Tuesday – finding time to write

Let’s start with the truth. I have plenty of time to write. I am retired and my children are grown and out of the house. Yes, I take care of my grandson daily and we are in the middle of a major basement redo. All that said there are open times every day. There is the time when Little Man naps. There are the times when he comes later in the morning so there is time after breakfast dishes to write. There are the unplanned evening that stretch out before me most nights.

So why have I missed the last few weeks of writing? I can give you a list of reasons. They are simple things and they are true but really it is procrastination on my half that is at the root of this lack of writing. This procrastination also is great at blocking my botanical drawing as well.

The procrastination goes something like this:

  • I need to call my sister
  • I did not sleep well last night so I need to nap
  • I need to check out the garden sites on you tube because I am upgrading my garden this summer
  • The construction crew is here or coming and they might need me.
  • I should check on Little Man since he is sleeping

All of it is craziness. I am just avoiding the writing. I think it comes down to not knowing why I am writing. This is a big question and that comes down to motivation.

For a long time I was writing to keep my brain active and thinking, once I stopped working. Which in some ways is still true. It is important to keep thinking and learning and doing new things.

Here in lies the issue. As life is quieting down there is not much new to write about. The day to day events are pretty much the same. My thinking runs similar to so many I know – frustration with politics, worry about the environment, what are we eating tonight and does that grey carpet match the grey tile in the bathroom. Nothing new!

It is life but not very exciting. There are the highlights of conversation with Little Man that we enjoy. The delights when we realize he is understanding letters and numbers or he all of a sudden writes a little word with chalk. Those are our delights but not always great news for anyone other than his parents when they pick him up each evening.

For the month of March the tale of home remodeling kept me going but even that has slowed down. Yes, the remodeling is still happening but who needs to hear about the daily pounding of nails into wood or sheetrock or the on going struggles with the plumber and his choices over mine.

Maybe I am really coming into the hard part of writing. I can put words on the page but how do we make the common everyday world interesting to others and also of value to others or myself? How do we write to pull out the more general messages that help ourselves and others learn from the craziness of our world?

These questions are what people, who are writing memoirs, face. There are tons of memoirs being published right now and I have read many of them. I find them interesting and I continue to read them often. I think it might be because I realize this weekly writing really could be my own little memoir. This idea of a slice of life written once a week is really the tale of our lives. It is a series of short essays about what we are thinking and doing. But does it matter or how do we make it matter?

Memoir could be the tale of ones life from a young childhood to adulthood. It could be the writing of a journey through one event that happens over a few years or months. Whether it is a short or long period of time it needs to say something beyond the daily events. It needs to reach into the meaning of your life and what you have gained or lost along the way. It should, through reflection of some kind, bring out what you learned and how you have changed.

Here is my struggle – each week I can write about events but what am I learning in all this daily craziness? Am I learning something that might be of value to another person reading this? Or can I write about this to help me learn something about myself?

What am I learning as I help Little Man move through the early stages of learning? Have a learned and changed from when I was raising my own children? What have I gained or learned as I work, over the last few months, with contractors tearing apart my house and rebuilding a part of it? How do I feel about so many people coming in and out of my house during the long drawn out ride of a pandemic? What other questions help me see how our daily lives teach us or change us along this journey of life?

This is where writing gets hard. It is where writing takes time and some research into others that have taken these same steps. Maybe this weekly writing is just the rough draft for deeper writing done after more thought, research and reading about others experiences.

Oh, my – this is not were I was going with this writing today but it is interesting how once I pushed myself to write I came up learning something. So what have I learned here?

  1. my writing needs to have more meaning than a report of daily events
  2. that this blog might be a start of my own memoir of learning and reflection
  3. that these weekly writings are or maybe really just a rough draft for deeper thoughts if I allow them to be that

So now for this to have meaning I am thinking about changes and steps I need/want to take. Maybe looking back over my blog posts to see what little learnings might be there that I did not bring out in my writing the first time or are there posts that I could expand on.

Another step might be to go back into the list of memoirs I have recently read (that means making a list of the ones I have read) and think about why I read them and what lessons or changes were being presented to the reader. Do I have lessons like that to share? maybe or maybe not.

The BIG idea for me in all this rambling is that my writing is not about finding time but finding meaning in what I write.

It is clear that I need to have more meaning or thought put into what I write. If am bored with my writing than my guess is my readers are bored with the day to day talk of plants, Little Man events and the pictures, and short tales of sheetrock, electrical and plumbing messes.

Time to find time but more important to find meaning in what I write.

P.S. If you were following me in March with the crazy basement redo – the rough plumbing in now done, the electrical is roughed in and they are currently taping and mudding the sheetrock as I write this. I expect we have another three weeks before it is finished and all the people, trucks and dump trailers will be out of our lives. Just in time for me to build four new garden beds in the back yard.

I just couldn’t stop the sawing and nailing yet. I guess it is alway important to have a project to think about and noise and mess to make.

Now what does that mean or say about me?

See you next week!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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5 Responses to Tuesday – finding time to write

  1. NYOCW says:

    Golden question: “How do we write to pull out the more general messages that help ourselves and others learn from the craziness of our world?” I enjoyed reading this. Also exciting: “…this blog might be a start of my own memoir of learning and reflection.” (And botanical drawings). I’d love to see those!

  2. arjeha says:

    I can so relate to this. To your list I might also add that I used up all of my ideas during the March challenge. Not true, I know, but it sounds good.

  3. Book Dragon says:

    Your slice was a study on contemplation – delving further into your inner life. You gently unfurled, layer by layer, until you reached your inner truth. You are well on your way to writing your own memoir.

  4. Thank you for writing this slice. It was a gentle reminder of the challenge of finding meaning in what we write.

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