A different kind of hard

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This post has been difficult to write. Creatively, I'm in the place where half-finished stories are swirling around in my head. They feel too unprocessed, too personal, too not ready to be published. There's an immediacy to blogging that makes me feel rushed and panicky sometimes, like I'm being pushed onto the stage without practicing my lines.  

Readers don't impose this pressure I feel. And this isn't about blogging really. It's about how it's difficult for me to respect that space, that in-between, that place where important things are taking shape (and taking forever). I want to be in the flow all the time, to live in the space where I'm inspired and prolific. 

Take your time.  

That's what author Kate Hopper advises in her book, Use Your Words. She goes on to write: 

Sometimes, writing feels like trudging through the mud. But let it be hard. Give yourself time to muck around in the mud, to explore and write, and explore some more in an effort to discover the true story in your writing.  

What's interesting to me is how I'm willing to show up for this kind of hard. How, even though I don't really like walking in mud, I'm not running away from it either. The mud does, indeed, feel necessary. I'm willing to do this work, and I want to do this work.

And eventually, a door opens.  For me, it opened last night, when Dillon asked me to help him think of something to write about in his journal. 

"Well, I usually write about things that have happened to me during the day, and what I think about those things," I said. Then, I took a mental note. I said to myself, "Self, do you hear yourself?"

Sometimes things feel hard until suddenly, they don't feel hard at all. 

Dillon picked up his pencil and started writing something about Star Wars, and shortly after that, Jody emailed the proofs from a Mother's Day photo shoot we did this past weekend. The weather had been unseasonably terrible for Charleston (misty rain and kind of chilly). Around here, we only get a few weeks of spring before we are blasted by summer, so we have extremely high expectations for the month of May. We almost canceled the photo shoot, but then, we decided to go for it. 

The photo shoot felt hard. The kids were crazy. Cate kept walking off the set. My hair was blowing all over the place. And yet, these photos look effortless.  

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But it wasn't effortless. It was work. Jody has put in a lot of time to get to this place professionally--where she makes it look easy--and on Saturday she was literally mucking through the mud. (And the real reason we are barefoot? Because we forgot to bring Cate's shoes, so it was a show of solidarity.)

So anyway, this was not the post I intended to write. The one I've been laboring over for two weeks! is still sitting in my drafts folder. It may never see the light of my blog's home page. But it took mucking through that mud to get here, to a place where I feel more open to  "write about things that happen to me during the day, and what I think about those things," a place where I can celebrate the opportunity to be a writer and be a mom, and a place where I can appreciate this different, and this very good, kind of hard. 

Friday, I'll have another podcast... this time with the woman behind the lens of this photo shoot. Jody's honesty about what led her to change careers and take her professional life in a new direction is "a must hear"  for anyone who's ever considered doing the same thing.