Funny how, at fifteen and twenty and twenty-five, when I wrote constantly, kept a daily journal, had novels and short stories and poems in files, I considered myself, in a self-important youthful, but sincere way, a writer. Now, at something older than thirty, with one novel published and one on the way, having been paid, for the first time in my life to write, I find myself literally NEVER describing myself as a writer.
Since I wrote my debut novel during my first son's naps, and revised it after my daughter's birth (and now have revised my second novel during the thrills of a third post partum experience), it is not suprising my sense of relativity (and I might just be too tired to be what I think a writer ought to be--intelligent, dedicated and able to write in something more than a fifteen minute block of time!). But as I think about the women who write this blog, who have beautifully posted about their writing lives and habits, I know one thing is true for me with my non-existent writing schedule (yes, I write, but no, there is no schedule now of any kind). My children, and my awarenes of their preeminence in my life, has freed me to be a writer, because, for the first time, I can write without it mattering so darn much.
Being just one of many writers, not on the best seller's list, not getting rich, not writing the great American novel, not becoming famous, not doing as well as I had hoped, I can bear all this. In fact, provided my children are healthy and happy, I feel I can bear anything.
This may make me a worse writer; I'm not sure. I can confidently say it makes me a better mother. Do I hope to apply myself more as a novelist in 2011? Not at all. I am always writing a story in my head, one way or another, and my heart has to follow its fulfillment. Writing is a joy. Getting paid for it, a privelege. But this family is an etching carved deep into my heart by the Universe itself, and I want to do it better. Loving that, I am free to be as successful as life will have me be as a writer, and that girl of long-ago who imagined some Oprah Winfrey type of fame, is happy to have grown up (it's much better than I'd imagined).
Though I have this secret, rather child-like wish, that Oprah will read my book and contact me and...What? I will be doing the dishes and nursing and arranging a preschool event all at the same time and since I can't stand technology and don't have call waiting she will get three hours of a busy signal and finally give up and her email will land in my junk mail since she isn't a "known" sender and I will never even know that I could have been The Next Big Thing if I weren't so woefully busy (and blessedly tired, too). Hey, now that I think of it, maybe this has already happened....
A last minute P.S. Has anything unexpected humbled your writing? Your childhood dreams?
Samantha Wilde is the author of THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME. You can visit her at samanthawilde.com.