a movie and decided to stop for coffee first. At the last minute I slipped my laptop into my purse in hopes that I might feel inclined to get back to work. I ordered a small lunch and a coffee and ate in silence. Then I pulled out my laptop and opened Scrivener. And nothing. Forty minutes until I leave to meet my friend. (I found this website, which lead me to read this post, which I kind of needed to, really)….