Writing used to be a guilty pleasure for me, or at the very least, not anything to be taken seriously. It had nothing to do with the main work of my life, after all; it was something to be done surreptitiously, in stolen moments, in dark corners. Yet it was something I still did - because I couldn't help myself. It has been a part of my life ever since I learned how to form letters on a page and string them into words and sentences. I remember being very surprised when I found out, while still a child, that it wasn't the same for other people; that not everybody wrote for pleasure or, at the very least, wanted to write.
Then, after many years, came a time when I began to think more highly about my writing skills. I began considering writing, though not a full-time occupation (since being a mother and homemaker was and is my main focus), something that could some day become something like work. Then the coin flipped, and instead of feeling guilty about "wasting my time" on writing, I began to feel irritated about every interruption that got in my way. Food always had to be cooked. My house was never clean enough. Children woke up in the night occassionally. What I longed for most of all was to write and write, for hours on end, to flesh out my legends, stories, poems and drawings.
One day, my husband took the children for a day of fun at their grandparents'. I had the computer, and my time, all to myself for a long glorious stretch. I sat down, put some inspirational music on, and began to pound away at the keyboard. I wrote for about an hour and was very pleased with myself, but then I began to slow down. I shifted in my seat. I looked about me. I got up and walked the dog - then got back to the computer. I wrote some more, until I grew restless again. I got up and folded the laundry. Wrote some more, washed the dishes. Wrote some more, put the bread in the oven. Wrote some more, got the soup going.
That day, I realized that it's impossible for me to be creative all day long. Or perhaps it is possible for one day, but certainly not every day. While living in my own head is fun and I love it, I also need to be connected with reality. I can't - nor do I want to - allow myself to stray indefinitely in the labyrinth of my imagination.
By now I have reached a certain point of harmony. I realized that writing enriches my life, while life enriches my writing. If I gave up on writing, I would become a disappointed and bitter person, deprived of my favorite outlet. If I dedicated myself exclusively to writing, soon I would run out of things to write about.
The balance is still out there somewhere. Some days pass in a whirlwind of seemingly mundane activities, with no time to dedicate to actual writing, but sometimes a brilliant plot twist will hit me while I'm hanging out the washing. Some days are slower and more satisfying. Sometimes I'm pleased with myself, sometimes I'm not. Like everyone else, I guess. But at least, finally, I'm coming out of the drawer.