Ann Dee: On Being a Writer

Hello Everyone. Today my son flattened my laptop. So now it’s like a beach chair that goes all the way back–perfect.

I also want to say that there are things that we have to do over and over again. Have you noticed that? Like the laundry.


And over.

Or sweeping.


And over.

Or showering.


And over.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot as the snow falls on dreary February days and I find myself once again, hauling all my kitchen utensils that were thrown down the stairs back up to the kitchen (what? this not normal in your house? weird).

We have big things. We have things we celebrate. We have occasions. But for the most part, life is over and over again. Many of these things we all do. Essentials like going to the bathroom, eating, etc. Other things are almost essential. Showering. Sweeping. Etc. And then there are things that we choose to make a part of our life. You get where I’m going with this but let me say something first.

I try to stay on top of things. I’ll get it all together and make some kind of goal. I will put everything away after the kids go to bed. I will not let dishes go over night. I will fold the clothes as I pull them out of the dryer.

I make these goals and things go well, for awhile. Then one day I get tired. Or I get lazy. Or I get busy and I toss the laundry into the basket (or on top of the dryer or on top of our bed like the one (maybe two) times Cam and I had a clean clothes bed for awhile) to be folded later. Ha ha ha later. If I let things go, if I get myself out of the habit, the laundry becomes this daunting task that is scary and embarrassing and goes untouched for days, weeks, months.

So back to the things we (I) choose to be a part of our lives. Writing. I know some people say they can’t breathe without it. They MUST write. I’m not like that. I like to write. I feel happy when I write. It’s good to write. But I can breathe quite well without it. In fact, I can have a perfectly fulfilling life without writing for the most part. I know that about myself. I do love it. But I also love a lot of other things.

I have learned then, that writing is a choice. Just like anything else.Β  I think what makes someone a writer is not whether they’ve published, not whether someone likes (or dislikes) what they’ve written, not if they have a lot of buzz on the internet, what makes a writer is if they write.




If they choose to make it a part of their life.

I used to say that I wrote in spurts. That whole Write Every Day thing was blah blah for me. I liked to take a week and just get it out. I used to say that. And it’s true. I do better when I have a week to get it out.

I don’t have a week. I barely have an hour.

So I’ve had to make decisions. Is this something I want? Do I want to be a writer? Am I a writer? And the only true question to that question is, do I write? Do I want to make space in my life to write?

Sometimes the answer is no.

But most the time the answer is yes.

If the answer is yes, I need to make it an over and over again thing. I have to. Because like the laundry, I have found that if I let it go, if I let it pile up in a basket, it becomes daunting. A horrible task that I don’t want to face. But if I make it a daily thing, just fold it as it comes out. Just put it away RIGHT THEN, if I do that, I get something done. I don’t have to wade through clean clothes and let the dirty ones pile up. If I keep my head in the writing mode a little at a time, day after day after day, I can be a writer.

Even with a flattened laptop.


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20 responses to “Ann Dee: On Being a Writer

  1. A very cool analogy, thanks. And thanks for recogizing that writer are writers published or not. And it is a choice. And sorry about that laptop.

  2. As a painter and a writer I’ve always felt like God forgot to put a chip in my brain, the “I have to draw/paint/write all the time” chip that most creative people seem to have. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has to sometimes force myself to get going. It’s true though–once you start it’s great and then you wonder why it took you so long to start in the first place.

  3. Melanie

    Oh so true! Over…and over…and over. Thanks for writing this one. It was just what I needed to read this morning.

  4. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with finding time to write every day. As a single mom who works full time, I try to write when my kids have gone to bed. But that’s also the only time I have to do laundry, sweep the kitchen floor, and all the other “essentials” you talked about. I admit, my clean laundry rarely makes it out of the laundry basket, and please don’t peer closely at my kitchen floor!

  5. Amen. I’m breathing just fine, thank you. And writing a little.

  6. My laptop empathizes with your laptop. I’m sure they could swap stories.

    Here’s what I’ve come to understand. The things that are good for us are NOT addictive. We have to make a choice everyday.

    BTW, I’m so impressed that you don’t let dishes stay overnight. Mine are regular slumber party attenders. I get to a certain point in the evening where I clock out. How do I change that?

    And p.s. toys are over-rated. Kitchen utensils are where it’s at.

  7. 9am to 10am is my golden hour. I am always thinking the zen proverb, “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” So before enlightenment; get everyone to school, after, get everything else done.

    Also, my washer broke a month ago so I have four contractor cleanup bags of laundry in my garage. It all needs to be cleaned or donated. I’m still debating.

  8. Amy

    Great quote Neil!

    Ann Dee, as usual, wonderful post. You so get what I am feeling as a mom. Sometimes it’s groundhog day for weeks…

    Carol…I emailed you πŸ™‚


  9. Carol

    I think one of the reasons why writers always tell writers to write every day is because there are lots and lots and lots of times when we don’t write.

    Do I have to write? Yes, sometimes. When the idea is fresh and I am at the beginning of a novel. Or nearing the climax and can see the end in sight.

    Do I go days without writing? Yes, lots. Especially when I am in the icky part of a book (read that middle).

    Do I always have ideas in my head? Yes.

    Are characters talking to me, screaming to get out? No.

    I go back to my first paragraph (that is error free at the moment). We encourage writers to write every day because good, strong, beautiful, well-plotted novels are tough to write. They are not for the faint o’ heart, but for the gutsy (crazy) person who believes s/he can succeed making that story live. Even after s/he begins the task of putting words to the paper.

    PS Amy–I am going to email you today. πŸ™‚

  10. Rachel

    Thanks Ann Dee. I write Monday thru Friday when my son naps. My goal is a solid hour of writing every day. For me if I don’t write one day, it’s that much easier to make excuses and excuses, just like if you’re late to a class once, then it’s that much easier to be more lenient the next time.

    I also like how you point out that writing is a CHOICE. A while back I was whining to my husband about how writing is hard. He said, ‘Is it just a fad? You can stop whenever you want to.’ And as he said that, I felt this gut wrenching feeling, that no, it wasn’t a fad and yes, I was going to stick with it. It’s a choice and luckily there are days that are successful and joyous along with the nitty gritty hard days.

    • About six months ago my son decided he was not going to nap. Ever. My one year old goes down every day. My three year old does not. So so so so so very sad. And quiet time? Forget about it. Again. Sad.

  11. Louise Plummer

    I remember Leslie Norris saying that he didn’t write all that often–only when he needed new tires or some appliance. I loved him for that.


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