Boy, am I bad at keeping up with this stuff! It’s strange: When I was young, I filled my free time with creativity. I had so much of it that it couldn’t be contained; I needed to get it out. I enjoyed getting it out.
Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to make writing and editing my career, which is a blessing and a curse. (My inner editor wants to change that cliché, but for reasons I will explain in the next paragraph or so, I have to keep writing.)
The best thing about being a professional writer/editor is getting paid to do the thing you like to do. It’s a rare privilege. I appreciate it. And yet, when creativity is your 9-to-5, you pour your ideas and energy into your job—which leaves very little left over for the big, audacious ideas percolating in the recesses of your brain. The everyday drudgery of life calls, too; finding time to write the great American novel, or even the half-coherent blog post, is difficult when there’s fresh cat puke on the living room rug and it needs to be cleaned up right away.
And so, even though I work with words all day long, I have little time to play with them for pure pleasure. I’ve been struggling to identify the feeling this absence has created. It’s not sadness, and it’s not frustration. Nor is it a sense of failure—I work a lot, I make my family a priority, and I feel good about those things. It took months for me to realize what this feeling is. It’s loneliness. Writing has been my constant, and I miss it.
I don’t write here as much as I’d like to. I do keep two journals, though, both paper. One is a shared journal of our marriage, and the other is a series of letters to our son. (Ever a worrier, I want him to have a way to “know” me if I get hit by a bus or something.) Right now, I do what I can, even if it’s not my best. And that’s why completion, not perfection, is the goal for the foreseeable future. Even if it means a cliché slips in now and again.