I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because there are things bouncing around in my brain (bits of work ephemera mostly); because my legs are twitchy because I haven’t been to the gym in two days and apparently walking a couple of miles after work with the dog and elsewhere isn’t enough to keep my pesky calf muscles entertained; because I know that my weekend might not be my own — chores and other things will pull me in various directions — and therefore I might not get to write as much as I would like. Or maybe even at all.
The calves, well, I could stretch some and they would probably stop being twitchy. And the work bits, they will go away if I read a good book. It’s that last one, really, that’s keeping me awake.
I have thought recently of just giving up on writing. I mean giving up on the writing that I have to cram into the slivers of time before or after work or on the weekends. That would be the writing I see as my writing, as opposed to work-related writing. Seriously, I’ve thought of giving up on it because I’m tired. It is truly enticing… My life would be calmer, more relaxing, simpler, less insomnia-provoking… if I just didn’t keep pushing myself to write write write when I could be lying on the couch reading a book, or sleeping in, or, well, any number of things. It’s just difficult, and something that provokes anxiety: will I get to write, or not? There is a part of me that’s tired of my own expectations. At this point the expectations are not high: Just write something, anything. There’s another part of me that’s tired, too, of feeling guilty when I’m not writing, even though I know for my own sanity and for the good of household relationships, I need to not shut myself in my office with a laptop all the time.
Tonight Billy and I were discussing this. Or, well, I was thinking out loud about how I could possibly make this work, and I was telling him about all the other people I know, or know of, who cram writing into the time outside of the 9 to 5, because they have to. Writing comes in addition to work and anything else they have to or want to do. We discussed the options: whether it was feasible for me to get up early a couple of times a week to write, or if I should take one night a week as my Writing Night. Neither of these feels right, but these are the options, it seems.
Billy said something about how after work, he just wants to relax and not worry about rushing around to try and accomplish something else. And I said, “That’s because your work is your passion, and for many people, their passion is outside of their work.” (This is true, about him. He has other passions, but he likes his job and it seems to drive him.)
In any case it doesn’t matter what you call it, passion, work, hobby, whatever. If you are driven to do something, you’re driven to do it, whether it’s work or writing (or whatever kind of art) or taking care of your kids or maintaining a pet dog who — ahem — insists upon eating your catalogs.
The point is, I suspect it’s not optional, making room for those things you’re driven to do, or passionate about. If it were, I wouldn’t be up at 1 am trying to write myself to sleep. Giving up, while it may seem alluring for a moment, is impossible.