Some of you may have heard something about a newsletter, and even an eBook, that I’m publishing called something like “Writing Isn’t Sexy.”
The newsletter (its header is above), is a monthly item that arrives in your inbox. The eBook short, published by my publisher, is free free free and comes out TODAY. Its title, creatively, is Writing Isn’t Sexy: A Manifesto for Independent Thinkers.
Those who have been reading my work for a while, especially the Freelance Academics out there, know how much I love writing manifestos.
I wanted to take a minute to explain to my regular readers what Writing Isn’t Sexy (WIS) has to do with them, since it might seem that I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent.
I have two children, but there were times in my life when I wasn’t certain that I would make the choice to become a mother. I didn’t know that Mother’s Day would be a special day for me. Kids were a 50/50 thing.
I opened my Twitter feed this morning, and it was filled with delightful Mother’s Day wishes. I’m glad folks are celebrating Mother’s Day there, and everywhere.
But right here, I want to celebrate the others.
I want to celebrate my friend who was a mother for 18 years until the day, just a few years ago, when her only son died. And now, when people ask her if she has children, she wants to run away rather than have that uncomfortable conversation one more time. (She will always be a mother. You raise a toddler, and then a teenager, in my book you will always be a mother.) Today is a tough day for her.
I want to celebrate my friend who suffered infertility. She spent ten years trying to get pregnant, from age 33 until age 43, and never could, via every scientific advancement possible. Her body took a beating for her dream of becoming a mother, and it was worth the effort to try. But in the end, today is just another day for her.
I want to celebrate my friend who has chosen to not have children for many different reasons—for yes there are many—and yes of course she lives a fulfilling full life and is delighted with her choice. And yet she has to defend it every now and then, and sometimes every day, and that defending gets really old. Today is an annoying day for her because, for all of those people who say she will “regret” her choice, this is their smuggest day. Happy Other’s Day, you.
Last month I was fretting because I published very little. This month I averaged two pieces per week, which frankly made my head spin, especially since I spent one of those weeks on a writing retreat at a place with dodgy internet.
Due to the number of pieces to discuss, this month’s Writing Roundup is going to be pithy.* Without further introduction:
This past week, I retreated up to an artist’s center in the N.C. mountains to get some writing done. This is a practice my mother refers to as a “taking a vacation.”
But it wasn’t a vacation, not in the sense that she means.
Those of us who write (or do other creative work that requires focus) for a living might have a hard time explaining to people who don’t why it is important to get away—to retreat—every once in a while to get some work done. After all, can’t you just write anyplace?
Answer: It’s complicated.
I retreated to a place that had internet for maybe two hours a day. It had, and I am not kidding, NO CELL RECEPTION for my carrier. (I heard rumors that one certain carrier had okay reception. Harrumph.) The retreat prepared three good meals a day and rang a bell to remind you to come eat them in a dining hall. (With white table cloths! Also, I forget to eat sometimes so I really liked the bell.) There were so few cars that they just let their chickens run around free.
I would write from 6:30am until 11pm and then collapse into my bed and do it again the next day. IT WAS AWESOME. It was a privilege, an amazing gift, something that most of us rarely, if ever, will get to do. So why do it?