Writing Toward Freedom
August 9, 2017 § 21 Comments
By Varda Meyers Epstein
For years I struggled to put pen to paper. How to say what was so perfect in my heart and mind? I’d write it this way and that. But it would be no good.
Then the baby would cry and I’d put the writing aside. I’d tell myself that time was the problem; my excuse for not writing. Because time wasn’t something I was going to have with a baby at home. I’d traded my time, my words, for motherhood.
That’s what I told myself when the words wouldn’t come. And I waited for time. Enough time to write.
When I thought about having time to write I imagined this clean white space: a block of time large enough for that creative spark to take hold. The one that would light a fire under my inner writer. But I both yearned for and feared time. Because sometimes I told myself the truth: that time was my excuse. That I didn’t really know if I could write.
And then time arrived. My youngest turned six and started school. With almost no warning, suddenly there were blocks of time, scads of time. Time to think. Time to write.
I had only to begin.
I stared at the white space on the screen. A space large enough for words to form. A blinking cursor showing me where to begin.
I tapped a key and a letter appeared on the screen, in the center of that wide open white field. I let out a breath I hadn’t known I’d been holding in. Here it was: time to be a writer.
There were no more excuses. Just me and enough time and the words.
It was time to get to work.
And so I typed another letter and soon there was a word staring at me there on the screen.
It was both easier and harder than I’d thought it would be. Easier because I had a lot to say after all those years of excuses. Harder because of that second voice, in addition to the one that liked to blame time.
The second voice was the one that said I was the problem. That I didn’t have it in me to be a writer, that if I kept having babies, I wouldn’t have to prove myself as a writer. That I could keep on blaming time.
It was tempting to give in to that voice. It was frightening to be sitting here typing on a keyboard after years of not knowing whether I was good enough. But I’d learned from having babies that life is about letting go, about getting free from the fear that keeps us from taking that first step.
And so I took a deep breath and typed some more, knowing that with each word I was setting myself free. Free from self-doubt and fear. And that getting free was the main reason I was sitting here in front of a keyboard.
Putting in the time.
Varda Meyers Epstein is a mother of 12 children and a parenting expert and writer at the Kars4Kids Educational Blog for Parents. Her work has been published in Kveller, Tablet, and the Washington Post. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.