A child in bed. Check.
Husband at work. Check.
Me in bed sleeping…umm, no. I’m writing.
A writer in name only
For the past several years, and sometime before I took a break to have a child, I’ve been a writer. I’m lucky enough to get paid for writing, but few people dream of writing for a living by writing in the same narrow niche that an employer usually expects.
My professional portfolio includes writing about finance, SEO, cryptocurrency, trading, retail, HR (the list) goes on…none of which hold any joy or interest for me. What happened to my writing about things that have meaning or importance to me? When did I let myself slide into the thankless role of churning out the same information in new and different media?
Grateful, but mentally dead
Gratitude. That’s how I managed to deteriorate into an opinionless article spinner. While writing about my passions, beliefs, and life lessons would be my ideal, with a side hustle in short stories. Not many employers are likely to pay me a monthly salary for it. So, I continue feeling grateful that while I’m bored to tears, and dreading the next article about demographic audience targeting, at least I’m getting a monthly salary that helps to support my family.
I was a prolific writer before I landed a paid gig. I wrote about everything. I wrote short stories, terrible poetry, ranting articles about toxic feminism, political idiocy, social injustice, and shared experience that may help others.
Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my voice. Life gets in the way, and I don’t have the mental energy that once crackled in my brain, and whizzed along my fingers to my keyboard or pencil.
I am a mum, a wife, a content writer, content marketer, sister, absentee aunt, a daughter. Somewhere in that list of things should be some reference to Me, the woman, the reluctant optimist, introvert, writer, and intermittent crafter.to just be me. Me that loved to write, the me that wanted to reach people with the written word, me that felt the need and joy of sharing experience, ideas, and random thoughts. The me that has barely slept more than 5 hours together in nearly three years.
Something has to give
Writing for someone else is sometimes a drag. Moreover, when I spend the day writing yet another article about the future of cryptocurrency, stablecoins, price comparison or retail trends, my mind is numb. I couldn’t string together a diabolical limerick, without feeling cerebral fluid leaking out of an ear.
It’s not just the numb brain, either. When I finish work, my schedule goes; get home, make dinner, stack dishwasher, play with son, sometimes I even manage a conversation with my husband. By the time the boy is in bed, I just want to crash. Where does it end?
Between being a good mum that spends quality time with her child, a good wife that still loves her husband beyond the realms of good taste, a great writer for whomever is paying the bills this time around, losing the post-baby (plus a whole lot extra) weight, incorporating some physical activity (let’s face it, writing is entirely sedentary) because I’m 36 and need so much more energy than I have to keep up with my two-year-old. Where do I find time to find me?
A break is required
In a few days, I have a week holiday coming up. Ostensibly, it’s for spring cleaning and getting the house up to scratch before my family visit (my mother doesn’t think my house is clean unless every surface reeks of bleach or disinfectant). But I’m taking some of that blissful alone time to start writing for myself again. Finding my voice, without the continual onslaught of a child, work and the pressure of having to make intelligent conversation with my better half.
So far the only time I have to write in my own voice is the few precious minutes after dinner, using the app on my phone (the time to open my laptop and set up my desk eats into those minutes like you wouldn’t believe). In real terms, it is probably the easiest way to write as myself because when I’m texting or using the app, it is just a stream of consciousness that flows through my tapping thumbs.
Writing is the easy part, but I need some structure
So much more to do that simply starting to write, I need to learn to organise my thoughts the same way as I would for a professional article. If I don’t structure my thoughts, the resultant ramble is incoherent crap and not worth the storage space on my computer.
Writing for myself still happens, but I have learned to look at it with a critical eye, and far more brutal in my willingness to discard a piece if it doesn’t fit with my standards.
Plans don’t have to be followed to the letter, but they do give a vague illusion of structure and a list of things I need to get done.
- Give some TLC to my stagnant neglected website — Yes, I have one, it just hasn’t been getting any attention.
- Re-engage with social media — This is a tough one for an antisocial person.
- Dedicate some time — another difficult task when trying to squeeze everything (and everyone) into a tight schedule.
- Let my voice find its path. — too much time looking at the products of my labours with a commercially critical eye
The plan is set, the brain is engaged, the game shall commence.