It’s great to be back at Mysteristas after a few weeks of maternity leave. A big thanks to the fabulous Sarah Fox for sitting in on my blog days. I really hope you enjoyed her posts as much as I did.
Inspiration has been on my mind quite a bit while I’ve been home with my brand new daughter. I’ve been wanting to write new words while I have this time away from my full-time job, but what to write has been a wily little beast. In fact, it’s been a little akin to Big Foot—popping out of the woods for a few minutes during my blissful morning runs only to disappear when the baby actually gives me a moment in front of my MacBook Air.
In addition to spending my time on a bit of revision for a manuscript I finished pre-baby, my agent and I had discussed me picking up a manuscript I started nearly two years ago. I was totally down for this. Spent a week re-reading the 50 or so pages I’d written and jotting down notes to myself on this and that. I revised. I rewrote. And then, while staring at the screen after a particularly long night with the baby, I put it away.
My mind just wasn’t where it needed to be to get this story right. I knew it. The story knew it. And it was clear that trying to force myself to write it (which I’m pretty good at, being an ex-journalist and all) wouldn’t be the best thing for the story. Or for me.
So, on the next day’s run, I started to think about a short story I wrote awhile ago and how that could be made full-length. I’d always loved the story, and as the miles disappeared, everything I needed to make it longer came into focus.
Then, two days later, when I finally had time to devote to it, I spent a few solid hours second guessing every new decision I made.
Again, my mind wasn’t there. Inspiration had ducked back into the woods, where it could spy in shadow at bleary-eyed me squinting after it.
Maybe Big Foot Inspiration thought I should spend the rest of my time at home only in revision mode. Maybe it thought I needed a little bit more sleep and a return to routine before I would know what to do with its presence. Or maybe it was just being a dick.
I don’t know.
But what I do know is that when at home with a baby (this is my second), it’s very easy to forget your own needs. To become a misshapen bipedal milk bar modeling a sweatpant and ponytail decor. Sure, I was running and I’d made sure I got in at least a military-grade shower each day (longer if I could afford it), but I’m a being whose needs include a creative outlet.
I needed to write. I need to write. And, at this moment, said writing needs to be as effortless as possible.
When I sit down, I need to have fun, be creatively engaged and avoid long slogs of mental gymnastics.
So, I put away the two manuscripts I thought I should work on and I went running.
When I got home and (surprise) immediately had to open up the milk bar for business (pre-shower, of course), I pulled out my phone and started thumb tapping away on a new idea. One that has nothing to do with the other two. That really has almost nothing to do with anything previously in my arsenal. And even though it isn’t exactly the best linear career choice when looking at everything else I’ve created so far, it sounded fun. Different. Exciting.
I’d found exactly what I needed: A fresh start.
Take that, Big Foot.