Thursday, 21 March 2013

Not writing is unacceptable


I’ve been trying to write this post for over an hour now.

But I’ve got Naveen smooshed in  close. My left arm is practically sewn to that side of my stomach. I tried to lure him over to the long couch where Deaglan is watching a mildly disturbing cartoon on Teletoon called Rocket Monkey. But he insisted that he wanted to cuddle and because I’m no fool and totally get that my days of unprovoked cuddling are likely numbered, here we are.

It’s the usual way I get any writing done around here.

It forces me to pre-think my posts for a few days. I let an idea roll around my head until the thought of not writing it is unacceptable. I rifle through some of the stuff I’d been taking mental note of: Things the kids said. Comical scenarios I conjured up on a run. Ridiculous interactions I had with people. A song I heard. Something I read that stuck with me. Rare moments I might have allowed gratitude to fill me.

And then when I can’t take the not writing of it anymore, I sit down on the recliner in the living room, and do my best to create a first draft. By then I need to get this post idea down, so I can usually keep the nagging insecure voice in my head at bay for a few minutes.

The relentless voice that wants me to know what a stupid piece of writing this will be. The one that reminds me that only a handful of people read my blog these days and most of them do it out of obligation because they know me and think I might expect it. And they will definitely think it’s a stupid post. And another instance of over-sharing.

I also force myself to tune out any pre-conceived notions of good writing pestering me. I just want to tap the idea out onto the screen first.  Once it’s all there I start editing. Sometimes this part takes me a few days. I might sit down after dinner three nights in a row and keep rewriting the essay until it feels right.
But sometimes the editing takes only an hour.

My only gauge is whether or not I’m happy with it. If I am, I hope like crazy there’s a photo on our camera I can download. In the summer there’s never a shortage. The light is good and lasts long into the evening. It helps that we’re outside all the time, unburdened by layers of clothing. Shaune is usually more willing to cooperate with my insistence that we capture the kids. It helps if I remind him that time is just flying by. The kids are not going to be five and two forever!

But in the winter, good clear light is a commodity. And even I know how lame the flash setting can make a picture look. I always hope for a good shot of the kids in natural light. And if there is one or a photo relevant to what I’m writing about, then I take a few minutes to edit that too.  

I then upload the picture (s) and copy and paste my piece into Blogger. This is   precisely when I play around with the publish preview button to get a sense of what the post will look like on my blog. I’m always amazed how much more editing I need to do at this point. Something that might seem to work in a word document might read totally wrong in a blog post.

I edit and preview, edit and preview and edit and preview. 

Then I bite the bullet and hit publish.  I read the post again, live and on the internet. And because there's no threat of something I've written going viral,  I might edit again if something just isn't sitting right with me.  I also check to make sure my post published to my facebook account.

The last thing I do is take a deep breath. In more recent years the deep breath is accompanied by a conscious letting go. 

I hope for the best that my writing will be received well and I carry on with the rest of my night with these knuckleheads.

Like any good mother, I take every opportunity to dress them alike. Gramma and Grampa brought these T-shirts back from their recent trip to Portugal. The shirts say "My grandparents are cool." 

Chapstick is a really big deal around here. I try not to analyze how gross it is that they both find it delicious.


  1. Oh Kim, I do NOT come here out of obligation. Your writing is just made a piece of writing ABOUT writing beautiful.
    And your boys...that last photo...LOVE!!


  2. No obligation here - I just truly enjoy reading the stories you craft about your daily life.

    My boys love chapstick too. Your boys are so cute :-)

  3. Kim, no obligations here either, my beautiful friend. I find your writing to be refreshing, and I can always relate to what you say, and I'm always in awe of the eloquent way you say it.

    The things your boys do now are things that Amy did back when she was little. I like that! I thought Amy was the only kid who thought Chapstick should be a food group:)

    Hugs! xx

  4. Oh dear I see you are getting some nasty spam, there is a way to block it you know.

    I haven't been writing much lately but still enjoy dropping in on you and your family. the boys are growing up too quickly.

    I also - when I do write something worthy of posting - write it almost totally in my head first The idea will pop into my head, I chew it around for a bit, then write it down. The idea to post is usually not more than a day... maybe if I took another day to edit my writing would seem as polished as yours, but I doubt it. I like the creative part a lot and the editing part not at all.

    I also like chapstick. the cherry flavors are the best.

    Hugs from my new home in Houston.

  5. I read your blog not out of a sense of obligation, but to laugh and be inspired! This was a fascinating glimpse into your process!

  6. I always read your posts... Because I want to and because I look forward to them.

    Your blog is what lit the fire in me to start writing again after our little man came into the world and I'd lost all creativity and gained overwhelming anxiety returning to the world of writing. Your influence taught me about avenues I didn't know existed - Blogging and writing about what you know.

    That fire's still burning strong. Stronger than before.

    So, keep writing.

    I go days without writing and then think, you know what, just write. Who cares about what. I often just write without any premeditation and then for days later there are things I wish I hadn't written or I think they're stupid or I read them after I post them and find grammatical and spelling errors. Then I think, who cares? At least I wrote something.

    That's what I love about blogging, that unlike my freelance work, 99.9% of it doesn't go to print. Writing unleashed.

    Ease up on the editing and the pressure.
    Just write.
    Do it for you.

  7. I love your writing! Your messages are simple but yet so deep and it always moves me to read your words. I always look forward to your posts.

  8. No obligation Hon, pleasure and delight my friend. :-)

  9. Not out of obligation Hon, out of pleasure and delight, my friend... xxO


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