The apartment was tiny – one bedroom just barely big enough for a queen-sized bed and two dresser, a tiny bathroom, a pullman kitchen, and a living room that fit our dining room table, loveseat and armchair, and my desk but not comfortably.

I still, ten years later, have very physical memories of that space because it is the space where I claimed myself as a writer. Every day, I sat at that desk, the same desk where I sit now, and wrote. I was in my MFA program, and I had 20 pages to produce every month, 20 pages that I wanted my mentor to be proud of. So every day, at the desk, every day.

One week when my then-husband and I were living there, his brother and sister-in-law came to visit. They were (and are) two of my favorite people in the world, so I wanted to be able to spend as much time with them as possible. I, however, had to work at my research job most of the days they were here. So to maximize my time with them, I got up even earlier than my usual 5am and wrote for at least a half-hour before driving the 45 minutes to work and getting off early so I could spend the afternoon and evening with them. By the end of that week, I was exhausted, but it was so worth every minute.

Now, with puppy and farm and 14 chapters to add to the book, I am so very tired. My body aches in ways it hasn’t for a while (who knew that pulling up luan could make the space between my shoulder blades sore?), and I’m not getting nearly enough sleep.

It’s easy for me to rationalize why I don’t write. Farm stuff to do. Need a break. Friends coming to town. Root canal (I used that one yesterday, sadly). I can come up with one million reasons to not do this thing. But then, I remember 4:30am before dawn when not just the coffee but sometimes the coffee mug itself were all that kept me from laying my head on the desk and sleeping. I remember how glorious it felt to walk through those days with my real work finished. I remember and I push on.

So today, as I sit down to edit another chapter, as the puppy and the SuperDog sleep beside me on the floor and the cats claim three corners of the bed, I’m remembering that writing is worth losing sleep, and dreams are worth aching for.

What keeps you from your desk? What takes you there?