Group member Lisa is a colleague of mine in the MCC English Department and my office-mate on campus. In addition to being an excellent tea-drinking pal, Lisa co-advises the campus creative writing club with me, she is a fellow super-fan of The Walking Dead, and she’s a talented writer and has been published in The Florida Review, Black Warrior Review, and Mid-American Review.
When Lisa isn’t teaching, raising her three smart and gorgeous kids, or watching The Walking Dead, she’s finding “micro-moments” to write. Here’s how she does it.
This is a guest post from Lisa Crizer, a member of this summer’s Online Writing Group:
I grew up in a loud family, to say the least. We discussed everything, and to the outsider I’m sure our conversations seemed like complete chaos. We watched a lot of TV, too. I’m completely comfortable with the dull background hum of daytime programming.
I like my surroundings loud and lively. I treasure the laughter and giggles that usually fill our rooms. I’m even learning to decipher the screams and squeals of the ever more frequent arguments between my girls. We are living life, with all of its sticky hands, mosquito bites, and nerve-sizzling mayhem.
Lately, however, days filled with hours of swimming and running around in the sun have led to late summer bedtimes. I love seeing my kids passed out in the corner of the couch, faces dirty from a day of fun. But, these later bedtimes have a sinister side effect — less time for me.
Our oldest daughter used to put herself to bed at 7:30. She still does. For years, my husband and I were spoiled with three hours each night all to ourselves. We were time-rich fools binge watching series on Netflix, having adult conversation, and doing crazy things like going to Target alone. Two children later and we are in a completely different boat; a completely different rickety old canoe in a deep, tumultuous ocean of constant companionship.
I never dreamt I’d seek out quiet; envy people dining alone at a restaurant, walking solo on the bike trail, or even just driving alone in their car listening to the radio. This summer has reminded me how important it is, as a writer, to have some solitude; time to think, make up scenarios, plan out conversations, flesh out characters.
So, what can I do? How can I rediscover this time and allow my mind to wander?
I wish I knew. I wish I had some great, disciplined plan where I would wake up every day a few hours before the kids and write. But, I don’t.
What I do have are “micro-moments”. Those precious instances where the TV is off, or the kids fall asleep in the car and I can finally turn off the Care Bears DVD. Or, the afternoon I’d been looking forward to for years, when I took my oldest to the bookstore and she read while I worked.
These “micro-moments” are hard to plan, and sometimes even hard to recognize. But right now they’re all I’ve got and I’m working hard not to waste them scrolling through my Facebook feed. If I can learn to appreciate these bits of calm, and string together all of these tiny specks of quiet time, I might just be able to get lost again once in a while.
We can all find these moments — we just have to look for them. Thanks, Lisa, for the reminder!