I had a revelation last week while I was doing a bit of freewriting on why I write. Amidst the usual reasons of megalomania (“I am GOD of this world! Tremble, all ye minions! Bwahahaha!”) and delusions (“The voices in my head told me to write this”) of grandeur (“I will be rich and famous!”), I came up with this unexpected motivation:
I write to have something that is just mine, something I don’t have to share with the people I live with, to have a reason to carve out time and space for myself.
I’m not especially saintly and altruistic, but I do spend a lot of time doing things for other people. I kinda have to, seeing as I’m at home with three kids under the age of four. I feed and clothe and diaper; I sweep floors and wash dishes; I read books aloud and help with puzzles; I mediate disputes and drive my cherubs to playdates and doctor’s appointments. I don’t say this because I think I merit some kind of Mommy Prize–pretty much every mommy I know does this, and is happy to (except for maybe the dishes part). I say this because I am inherently a selfish person who needs a lot of down time for herself and mental and physical space to just think. Writing allows me a guilt-free way to get all that; after all, I’m not just flipping through a magazine or aimlessly surfing the Internet. I’m being productive, creative, inspired, thoughtful, disciplined, risk-taking, adventurous.
Oh, yeah, and getting that time to just myself.
I’m not sure whether this revelation changes anything. But it was a neat “huh, I never knew that about myself” moment.
Well said. I feel that way when I am doing art. I am so much happier and balanced when I make time for creative endeavors. Although at times I forget to make dinner.
I forget to do laundry! Then I have to do some emergency loads when people run out of clean underwear.