I have to turn my clock around so that I cannot see what time it is. I must be unconsciously connected to a time schedule from my past—either with my children’s schedule for school or with my own work schedule.

At certain times, I suddenly feel compelled to have accomplished certain tasks, and I hear myself saying, “I can’t do this before I get that done.” Whose voice is that, anyway? Is it the voice of my mother from my early years? More than likely not because she was absent more than she was present in my life. Is it my voice as a mother? Did I put those words on my own children? Very possibly.

I hear the words and I understand the literal message: Do the things that are important to everyone else first. The dictator that lives within is unrelenting. But I also hear the implied message: The things you are doing are not important.

If I don’t respond, that dictator just stands there waiting at the door of my mind to jump out again and distract me from what I am working on.

I am refusing to be obedient to those “suddenlies.” I am refusing to respond to directives that take me away from my writing. I must be an easy target for them as I have responded without much thought—unintentionally, unwillingly, unknowingly. It might seem like a small thing . . . even a good thing . . . to get up from the desk to load the dishwasher, to start a load of laundry, to make a grocery list, to check Facebook, to go through the long list of things I need to do (I stopped writing yesterday to create this list).

My struggle is to not respond. My task is to write. My hope is to succeed in the previous two.