If you’ve read the blog over the last few weeks, you’ll see that I’ve decided to put out my writing. To get your thoughts about it, but also to challenge myself a lot.
Why? My life has changed completely since I first started writing years ago. I got married and had two girls. Those are the biggest changes that happened in my life.
When I got married, I had the time and energy to continue writing. Once I had my children, my focus changed.
Of course, there will be people who say I should have focused on my writing for me(!), but children–especially when they are young–take up a lot of your time and your energy. It’s not that you don’t want to move forward with your dreams and goals, you sometimes just don’t have it in you.
My oldest is now five years old and the baby is a year and a half. And I finally feel like I can carve out a little time for myself. Not every day, mind you, but sometimes.
Today, I was able to carve out time for some professional development and attend the Ontario Arts Council‘s Fuel For Fire: Professional Development for Writers of Colour event at the Toronto Reference Library. And you know what? I am so happy that I found the time and the energy to roll my carcass out of my bed at 6:30 am and head downtown to this conference.
There were sessions on writing and editing, publishing, grants, and networking. There were people who are published authors, emerging writers, poets, screenwriters in attendance–a cornucopia of thoughts, ideas, and information. Lots of information.
I am tired, overwhelmed, and excited that there is a community of creative writers of colour, racialized people who have experienced some of the same experiences I have. Some who have broken through barriers and glass ceilings, and some who continue struggle to have their writing accepted for what it is.
It was pretty damned cool.
A couple of things stayed with me, but one thing truly resonated with me. Jael Richardson who is a published author and the artistic director of the Festival of Literary Diversity spoke of finding balance as a parent, a writer, someone with a full-time job and how that balance will look different depending on what season of life you’re in.
Last year was a really tough one for me. My dad was sick and he passed away in June 2016, I had a young baby and a preschooler on my hands, we moved into a new house, I was going back to work at a corporate job that I still wonder is the right fit, but above all, my focus was on my family. I had absolutely no inclination to write a word or to think about publishing something. And I’ve beat myself up about that.
Why didn’t I keep up with my writing? Why didn’t I keep going? Why didn’t I continue to follow my dreams?
When did I become that woman? Who is running to soccer practice, doing crafts, and planning kids’ parties–although I enjoy the party and event planning…and crafts. I love crafts!
Seriously, I felt guilty. But the guilt I felt was unnecessary, but I had to re-focus during a really stressful, busy period of my life and there can’t be any shame in that. The shame would have been to ignore my father in the last months of his life because I had to write or to not spend time with my children because I had to write.
I’m re-balancing my life and writing can now take up a larger part of my life. And I can get back to it.
Tonight, I was going to break open my new set of essential oils to deal with the scalp issues that I’ve been fighting since birth, and regale you with a tale about my latest scalp concoction, but children need to be put to bed.
So, that will just have to wait until tomorrow.