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 desperately wanted to share this post before I left the country (I like how that sounds; maybe I fled! I sound so exotic and mysterious!), but I couldn’t, for reasons which will soon become clear.
But first, let me remind you what I do for a living. I write. I write for my blogs, and for other people’s and company’s blogs, and I do copywriting, and sometimes I write for magazines, and sometimes I do articles for various other outlets, and my point, here, is not to brag or anything, but just to say: I am a writer, I write for a living, and I do lots of different kinds of writing just about every day. Also—okay, maybe this is a brag—I happen to think I’m pretty darn good at what I do, most of the time.
I also, it should be noted, don’t believe in writer’s block. (I can always write something, it just may not be very good.) And yet, a few weeks ago, I took on what may well have been the hardest assignment of my career. And I really, really struggled with it.
Back to me being out of the country—I’m currently on a cruise. (Through the magic of future-dating, I wrote this for you last week, and set it to publish today, while I’m gone.) The occasion for the cruise is a most excellent one, I think you’ll agree: My father turned 70 this year. And he decided that what he wanted to do most for his birthday was to gather up all the kids and grandkids and go on vacation together. There was some discussion of meeting at or near one of our houses—or finding a midway point somewhere to rent a house in a scenic location—but in the end it was decided that the all-inclusiveness and waited-on-hand-and-foot-ed-ness of a cruise was the way to go. (Hey, I’m not complaining.) So we’re off for a week in the Caribbean with family, some of whom we haven’t seen in years. To say we were a little excited about it all would be an understatement.
And when my stepmother called me up and asked me if I would mind “coming up with a few words” in my dad’s honor for dinner one night, I was really touched that she’d asked me. “You’re the writer in the family,” she said. “I know you’ll come up with something perfect.”
No pressure, of course. Heh.
So I did the logical thing, which is to say that I put it off as long as possible, and then a few weeks before the cruise I started trying to write this damn speech. Just, you know, trying to encapsulate 70 years of a man’s life and what he’s meant to us in a toast that could be completed before people’s food got cold. No pressure.
I wrote a little. I stared at the screen. I wrote some more. I stared into space. I erased half of what I wrote. I started over entirely. I gave up and went and did something else. I came back and wrote two sentences. Etc.
It was agony.
Because this had to be right. I had to manage to say the right things, hit the right notes, let my father know how much we love him, and—let’s not forget—I was picked for this because I’m the writer.
It was really hard. And when I finally finished, and finished revising, and was told by two different people that it was ready, I stopped working on it. And I still wasn’t entirely happy with the end result. So it’s possible that right now I’m on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, tweaking my speech because I just can’t let it be. It’s also possible that I’m going to give that speech to my father and he’s just going to love it because I wrote it, and he’s not nearly as harsh a critic as I am.
Please cross your fingers for that last one. Because my dad is pretty awesome, and I hope I can convey that.
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