Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What I Don't Do

Those who know me, know that I keep pretty busy. I work full time, am the mother of two, read and write, and carry on a full life of friendships and community activities. I frequently get asked, “How do you find time to write? I can’t believe all that you have written.” Every time I get asked that question, I feel like I have to defend myself. When do I write? Where do I find the time?

Of course, the short answer to the question is that I don’t write as much as people think I do. In fact, compared to people who actually publish their work, I write zilch. When was the last time you saw my novel on the shelf at Barnes and Noble? But I do read a bit and manage to squeeze out a blog post or two every week. I write letters and poems and participate actively in WWfaC.

With anything one chooses to do, one chooses to do that thing over other things. Even if we are not aware of it, we are constantly prioritizing. If I am reading or writing, I must not be doing dozens of other things. Here is a short list of what I don’t do:

  • I don’t iron. Hate ironing. Once, when I deigned to iron, my 10 year old son stared at the funny device in my hand and asked what it was. He had never seen an iron before.
  • I don’t clean. Between my husband and I we manage to load and unload the dishwasher, do laundry and take out the trash. Everything else I let go of or ask my housekeeper to do. She comes on Monday. If you come to my house on Sunday—you’ll understand.
  • I don’t have an elaborate morning routine. I shower and moisturize and get dressed. Makeup, hairstyling and accessorizing are for a different woman.
  • I don’t shop. Yes, I buy groceries and cook dinner, but I don’t go to the mall and I don’t shop for clothes. I don’t spend hours picking out greeting cards. I don’t go to hobby stores.
  • I don’t craft, sew or keep scrapbooks. I appreciate my friends who do those things. I sometimes dabble, but for the most part, my craft supplies and sewing machine collect dust.
  • I don’t watch TV. Well, I watch TV selectively, which means generally, first run shows that I am interested in. I usually follow two or three a season: the ones that rise to the top of the critics’ lists. I don’t let the TV run and watch all the time.
  • I don’t rake, mulch, mow, plant, prune, or shovel. That’s one of those things I would do if I had a yard conducive to gardening, but I live among the trees, so I let my husband and son do the little mowing we have. Everything else goes wild.
  • I order pizza a lot.
  • I don’t sleep a lot. Six hours is about as high as I go. Sometimes I can go as long as seven, but that is rare. I never nap.

So writing and reading are my priorities. I enjoy those activities. You might prefer having a clean house or an ironed skirt. When my kids go to bed and I have a free hour, I rarely scrub my kitchen floor. I would love to know what activities readers prioritize. What don’t you do in order to get your writing done?

--Amy for the PGM


  1. Man am I glad you wrote this!! Really helps put things into perspective about the choices we make because, afterall, everything is a choice. I'm just sorry you EVER feel like you have to defend writing and reading!

  2. what a lovely post and perspective! all the kids coming back to campus for the fall would benefit from this wisdom, i think.

  3. Thanks Amy. I would love to only need 6 hours of sleep a night. I admire your energy!

  4. I am so glad that you DO blog and write letters!