By KIM PATTON
Because my stories keep my heart pounding at night with the possibility of it all, when I can’t get words on paper, I want to scream. All my energy pools at the bottom of my core, where it proceeds to yell at me all day long, ‘Write! Write! Write!’
I have to quiet the voice like a hidden pet, shushing it over and over until I get the chance to sneak away, laptop in hand, stories spilling out of my guts.
What poor, unfortunate lives we artists live. We’re tortured by our words, whether they’re flitting around in our minds at 3 a.m. or written on paper, looking sad and regretful that we’ve put them there. Our words taunt us before and after they leave our bodies.
I messaged a writing mentor when I found myself running in circles, wishing for time, time, more time! If only I had more time, I could finish my book. If only people would leave me alone, I could become an accomplished writer. It was everyone else’s fault.
At that time, I was feeling particularly under-accomplished. With only a small window of time to myself each afternoon, I found it hard to write. Between chores and to-do lists, even sitting down for a few minutes to eat and drink a glass of water felt like a luxury.
My new mentor swooped in to save me; I was a young chick under the wing of an experienced hen. Oh, how I envied her résumé, her publishing house, her royalty cheques.
Small. She said to start small but keep going. ‘Do what you can, when you can. Let that be enough during the busy seasons.’ In her eyes, she was once me. She was once frantic with tasks that kept her hands pushing, pulling, grabbing and moving endlessly. She recognised herself in the way I talked with starry eyes about my dreamy writing goals and plans. Essays, articles and short stories bloomed in my fertile mind.
She validated my dreams while also compassionately acknowledging the current circumstances keeping me tethered to the ground. She wasn’t wrong. I had a job to do. Writing had to slither temporarily from my dreams to the backseat. I cringed to let it go.
But she also gave me a gift.
In a few wise words, she gave me the freedom to write in small chunks of time she called ‘the cracks of the day’. She argued that I should pursue publishing with the same zest as ever. But in her patient voice, I heard a gentle reminder to stop running so hard on the treadmill and instead slow to a sustainable pace.
So I write. I submit. I live, and I dream.
About the Author
Kim Patton (www.kimpatton.com) is a wife and adoptive mama living in Georgia. She hosts the Book Therapy Podcast. Her second book, Nothing Wasted, will be released in 2023