A Year Later: The Point

For those of you who’ve been reading from the beginning, sorry for the repeats.  Between work and writing and wrestling with my very wiggly one-year-old, I haven’t had much (okay, any) time to blog.  So I’m reposting some old favorites.  This one in particular makes me smile.

“Would you tell me which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get,” said the Cat.
“I really don’t care where,” replied Alice.
“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
- Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

Something disconcerting happened yesterday. A friend of mine — a non-mommy — mentioned that she’d been reading my blog and really enjoying it.  I smiled, opened my mouth to thank her.  She wasn’t finished.

“So… what’s the point of it?”

I looked at her, trying to decide if perhaps this was a rhetorical question, designed to encourage me to ponder the deeper meaning of this project. But no. She was genuinely asking.

I adjusted my smile.  Refrained from telling her to go read the “Because” page and get back to me. Formulated my response. “Embrace the Detour is an experiment in creativity and productivity,” I said. “An attempt to make what I’ve been told will be one of the most challenging periods of my life into one of the most creative and productive.”

My friend nodded politely.  Knowingly.  ”So, it’s a mommy blog.”

No question mark.  Not a question.  A label.

No.

I shook my head.  Kept shaking it.  No, that’s not right at all.

Not because there’s anything wrong with mommy blogs. I love mommy blogs.  I’m just not the right mommy for that job.

“I’m writing a novel in 12 weeks. That’s the point. It’s not about motherhood. It’s about detours – you know, things that take you off your life path. Motherhood just happens to be my detour.  And instead of taking time off, or putting my aspirations on hold, I’m going to escalate my progress.  Intensify my effort.  Use the detour as an impetus for doing instead of an excuse for waiting.”

The words just tumbled out — hurried, slightly frantic, wholly unadulterated. And yet, exactly right.  The heart of this project. Its raison d’etre.  Not motherhood, but my fear that its demands will bleed me dry.  That Life with a Newborn will zap my creativity and passion and motivation.  Embrace the Detour is my preventative measure.

My friend smiled. “I like that,” she said.

I smiled back.

I do, too.

This project has a point.   It has a purpose.  I don’t want to lose sight of that.   I can’t lose sight of that, not if I actually want to accomplish my goal.  (And I do. I so do).

Which is why I will soon be posting my 12-week game plan.   A week-by-week schedule of benchmarks to keep me on target.  I invite you to track my progress (and to verbally kick my ass if I fall behind).  I’ll tell you right now that I have no idea what this game plan will look like, because I’ve never created one before. Everything else I’ve written I’ve just… written.  Not effortlessly.  But predictably.

Truth is, I’m usually pretty good at being creative.  Even better at being productive.  In the comfortable silence of my office, alone in the house, with very few no competing demands on my time.

Ah, yes.

Need. Game plan. Now.

And since I’ve now crossed that 39 week mark, I better get crackin.’

Wish me luck.

(Dear Lil Mil, I am very excited to meet you.  But if you could just hold off your arrival until after I’ve completed this game plan of mine, I would be much obliged.)

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