I am not writing enough. Or reading my Bible enough or exercising enough or sweeping the floor enough. I do these things, but not all of them every day; I make a grab at them as the day cycles by, trying to do today whichever one I didn’t manage to do yesterday. Where does the time go? It’s not as if I watched TV all day while eating the bon-bons that are mentioned so often and so snidely in connection with homemakers. The thing is, I am busy with many, many things, and they are all important to me. There’s just not a lot of flab that can be cut from my day.
For sixteen years, through pregnancies and new babies and various demands on my time, I managed to pretty consistently devote every other Tuesday morning to my writers’ group. The biweekly schedule was ideal, exerting just enough pressure to produce without overwhelming or discouraging me. Now that I’ve moved, I can still participate from afar by critiquing the documents sent to me by other members, and having my own critiqued by them. I am pretty confident in my ability to honor this commitment.
What I am not so confident about, but would like very much to do, is devoting the alternate Tuesdays to my writing as well. To pull this off, I would want to take my laptop to the coffee shop in downtown Luling. It is no use saying I will write here for three concerted hours. If I am physically absent the family will cope, the household will carry on, but if I am here I am sure to get distracted by questions and various little chores, which seem to expand to fill the available time, like that foam that shoots from a can. Also there is little space here for me to write. In Krum I had, if not a studio, then at least a small desk to myself in the dining room. Here, my small desk houses our main computer, as our big desk is too big for the available space. I have to find corners here and there to tuck into temporarily.
Even as I write this, my sensible inner voice is saying, “Quitcher griping! Jane Austen wrote her novels in drawing rooms full of people carrying on complex Regency-era conversations. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings while holding down a demanding professorship, doing the scholarly writing that was expected of him, and moonlighting as an examination proctor. They didn’t even have laptops!”
I love Tolkien’s explanation of why it took him so long to follow up The Hobbit with its long-awaited sequel. He says that “the composition of The Lord of the Rings went on at intervals during the years 1936 to 1949, a period in which I had many duties that I did not neglect, and many other interests as a learner and teacher that often absorbed me.” Oh, yes, and the outbreak of World War II held him up some, too.