Sick kids and slacking off caused me to put my story for this week off until last night and as I sat in front of the flickering light of the tv in my dark living room I kicked myself again, for leaving my weekly story off until the last minute. Again. Life took over and I didn’t write at all this week. It pains me to admit it a little less than it pains me that it’s true. I was a slacker.
I never mean to skip a day or to let myself get distracted. I always have the best intentions, and some weeks I even meet the expectations I set for myself and write the story early or write something I keep for myself, but not as much as I should.
The third time my four year old woke up crying because of a stuffy nose and foggy head I closed my computer and stifled a curse. I walked into the kid’s bedroom, trying not to make a noise, thinking the whole time that I’d rather be in front of my computer pounding on the keys, racing to meet a deadline I had all week to get to. I kissed two foreheads, stacked four pillows to make for easier breathing and I stood in the complete darkness and thought about all the moments I have to give up to write. Some nights I miss goodnight kisses and battling dragons in the shadows, trading so many hours for the chance to chase an improbable dream. Standing there I determined to do better so that the hours I spend away are filled with progress and failure and all the things a writer needs to be successful.
People say that I shouldn’t put pressure on myself, but of course I do and of course I should. Not on my whole life, or to do everything, but to focus, to line up what matters and cut pieces of myself off, giving just the right amount to each, knowing that nothing accomplished without the right amount of pressure.
52 stories in 52 weeks and writing regularly is a lot, but like my children, I would be less without writing. All hopes and expectations for it aside, I don’t like who I am when I let myself stray from it and if this year is meant to make me better and to refine the dull blade that is all the work I’ve ever done, pressure is exactly what I need.
In the early hours of morning I finished week 11’s story. Because it was written in a house so still I could hear each bead of rain hit the window beside my writing desk, because it’s about a family and a divorce and a pain that lingers until it destroys everyone who ever felt it’s bitterness, it’s far too personal to be put on this blog.
As I close week 11 behind me and open a new document for week 12 I begin with my challenge inside of a challenge. To be focused where I’ve been distracted. To write during the hours I’ve set aside everyday instead of tweeting and emailing and scrolling through pages and pages of Pintrest. To turn on the pressure and know that it’s exactly what I need.