Last week I announced to my friends on Facebook that I was going to write a blog for parents of children with autism. I announced this to force myself to Do The Thing. Public accountability was required for I am a fabulous starter and a terrible finisher. I have so many good ideas that never happen or are quickly dropped because I lose motivation, I lose momentum, I suffer a severe mood swing or I become ill, or any number of other weak reasons that cause the latest enterprise to slow and shudder to a halt. By the time the motivation is back, I’m on to the next idea. I’m a serial starter, the girl who cries wolf, a butterfly brain, a flake. I’m sure you know exactly what I mean and you probably know people like that or maybe you are One of Us too.
Announcing the blog, therefore, was my attempt to create accountability and force my hand. The words were out! In Print. No excuses now. A wave of motivation and energy hit me, I started planning content and format. I researched WordPress themes for the site, I got a Lever Arch file and made notes and filed them alphabetically. I listened to a motivational podcast and strode through the house, visualising my best future, citing affirmations and making lists of topics I was keen to cover. I was ready to bring humour and joy to the world and share some of the experiences and knowledge I have picked up along the way during the first ten years of parenting my autistic son. I announced it on Sunday, went to bed with determination and woke on Monday fired up and eager to begin. Some of my friends had contacted me with messages of support. (Thank you, friends!) I had six hours of child-free time to get something down and refine it, maybe even publish it. I Was Ready to Blog. Let’s write this Mother!
Unfortunately, during the night the “You’re Crap” Fairies had come and sprinkled some of their special Negativity Dust over my sleeping form.
Unfortunately, during the night the “You’re Crap” Fairies had come and sprinkled some of their special Negativity Dust over my sleeping form. Every time I fired up the laptop or even picked up a pen and blank pad of paper to write something, my writer’s voice went away. Words came, words fell out in single sentences and not particularly connected to each other. Writer Me stared at the screen in confusion and dismay. Writer Me made a coffee and waited for the words to come back. The words didn’t come back. Writer Me sat on the bed looking at the screen. The cursor flickered. Writer Me felt a bit cold so I got in bed to keep warm (because it’s cheaper than putting the heating on, right?) Writer Me typed a sentence but it felt limp and no other sentences wanted to join it because it was embarrassing. Writer Me decided the words were afraid of pressure, so maybe a little distraction would help to reduce that pressure. I popped on a series on Amazon Prime Video and waited for the inspiration to come.
By Wednesday, Writer Me was beginning to feel like a fraud and a failure. The words were absent and now the ideas had departed too. In my brain a cold wind blew, a dog barked and a church bell tolled mournfully in the distance. Writer Me decided to pass the time selecting photos for the blog. At least that was working on the blog in some small way. Writer Me stopped listening to the motivational podcast because it was making me feel tired and it wasn’t motivating me. My house was cold, I was cold, I was frustrated and tired and my brain was fuzzy so I went back to bed for a nap…..
By Friday, Writer Me had fallen into a state of hopeless lethargy and self recrimination, I’d watched two seasons of The Americans and eaten half a jar of peanut butter and countless Jaffa Cakes but my blog had stayed defiantly blank. I had broken my healthy eating intention, failed to write my blog, failed to keep to my schedule of chores and spent most of my waking hours in bed (and a fair few napping ones also). I was disgusted with myself. I decided to let Writer Me go. You’re Fired, Writer Me. Clearly I am no writer and the blog was another one of my crazy pipe dreams.
I didn’t even bother to open WordPress on Saturday.
It’s Sunday and after a week of procrastinating and failing I felt I had to come clean to my friends. The blog isn’t happening. I have words but they won’t flow. The muse is gone! The muse has left me! I am….. A FRAUD! Swoons dramatically onto chaise longue, hand pressed to forehead. Except of course, the words came back as soon as I confessed, once the pressure was gone and I stopped trying so damn hard.
Write what you know, write where you are: they are clichés because they are true. So here it is, my first blog post, about the painful, procrastinated birthing process of a blog for parents of children with autism. This post is neither about parenting nor autism. Others will be. I hope we have some fun along the way. Take care out there and watch out for the Negativity Dust, that stuff’s hard to wash off.