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Ten Minutes to Fulfilling Your Writing Dreams

by nhwn

{Guest post from Beth Bader}

I left my dream of writing idle for years when I had the time to pursue it. The longer I waited to try, the easier it was to bury myself in the pursuit of making a living. Sometimes you have to completely lose yourself before you find out what parts of you matter most. That lowest point occurred, ironically, at what was also the happiest moment of my life — becoming a mom.

My little girl had acid reflux. For her it meant a lot of pain, especially when lying down to sleep. For me, it meant not sleeping for more than an hour at a time for months on end. After four months of sleep deprivation and daily hours of consoling an infant in pain wore on me, I slipped into post-partum depression and total exhaustion.

When -taking a shower still seemed like a big accomplishment, I had to go back to a demanding, full time job. There were mornings when I caught myself falling asleep while driving. Everything felt murky and distant. I lived in a constant state of robotically attending to everyone else’s needs. Work. Child. Cook. Clean. Repeat.

About this time, my mentor at work said to me, “J.K. Rowling wrote her first books while she was an unemployed single mom with two kids, sometimes she only had ten minutes a day. What’s your excuse?” He challenged me. In his defiant, gruff way my friend gave me a loving kick in the ass to start my way back through the long tunnel of post-partum.

“Restart my crushed dream of writing now?” I thought. I contemplated my file drawer full of rejection letters. Then I thought about the pieces that I had published and how good those felt. “But if not now, Beth, then when? Never?”

I found my ten minutes while I was up in the middle of the night. At first, I wrote for myself. I gave myself written permission to be tired and imperfect, gave myself the caring words I needed to hear. I wrote about the immense love I felt for my child. I wrote to just process all I had experienced. Then, I picked up the pieces of the food blog I had begun while attending culinary school. Cooking was something I had to do. It wasn’t work. It wasn’t baby. Food was a creative space I could call my own.

Blogging let me write in short bursts. As a social medium, it also meant a community of sorts – even at 2 a.m. It became a social lifeline as well as my creative outlet. Over a few years, the posts and recipes added up along with online friendships. I was doing what I loved to do. One day, a blogger I had shared recipes and comments with emailed me. “We should write a book,” she said.

We worked on an outline and then a proposal. Months later, the book contract arrived. Somehow, through this near stranger, and through my blogging ten minutes at a time, a dream I’d had for over thirty years, was realized. Not that the book writing was easy. At times, only sheer will helped me give up the hours of sleep to care for this new “baby” too, and the eighteen months of labor to get it published. But I loved every minute.

These days, when I feel powerless at work, or failing at being the best mom ever, adrift in a sea of obligations and to-do lists, or when I let myself feel the gaping hole in my heart where the second child I wished for did not happen, I hold on tight to the dream I am pursuing. I think about taking some online writing classes, about taking my passion to the next level. I never think about giving up. Not ever again.

So, let me pay this forward: You’ve got ten minutes in a day. What’s your excuse?

About the author: Beth Bader, the co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club: Recipes and Advice for Getting Real Kids to Love Real Food has been a photojournalist, writer, and shark wrangler. As much activist as cook, she is, most of all, a mom determined to make the world a better place for her child, one meal at a time. She is a food blogger at Expatriate’s Kitchen expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com and contributes to EatLocalChallenge.com and EatDrinkBetter.com. She is currently working on ideas for her next book.

Image Credit: hisham_hm

nhwn | March 13, 2012 at 6:14 am | Categories: Blogging, Getting Published, Inspiration, Mentoring, motivation, Productivity, Setting Writing Goals, The Craft of Writing, Writer’s Toolbox, Writing | URL: http://wp.me/pUTUc-164

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