First came the kick butt yoga class – one needs to keep in shape. Then it was breakfast – because eggs and coffee on Sunday morning are a ritual. Nourishment was followed by some household chores, changing the bed, laundering towels and linen. Oh, and tomorrow I am having lunch with some girlfriends and I promised a cake: bowls, mixer, chocolate and butter make their appearance on the counters I cleaned not so long ago. The dog needs to be walked and it’s time for a late lunch. The New York Times is still languishing and calling for my attention and I am in no mood to squander the $60 a month subscription. It’s now 5 o’clock and I haven’t even taken a shower so grooming has to come next. Now I can finally sit down at my desk and start writing.
Since I took the plunge and decided to start writing a book with a “now or never” attitude, I have barely gone past the outline. A full-time job and a million excuses are limiting my available time. Or so I tell myself and I know I am not alone. It’s a self-inflicted mental limit which represents all my insecurities and fear of failure, the voice that whispers I am not good enough even to attempt a modest work very far removed from literature.
My approach towards writing should be more akin to cooking, I realize that. When I took up cooking professionally I felt a bit of a fraud but I quickly slipped into the meditative and creative state every time I poured over a recipe, or experimented with flavors – ultimately, it was the judgement of the diners that mattered, not so dissimilar from being judged by a reader. Fortunately, cooking involves a team effort and deadlines that cannot be moved: a restaurant opens and people need to be fed, not much room for maneuvering. Writing, on the other hand, is a very solitary endeavor and one that allows for plenty of excuses and more pressing matters that need to be tackled before sitting down to fill the daunting blank page. And as I am finding out, I am a master at inventing pressing matters ranging from dirty laundry to chocolae.
Sometimes I read of struggling writers, holding down full-time jobs and getting up at 5 in the morning to get a couple of hours of writing before the commute. I have given it some thought for exactly 30 seconds – I might be a morning person, not a middle of the night one. So I am stuck with evenings when my brain is not too fried and week-ends. I have given myself a year and I do hope I find the fearlessness to see it through. For myself – if nothing else. If other diners will partake in the meal, all the better even if, to quote my friend Sue when she started writing “I am preparing myself for a life of rejection”.