Every day is different and not every day is a writing day. However, on a typical day I’m at 6am to make breakfast, get the kids ready for school, clean up the litter box, and replenish the cat food. Once the kids are often on their buses, I head for a run every other day. Running is a huge percentage of my writing process because it’s where my mind goes blank and I let ideas flow. Groceries, helping my sister with my niece, and laundry aside, I’ll get to writing sometime between lunch, library school homework, and before the kids come home. Generally though, I don’t have the time. It’s after the day is done and if I have the energy that I get down to giving my ideas form. Writing on a page will take a burst inspiration, an upcoming deadline, or a committed love for a project to really motivate me. I also am a literary editor for two publications, and write reviews for film and books for various publications, so that takes a bit of my time as well.
I once heard a woman lecture a single mother who has a day job that every writer is always writing. While this might be true in the sense that our daily thoughts often become part of what we put on the page, it is presumptuous for someone to think we all have the time to dedicate to writing. While writing is a means of living for some, it’s not a complete means. It’s also not a hobby for most. Writing is always a passion, but it can also sometimes be a privilege.
For many years I was a stay at home mother who had time while the kids were in school to write. I’m now juggling single mother duties, while trying to find a part-time job, and going to school so I can get a full-time job, and become independent one day. While I ache to create, it also hurts to give up the time to do it because I’d like to sleep, spend time with my kids, my boyfriend, and my family. I’ve had to cut back on activist/volunteer projects in the literary community because it is free emotional and writing labour I should be dedicating to creating. There’s a mental capacity that people don’t generally talk about as writers and I think we should start there. That not every writer is ready to write and not every one can afford to dedicate their head to it. I’m happiest when I can write and feel the most productive when I’ve done what needs to get to done to progress in both my every day in my writing day. We’re all just trying to create AND get by.
Thus, my writing day depends if my head is on right, if I’m dedicated to the project (whether out of a passion for it, or if it is paid work). Let’s not fail to mention that as a hermit, I spend a lot of time on the internet networking and socializing, a habit which I have had to cut back on due to a love for a life project which happens to actually be my life.
Jacqueline Valencia lives and writes in Toronto. Her latest poetry collection is There Is No Escape Out Of Time (Insomniac Press, 2016). She’s a literary editor for The Rusty Toque and manygenderedmothers, and is a regular contributor to Broken Pencil Magazine, Spiral Nature Magazine, and Next Projection.