Escaping My Calling

Writers, I find, will formulate any excuse not to write.  They will clear the table, organize the pantry, empty the dishwasher-- anything to avoid the task of actually sitting down and hammering out those words.  

I can avoid and procrastinate as much as I want but when I am met with stillness, the story I must tell is ever-lurking.  It seeps out of my pores, sweat-staining my bright white tank top, begging to be written.  

The other day, I had coffee with an old friend.  Actually, I had a smoothie. She had coffee. I had already downed almost two cups of coffee in the early morning hours. That’s a good amount of coffee for me.   Cole woke up earlier than expected that day.  So I opted for a healthier option, watching my caffeine intake and my waistline.  It was great to see this friend - we haven’t caught up in God-knows-how-long, and she’s one of those people I can pick up right where I left off with.  We even talked about that (I’m pretty sure we always do).  She’s a baby lover so she snuggled Cole for almost our entire time together. I only left her when I saw he was growing restless.  We embraced, laughing at a silly story we made up about some young kids in the parking lot and promised one another we would get together soon.  We always do that. “Why don’t we do this more often?” we beg the other.  We never come up with any great answer for it.  Life always seems to get in the way.

I’d barely pulled out of the parking lot at 1:04 pm and onto the back roads of my hometown, heading back to my current home, before checking the baby mirror and noticing Cole had fallen fast asleep.  I assumed he would wake upon parking the car outside our condo, but he didn’t.  Scrolling mindlessly through my Instagram feed, flipping through Facebook, checking my stock account, nothing engaged me.  I always come prepared with a book, journal, or laptop, JUST in case my son decides to sleep.  For whatever reason, today I brought nothing. At 2:08, after finishing up a podcast episode I’d attempted to listen to several times, I began to grow restless.  I couldn’t believe he was still sleeping. Lately, he’d max out at hour-long naps. A block of free quiet time had been granted to me, and I found myself feeling trapped in my car with nothing to “work on.”

Reaching for a fine-tip Muji pen on my console and the back of some scrap paper I found poking out underneath my passenger seat, I began to doodle some ideas for the book I’d been avoiding.  “Let me just jot down some intentions for the book,” I told no one.  I was speaking to a writing friend earlier in the day and I suggested she stick with her intention for why she wanted to write her book, so why not take my advice? 

It turned out to be great guidance because the words began to flow. When I established WHY I wanted to write this book, the ideas of HOW I would write it and the rough idea for what I wanted to say, began to flow.  

Cole napped for two hours and fourteen minutes.  I scribbled for nearly an hour, discussing my plans with another dear writer friend, a woman determined to publish a children’s book.  She acted as a sounding board and I just kept going, flushing out my concepts and remembering my desperation during pregnancy and why I needed to write this book. I wanted to offer women something I WISHED I had. That was a good enough reason, wasn’t it?

I also felt self-inflicted pressure. If I waited too long, would I be too removed from the experience to relate to these women? I have so many journal logs, so many letters to Cole, and as I sort of mind-mapped what I wanted to do, the feelings came flooding back.  I know I can do this.  I just need to maintain the confidence to do it.

Sometimes when I’m writing, I’m afraid that I won’t have anything to say.  Or that I’ll epically fail.  Or what my book won’t be successful.  What if I embarrass myself in front of the people I love -- or worse- what if I fall flat in front of the people who don’t love me?

Today is the day I stop giving a fuck.  Stop clearing the table (not to say it isn’t necessary), but stop robbing myself of the time I should and COULD be writing.  I CAN DO THIS.  

What I realized about today that was so interesting was that I got a whole lot done without the distraction of my journal or my book.  As much as journaling is writing and as much as reading is wonderful to help me be a stronger writer, today required minimal distractions.  I had nothing else to cloud my mind.  I could not escape what I have felt compelled and yet run away from doing. In some ways, I felt the way I did when I was pregnant (with far less anxiety of course). I felt trapped. I couldn’t leave the car and organize the house, or be distracted by bingeing Gilmore Girls for the thousandth time-- I didn’t have those things to keep me from my writing.  Instead, all I had was my beautiful sleepy baby in the back seat, allotting me the time I needed to write.  No excuses. Nothing standing in my way.  And damn, did it feel good to work toward that goal today.  

Shit, I need to write this book. 

Escape is the theme for my writing group this month.

Read more pieces about escape from my fellow Illuminate members:

How Do You Escape? by Crystal James
un-becoming by Laci Hoyt
Escape Via Him by Amy Rich

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