Six months ago I was a bit lost as a writer, as a father and — to some extent — as myself. A book and Medium helped me find my writing and myself again.
Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s book “100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write” was a godsend.
Having spent more than a year trying to adjust to my new life as an at-home father while struggling to maintain freelance and part-time work, I thought I surely didn’t have the time to write. Then came the fellow stage scribe to my rescue.
Ruhl’s title and table of contents alone gave me hope. Her book compiles…well “100” essays on the most random assortment of topics — some are literally only a page long! The concept that these tiny musings became a real (and entertaining) book allowed me to lower my bar. And she did it while caring for her kids, plural. Surely I could write a 1–2-page piece on one topic (there’s always 2-3 in my brain at any given moment anyway).
At last, there was no unrealistic (and yes, autocorrect, no “unrealized”) goal I HAD TO strive for.
I didn’t have to fail miserably NaNoWriMo-ing or write non-stop for 25 minutes every day then again at night or finish three chapters by the end of the summer, or whatever other benchmarks I had in my fear-laden mind about what it meant to be a real writer.
So I had my non-goal impetus, and oh yeah, there was that writer site I signed up for/ wanted to look further into back when I was writer-stalking Chiara Atik (we’ve all done it).(Congrats on the writing + otherwise successes this year, girlfriend. More in 2016!)
Here it is: “Medium.” Ha! That’s actually my size in most clothing. (And there’s that awesome tweet someone quoted you on to your own face! — *When Harry Met Sally moment IRL *—about how you “don’t sell myself short...”)
Ooh, this Medium UX is super user-(and writer-)friendly. Oh nice, there’s an app! W00t: saves drafts too! Hmm, keeps stats… that may be dangerously deflating… Perfect, now I also had my (literal) Medium.
Taking stock this past week, I looked back at my year in writing and simply the fact that I had writing to look back on meant a lot to me.
I was also happy that I had started this Medium writing venture back in June, kept writing, shortly thereafter began my publication Bacon Eggs & Geek to showcase my work, kept writing, wrote a bunch of stuff outside of the pub, began showcasing other writers I’ve enjoyed on BE&G, kept writing, found a bunch of my posts taking a more personal tone, began a second publication, kept writing, submitted to Direct Mail (got published! and became an editor!?), kept writing, submitted to Made Up Words (was accepted! My submission — their first play to be featured!—is slated for January; go follow now!), submitted to Crossing Genres (a poem—accepted and published!), kept writing, turned a simple clever thought into my most read and recommended post (part of the #Posts from the Near Future meme), kept writing and most importantly: STILL #amwriting! [Post-script: Add on, of course, this very post getting onto The Lighthouse! Amazing.]
So by year’s end, I’m a writer on FOUR publications not including my own two! (And on things varying from plays to poems to prose to personal essays — not to mention the songwriting I did with my friend earlier in the year.) And look, up there after the comma in the first sentence of this paragraph, I wrote those amazing and elusive three words “I’m a writer,” and I did so without hesitation. (This may not be a big deal to anyone but me. Luckily, I am me.)
Speaking of this “me” guy: I have noticed a significant turn in my once highly-frustrated and prone-to-fits-of-irrational-anger demeanor back to the more laid-back and happy guy I always was. Maybe the month or so of therapy sessions I went to helped. I can’t say for certain they did. It never felt like more than just talking about whatever my therapist read in The Sunday Times.
I can say for certain, however, that the writing has helped. The “How?” I may not be able to pinpoint:
- Perhaps getting thoughts out of my head and “in writing” leaves more room to breathe up there?
- Maybe speaking to “readers” is my own form of at-home socializing?
- Might it be an escape or distraction that is more mind-replenishing than say… Level 1211 on Candy Crush?
- Or it could be that I finally feel some sense of purpose of my own (outside the obvious responsibilities to my wife and daughter)?
- And there’s always the chance it’s: e). all of the above?
Whatever it is, it’s making me enjoy my non-writing time all the more.
So a humble thank you to those who read this, who read or “Follow” me here (my “fanbase”) or even share me, those who respond or highlight, and especially those who ♡ recommend (it helps others see me!). You have provided me with an outlet of expression, a better sense of self, a social community neither too large or too small, a great fit, a… Medium.