All the Balls

I’ve been a bad writer. Any of you who have taken on writing know that sometimes it just doesn’t happen. The words go away, and your computer screen or blank page seems to mock you. In my case, it’s never for a lack of ideas, it’s not writer’s block in the traditional sense. I literally block myself, stepping into the path of my own writing and grinding it to a halt.

Until I’m clear on why I do this, I’m not sure how to break this cycle. My momentum will be going strong and then, bam! Something happens and I derail myself. In this case it’s been months away from the page, as evidenced by my disappearance here.

My issues with writing are attached to value, guilt, worth. All ugly stuff really, and the kind of stuff that I speak so passionately against where everyone else is concerned. Why are we all so bad at following our own great advice?

Life without writing isn’t awful. I have enough meaningful work, volunteer gigs, beautiful moments with friends and family to keep my days filled with good feelings and a sense of purpose. Life without writing does feel a lot like the difference between eating well and laying into foods that just don’t agree with you. Or skipping vitamins for too long. Something wasn’t working quite right underneath all of the good stuff. Something felt off.

So, on Monday I dusted off my novel and got back to re-writes. I entered a contest. I decided I’d do NANWRIMO (national novel writing month) and write a Christmas present for my daughters. Can you hear my writer’s knuckles cracking?

I’d like to say that I motivated myself. That the feeling of not writing was worse than the struggle and uncertainty of a daily practice. I’d love to tell you that I gave myself a pep talk and decided my passion for words and stories was worth the time investment, even if I never made a living off my writing. I’d be thrilled to say that I’ve decided to take myself more seriously as an artist. But those would all be lies.

Last week my four-year-old son came home from junior kindergarten with a package. It contained a very simple book about colored balls. We sat on the couch and he read each page to me, clear and sure, and my heart exploded out of my chest. It was the first book he’s ever read to me.

I remembered how as a child, books saved me from loneliness and filled my soul to the brim with possibility. I saw his own potential for reading his way through endless adventures open up right there in our cozy living room. I felt an ache so deep and strong pushing me to make sure my kids get to read one of my books someday. A book that I’ve written.

“This is me in all the balls.” That was the last line of the book my son was reading. I may have to juggle a whole bunch of them, but I can’t drop this one again because it’s just too important.

The Writing Process

Oh how I love to hear from you guys, and get a chance to lend a helping hand! Today’s post is an answer to this reader’s question about the writing process:

the writing process

First off I want to say superb blog!
I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Many thanks!   – Sally

Here’s my answer, via YouTube. The writing process is totally unique to each writer, and many of us have all kinds of rituals and OCD habits that we need to indulge before we can get our creative juices flowing.

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer about writing, relationships, sex, parenting, or anything else you can find me at cat@catskinner.club. I promise to always protect your anonymity, and if I use your question as a post, I’ll be sure to send you a token of my gratitude!

Kisses on your nose,

cat skinner

Ask Mommy: The Writing Process

Today’s post is an answer to this reader’s question about the writing process:

First off I want to say superb blog!
I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Many thanks!   – Sally

Here’s my answer, via YouTube. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer about writing, relationships, sex, parenting, or anything else you can find me at askmommy@playboymommy.com