How do I love thee?

Me and my kitty muse.

Well, if writing is the kitten….you get the idea.

I love writing. I really, really, really, LOVE writing. So why do I go through these periods when writing can barely tolerate me?  There are always stories rattling around in my head and inappropriate but funny crap is bound to fall out of my mouth on a daily basis in conversation. The question then becomes, why can’t I string three words together when I sit down at my computer screen?


I have a co-worker whom I love to tease. He made the unfortunate mistake of blushing when I made a borderline inappropriate joke at his expense. He went home and brushed up on all his comebacks and I’ve never known a moment’s peace since. It’s become a challenge everyday in the lunchroom, who gets the last word because the other can’t get that rapier out quick enough. Today, he scored first blood by casually asking me what I was going to do without him around to harass next year.

I had nothing, not a single word came to my defense. He won. Hours later I hit on the perfect reply but it was too late. There is no new battle till Monday. In the midst of that chaotic lunchroom, he got the best of me in a match of wits.

The sad part is, I already knew he was planning a transfer, he had mentioned it weeks ago. I’d even thought about it a time or two, how terrible next year would be without him to joke with. A job I’ve tolerated because it’s a good job, turned into something I looked forward to because of friendship, but now I’m faced with the realization that it will be back to something tolerated very soon. That realization left me inarticulate today.


I know there are many authors who have written their best novels under onerous conditions, circumstances far worse than my own. Even so, in the past year I’ve come to realize that I need, space and quiet and room to let my voices talk to me, if I want to write.

I don’t like saying that out loud because the first thing I think is oh aren’t you the precious one. Poor little girl can’t write AND work, poor lazy thing. 


It’s my mom’s voice, I hear it in. Not that she ever said those exact words to me, but it’s heavily cloaked in her inability to sit still with her own thoughts. She never just sat in a chair and daydreamed, if she sat down without handwork in her lap, it was to nap, never to dream.


I grew up in a hardworking home. Only after the chores were done, the meals taken care of, the younger children put to bed, the showers taken and the pets and plants watered, the last dish washed, dried and put away, only then were we left to our dreaming. By that time of night, you fell into your bed and were unconscious in moments. I’ve realized that daydreaming is my stories lifeblood. I’ve come to understand that I need quiet places and undisturbed hours to tempt my characters out of their corners.


But here I am, counting down to bedtime on Sunday night because I’m back to work tomorrow morning. I’ve managed to string a couple of words together today, yay for me! I’d love to hear what you do, how do you balance writing and the work you get paid for? In the meantime, here’s to another week of being able to buy food!

0 thoughts on “How do I love thee?”

  1. I love writing and have penned/typed out two or three novel length manuscripts only to delete or shred them. I guess I am too afraid of being rejected by the reading public??

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. I think you’d be a fun writer to read! Isn’t that a lot of what the blog is? A public reading of your writings? Though I do understand the fear of rejection, of being deemed unworthy. I for one, honestly enjoy your writing.

  2. My muses don’t like it when there is another man around. A real one. Writing came to a complete halt for 6 months when Former Suitor showed up. Once his true colors came out, all of them started talking in my head again. It was quite noisy and very welcome.

    I’ve discovered it doesn’t necessarily need to be quiet, I just need to be in a place to listen. It took me 6 months to write a 14K Big Bang… but by the same token, I wrote Manna (365K) in 18 months. There were days that one poured out of me.

    And I know all about tolerable but good jobs. Hugs.

    1. I agree, the relationships are pretty detrimental to the writing. I’d dearly love to get back to the flow I had on watty in the early days.
      Ah, yes, the shared love/hate of everything elementary. Hugs for you too!

  3. Love this post, Carly! I share a similar struggle with needing extended periods of silence as I write. It isn’t always available and I feel a bit tense inside because I NEED my time for daydreaming, creating, and writing. I’ve found that when I have shorter periods, I bang out free-flow, brainstorming like drafts of thoughts I have floating around in my head with no concern for editing or structure. It requires a good “filing system” to keep these writings organized and accessible for future additions and edits. This seems to hold me over until I have larger blocks of time for a deeper dive and adding the polish. 🙂

    1. I need to get better at writing in short bursts. I get bogged down in saying exactly the right word or editing as I go. Thanks for sharing your technique and reminding me that free-flow really does have some serious advantages to the time challenged.

      1. When I”m writing and I KNOW the word isn’t right…. I put it in red so when I go back to finangle, editing, or whatnot, I can deal with it then. That way the writing itself doesn’t get bogged down.

  4. The struggle is real! I have learned to write in bed, in the car (while parked), waiting at the doctor’s or whatever appointment I’m in the middle of, and then in front of the computer while the dishes are stacking up and there’s laundry to be done (which reminds me, I have to throw that load into the dryer or my kiddo won’t have a shirt to wear in the morning!). If I don’t, I’d go stir crazy. And that wouldn’t be good thing at all, so people around me know that I need to let the words out, or else. Well, there is the option of a clean and tidy house, but what’s the fun in that? Seriously, I hope you find the time to write and get that next book out 🙂 Holler if you need anything!

    1. I need to get better at living in squalor. lol. My kids need to get better at fending for themselves. What I really need is a basement to hide in, haha!
      It does me good to watch your countdown, it fires up the writer in me.

          1. Me too! I remember how I felt when I finally read the book a few years ago after loving the movie all these years and hating Scarlet. (I can spell it right too, lol) Imagine my surprise when I read the book and found myself peering out from her eyes.

  5. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own.

    I don’t so much need constant silence (although I’d love that), but I do need serious predictability, and I now live with someone who is constantly throwing himself and everyone around him out of equilibrium (or allowing same and expecting us to cooperate — happened this morning). I have a lot of free time but I spend much of it restoring my own equilibrium. Sooooo frustrating. I sometimes think I would get more written at present if I worked full time just because it would predictable.

    1. Yes! The equilibrium!
      I have found myself fantasizing about space of my own, a little room filled with the things that inspire my writing. I also completely agree with a predictable schedule facilitating writing. I’ve gotten much better at sitting down and putting words on a page since school started back up. Though I still feel the need to complain about my gainful employment……

Leave a Reply