04 February 2007

My Writing Life

I love all these books and blogs about "The Writing Life" where the authors, who are usually members of the Lucky Few Full-Time Writer's Club, describe how they get up at 5AM or 11AM and proceed to write for 6 or 8 hours. Then they do some editing or blogging or correspondence or chit-chat with their agent or some-such. Then they read some Great Author before retiring for the evening.

Sounds great, don't it? If only the rest of us were so lucky. Here's what my "writing life" is like:


First of all, I have been unable to write anything at all due to sickness and interference from work-work for so many days I've lost count of how many exactly.

Today, however, The Husband is gone for the day. Ms. Four, at her cousin's house for an overnight, is still gone for a few more hours. And Ms. Baby is down for her nap.

Now is the time to write.


I should really be working on the taxes. I should really be figuring out if I can take that home office deduction because I work from home much of the time these days. I should...

Ah, but this is such a rare thing -- alone in a quiet house. How can I NOT write.

The usual question looms: write WHAT? Which project? Should I be working to finish the 2006 NaNo? Should I do some editing on the March Novel storyline? Should I just journal and call it good? Should I blog? Should I comment on other people's blogs?

What to do?! What to do?! I could waste the whole of Ms. Baby's nap trying to decide. Gah!

OK, OK. Deep breath. I'll use the timer method. Yes, that'll work. I'll set the timer for 20 minutes and keep my fingers moving for that entire time on the 2006 NaNo (provided Ms. Baby's nap lasts that long...).

That, at least, will get SOMETHING done. Well, some writing anyway. Laundry, dishes and vaccuuming can, of course, get stuffed.


I set the timer for 20 minutes. I type - uninterrupted, amazingly - for the whole time. I manage 649 words! I decide to continue until I finally get to SEE HOLGER (a character in the novel we've heard much about but have yet to actually meet)!!


10 minutes later: The phone rings. Ms. Four is on her way home. I hang up the phone. Ms. Baby wakes up.

*sigh* So much for writing today, thinks I.

I fetch Herself and find her still sleepy. And Ms. Four isn't here yet.

I keep writing and, in spite of circumstances - or perhaps, because of them - I manage another 394 words AND finally get to meet Holger!

Yea, me!


Y'see how it is? And this is a good day, one when I actually get to write at all. Most days, my word count remains at zero. It'll be a miracle, of sorts, if I ever get anything even close to publishable, let alone in print.

But others have done it, I'm sure. At least, I think so. Well, I hope so. Maybe I'll be the first??


Queen K said...

You definitely aren't the first!! I've seen a couple good books and articles by moms who talk about writing in the little spaces of life, rather than for huge chunks of time. Elizabeth Berg is one if I remember correctly. She used to be a nurse - I love hearing that people used to be nurses! It's possible to switch gears!!!

I've also heard many authors talk about the horrors of having too much time to write, and I've experienced it myself. Sudden swaths of time mean writing often gets put off indefinitely and become very inefficient. Many, many people have written books in 20 minutes a day or less. Sounds like an infoscam, I know, but it's true. You've done FAR more writing than most people would have in your situation, so give yourself a pat on the back. You also might want to find out more about how publishing works, because I don't think (though I'm definitely not an expert on all this stuff) books get picked up fully finished for the most part. Often they are chosen from a few chapters and overviews of plots. There are editors for a reason, so don't hold yourself back until you have something totally perfect - put something out there and see what happens. I know that's a scary step, but I think it's important to take the leap at some point or you'll end up writing and re-writing things and never feeling like they'll be good enough. Easy for me to say, I know, but you have good stuff and I think it's very publishable. Keep following your instincts with the writing, write whenever you can and take a leap at some point. Also, it helps me sometimes to read a few chapters of some of the schlock that DOES get published - I always feel better about my own writing afterwards. :D Hee hee

Queen K said...

By the way, we have a family history of not believing in our own talents, which has been one of my demons too. I always feel like everyone else knows things I don't and is more skilled and talented than me. Mum does it all the time - she is constantly putting herself and her creativity down. She left a children's book class because she was so intimidated by everyone else's work and didn't feel her idea was good enough. Bumpa's IQ was something like 160, but he never felt he was smart. It's ingrained, and you have to watch out for the internal dialogue. I've given up on SO many ideas because I decided they were just stupid and not good enough. Other people just DO things and put themselves out there and get what they want because they were willing to. I don't have all the answers about how to unlearn these nasty feelings, but the first step is definitely realizing they are there and where they come from. Just something I've been thinking abotu a lot lately.

Bethanie said...

wow! As always, thanks for the fabulous pep talk! You are so good at that!

You're right about the family history -- although I didn't know about Mum quitting a children's book class. That's terrible! And Bumpa never considering himself smart because he never went to college is just damn tragic. He was one of the smartest people I've ever met.

And I have been doing a bit of research on the publishing industry -- well, if you count reading Miss Snark -- and for a first novel, it does have to be finished and polished to a blinding shine. That's when you start querying agents. I won't be there for a long time yet, I think. :-D

Bethanie said...

OK, watch that link to Miss Snark. It opens in THIS little, teeny window. Stupid, sorry. Here's the address, cut and paste:


Happy snarking!