Butt-in-chair

On busyness vs. accountability

On busyness vs. accountability

Early in July, I became the owner of a home that will give our family the space we’ve long needed. I also became a de facto general contractor. My fix-it list is rapidly growing; my word count is not. How easily non-writing work can fill the time we set aside precisely for the page — especially when such busyness sometimes gives us more sense of accomplishment on some days than the few paragraphs we may add to a work in progress …

On the perfect creative haven

On the perfect creative haven

I don’t write at a desk anymore — now on most weekdays, I stand on the staircase behind a baby gate while T., my 2-year-old daughter, listens to her favorite playlist piped from my laptop, which is precariously balanced on a stair post. Today, she’s tearing up the living-room floor to a combination of 1970s disco funk and Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, soon to be followed by the soundtrack to The Sound of Music. Her 5-year-old brother is usually in preschool, but it’s Saturday. As long as O. is also entertained by KC and the Sunshine Band, I have this moment to put thoughts to virtual paper before one of the kids will need food or the bathroom.

When routines fail

When routines fail

The idea of calling writing a practice did not occur to me until long after I had graduated from my MFA program — a year late with a manuscript I wanted to hide in a locked file cabinet, perhaps among the credit card statements old enough to shred.

I had gone after my degree so that I could teach. I had also hoped that doing the work while living with my husband would help me develop a successful writing routine while also learning to balance the rest of life alongside it. Integrating a two-time-zone commute into our year-old marriage could not have been farther from that ideal.