My writing ritual is...
Writing is a luxury.
My writing ritual involves stealing away time to write. Probably many parents, particularly mothers in our culture, feel that way. On top of homeschooling, day-to-day activities, and mundane life, finding time to write is a luxury at times. And, because it’s a luxury, it was rare for the early years of my daughter's life.
I was okay without writing very much when she was younger. It was like one of those sacrifices you make, like taking baths alone or for more than five minutes. It was temporary, and I was in the baby tunnel vision anyway. When my dad died when my daughter was three, I found myself suddenly needing to write. So I stole away time at night when my daughter was asleep at night. I’ve started more recently to steal away time during the mornings as well.
One of my favorite writers, Madeleine L’Engle, wrote about her experience writing novels when her children were in bed. It was as if, for a mother-writer, sleep itself is a luxury. I didn’t understand that sacrifice when I was younger, before motherhood. I just assumed you’d write when your child was busy. But now I know that daily life takes precedence in terms of how it interrupts your consciousness, and the writerly space in your mind is easily distracted.
Even if I wanted to steal away during the day to write, I need uninterrupted time, and I’ll only, at this point, can do that if someone else watches my daughter. Other parents rely on school or babysitters, but we’ve chosen not to do the first, and for the second, that’s pretty much immediate family, who can occupy my daughter for a certain amount of time without yells of “Mommy.”
Eventually, maybe I could have my own writing space beyond the ephemeral one that I steal away during my daughter's sleep. She will continue to need more independent time and rely on others more to occupy her. But, at this point, like shaving my legs and dying my hair, I accept that the luxury of writing happens less often than it did before having a child. But the trade-offs are worth it, no matter how unkempt my writerly space might be for now.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial