with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I’ve been doing a lot of baking recently. And while I don’t intend it to be a form of self-torture, it really kind of is, because I’m on my first serious diet in… well, ever. So I’m baking, but not eating. And I’ll pull a couple of loaves of bread out of the oven and think, “Okay, now I’m done for a while.” But then a few hours later I’ll find myself staring at a new recipe and thinking, “Well… I could just go ahead and whip this one up, too, and throw it in the freezer! For later! For when I don’t have time to bake!”
The thing is, I don’t have time to bake now. Because I’m working on something, and I should be working, not baking.
Here’s something I believe without reservation: There is no such thing as writer’s block. I don’t believe that it exists. I have never not been able to write; often what I write is complete crap, but I write it. I push through. Later I go back and weed through the crap and make it into something better. But it’s not like I can’t write. On the other hand… after I reach a certain number of words that make me want to stab myself in the eyes repeatedly, I know it’s time to start baking.
Did I mention that I’ve been doing a lot of baking? I think I did. Would you like a fresh slice of bread? It’s delicious! At least, I think it is. I haven’t had any.
What? No, I’m not banging my head on the desk. I just, uh, was looking for something. And then my forehead was itchy. And I was tired, so I thought I’d just put my head down. Don’t mind me.
On the days when my words seem unwieldy, I strip off my wedding ring and my watch and bury my hands in dough, instead. I let the rhythmic push-turn-fold of kneading hypnotize me for a while. I manipulate the ingredients and they turn into exactly what I intended: A finished, perfect product. I follow the prescribed steps, and the end result is predictable and reliable. That’s soothing to me.
A few years ago I decided to take the leap into freelance writing and really make my living this way. It was terrifying. Beyond terrifying. Let me put it another way: I did a lot of baking. And then I found my way, carved out a familiar groove, and it’s been going remarkably well, ever since.
Now I’m stepping out of my comfort zone into new work, stuff that’s different than what’s become my bread-and-butter (ha! bread and butter! because of the baking, see, that’s funny!), and for the first time in a long time I feel unsure, again, and clumsy and thick-tongued and inexperienced. I wonder why I ever thought I could do this. I plot out entire conversations in my head where I confess to being simply unable to perform these new tasks, where I admit that I’m simply not capable, where I apologize.
Then I go bake some more bread.
And then I come back to my desk. And sit down. And take a deep breath.
And I write.
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