How to be a Writer- I’ve Been Doing it Wrong

I haven’t been writing a lot lately.  Anyone who follows this blog (Hi Dad) has probably already noticed that.  I haven’t even been doing any off-the-blog, just-for-myself writing.  I know, sad.  There are a lot of little things that have contributed- bad mood, vacation, needy kids, work, fatigue, lack of ideas.  You know…stuff.  So, whatever, I didn’t do it.  I decided to not feel guilty in March, so I’m not going to do it now.

 

It all comes down to the fact that I wasn’t inspired, at all.  And what do people tell you to do to be inspired to write?  That’s right- read, read, read!  Read things written by people whose writing you admire.  So that’s what I did.  I read articles, I read blogs, I read short stories.  I spent the little bit of free time I had between job & kids (& messy house & destructive dog…) READING.  That’s right…I was reading when I should have writing.

 

I was figuratively slapped across the face yesterday by Tsh Oxenreider in her ‘Dsh with Tsh’ blog at Babble.  (Note: I don’t know Tsh, I actually just discovered her yesterday, but I have a massive girl-crush on her and I think we’d be really good friends.  More on that later…..).  In her July 18 post, ‘Create before You Consume’, Tsh introduced this concept of *gasp* getting your OWN thing done before you dive into checking everybody else’s stuff out.  When I finished reading, I slapped myself in the forehead because it’s SO OBVIOUS…but it’s not my instinct…it had never even crossed my mind.  If the flight attendant didn’t remind me before every flight, I would surely perish trying to put the oxygen masks on my children without getting my own mask on first….I’m one of those people.

 

My normal routine, first thing in the morning, is this:  I grab my phone (before I even get out of bed) and check my email, my Facebook & my Twitter.  Before I get out of bed!  How gross is that?  How important do I think I am?  I am NOT that important.  Then, if I have time after my reading/replying/posting, I look at a quality news outlet like TMZ.  (In my defense, by that time I’ve usually gotten the big news headlines from reading my colleagues Tweets.)  By this time, because I’ve wasted so many extra minutes lazily cuddling with the internet, I’m running late.  So, then I jump up and run around with my hair on fire getting ready for work, getting the kids out the door and cursing the fact that my house is so gross because I NEVER HAVE TIME TO DO ANYTHING.  Then I drive to work thinking about how much I could accomplish if only I didn’t have to work.

 

This morning, on Tsh’s advice, I got up and fought the urge to check my phone.  Instead, I immediately got up, got dressed and made coffee.  By the time the kids woke up, I’d accomplished more than I had all day yesterday.  By the time I left for work, I had dinner cooking in the crock-pot, a grocery list made & had 3 more ideas for blog posts.  Success!

 

So, there you go.  Tsh should be my friend (the friend who makes you a better person).  She shares my love of simplifying life (she’s @simplemom on Twitter), she’s my age and has 3 kids.  She has long, slightly grown out bangs & she muses about whether she’s too old to get a nosering.

 

In fact, I’m thinking about changing my name to Jss. 

 

 

 

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Feeling Exposed

Sooooo…..I’m starting to tip-toe into letting people know about my blog.  I’ll be honest, it’s freaking me out.  For months I’ve been writing a little here and there just to get my fingers moving.  I kept reading that you need to carve out time to write and that once you get into a routine you’re more apt to do it.  So, I started making a goal to write every night between 10p & midnight (and I’ll ask those of you that know me to suspend reality and ignore your knowledge of my work schedule…..).  As you can see, I’ve been doing it pretty regularly.  There have been plenty of nights that I never got around to it.  There have been a few nights that I didn’t write until I got home at night.  But, for the most part, I’ve been doing it.

Of course, even though I’ve been writing I haven’t actually been TELLING people that I’ve been writing.  A few people know….I’ve made jokes about my “secret blog” and I’ve discussed with a few fellow writers that I’ve been trying to get back into a routine…but nobody that I know actually knows where to find me.

Until now.

As most people know, I’ve completely insecure about my writing.  It’s a wonder that I actually had the confidence to major in PROFESSIONAL WRITING.  I write and it sounds good to me, and then I read somebody else’s work and it blows me out of the water and I think about how simple I sound.  (Yes, I’ve discussed this before….)

Between feeling inadequate about my writing and just feeling sort of private, I decided that I didn’t want anybody to know about my little slice of cyber-space.  I wanted to feel like I could stretch my wings a little and not have to worry about what I wrote or how it would sound or who it would piss off.  I have a tendency of going off at the mouth (or fingers, in this case) when I lose my temper.  I wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen. 

Being private is hard.  Well…it’s hard for me.  I know that some people prefer to live their entire lives in privacy, never revealing too much, never letting co-workers or acquaintances in.  Regarding most things, I’m a pretty open book.  I like to talk.  I like to talk about myself, I like to talk about my kids, I like to tell crazy stories.  NOT telling people (and believe me, I told NOBODY) about this seemed strange.  And I caught myself several times right before I said “Today I wrote about….”

I’m not quite sure what happened, but today I decided that it was time to “go public”.  I was sitting at work & decided to check my account to see if I’d received any comments.  Of course I hadn’t.  I’ve received maybe 3 legit comments…the rest are spam that sort of seem like they COULD be real.  Seeing that big zero sort of disappointed me.  As nervous as it makes me, I WOULD like to feel that people may actually be reading and what I write might actually matter.

So, after a few minutes of thought, I added my url to my Twitter profile (@jessdemers if you’re interested).  I’m not quite ready to add it to my Facebook.  To be honest, there are several people there who aren’t actually my friends and who I don’t necessarily need reading my thoughts (although I wouldn’t stop them….I DO maintain FB friend status, if only to keep tabs on them).  Now I’m sitting here thinking of the people who I’ll tell about this.  I suppose the first should be, ahem, my husband.  Maybe then he’ll stop harassing about the time I spend on the computer AND the fact that I should be writing (although I’m not sure why he hasn’t put this together yet).  I have other friends who I know will be supportive and kind and interested in what I have to say….So I’ll tell them.  Then, eventually, word will spread and I’ll become famous and then Simplyjess will take over the world.

You know…I’m suddenly very conscious of the fact that my writing here has been slightly serious.  It’s not really what I would have expected and I don’t think it’ll be what anybody else really expects.  And I’m starting to worry that none of this has been particularly interesting.  Yikes, I hope people aren’t disappointed.  (Note to self: Add some snark)

So, here it is.  You could have scrolled back and read about all of this in the first post, but I thought that I’d let everybody in on my stream of consciousness and neuroses.