Today is TUESDAY TALES! Today we’re writing to the prompt – rough. Here’s my musings on rough. Return to Tuesday Tales for more interesting stories from other awesome writers.
Does this happen to you also? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one trying to tame these sometimes joyous, sometimes inconvenient interruptions.
I don’t have a problem planning. I’m the Queen of Planning My Writing Life. It’s just the follow through that’s usually rough. I began the New Year with a well laid out plan of what I was going to accomplish in 2013.
Now that we’re here in September, if you looked at my current ‘plan’, you’d think you were looking at the goals of two completely different writers.
I have completed a few – the operative word here is FEW- of my original goals. I’ve crossed off some. I’ve added twice as many. I’ve made tentative steps towards working through some. Yet as we near the latter portion of the year, I realize that most will not see the light of completion during 2013.
Many of us still have our good ‘ole day jobs, consuming more time and energy than we’d like.
We get sick. Spouses get sick. Children get sick. Parents age and need our assistance. Even our pets don’t always cooperate in our moving towards the writing finish line.
Cars break down and demand silly things like new tires and oil changes.
Friends think we should somehow devote a few hours of our life to them. Phone calls, lunches, dinners, movies.
Friends and family get married. This year my niece’s wedding in June required a trip back to California. There goes a week of writing. An August vacation get away for a few days in Vegas surprised us with my youngest son’s wedding. There went another week of writing.
And, oh yeah, the garden needs weeded and the lawn wants to be mowed.
A co-worker attended SCBWI’s conference in LA in August. I was so jealous. She returned home fired-up, oozing excitement and committed to polishing off some of her draft stories and writing a few more. She returned home to real life. Last week she bemoaned that it’s been almost two months since then and she hasn’t written a single word since returning home. No, no she hasn’t. She is also in the midst of a divorce. She has custody of two children who went back to school, with all of the hoop-la that accompanies that event. She went from part time to full time, compliments of the divorce. Her car is throwing temper tantrums.
It becomes a balancing act. In the case of my friend, I encouraged her and pointed out all that she had to deal with at this current place in her life. Sometimes you need to acknowledge that right now, for this current time and place in your life, the ‘real life’ needs your time, attention and energy. And you can’t beat yourself up over it. The world is hard enough on us. We don’t need to join the whipping crew. Honor your life, appreciate what you have, and know that you are in the place you need to be … at this time.
And sometimes, we need to take an honest look and see if we’re simply allowing life to take over. Are we not making the commitment we need to make for ourselves? Sometimes it’s easier to do the dishes, catch up the laundry, walk the dog, shuffle a pile of papers, and keep busy with a bazillion tasks other than sending queries, plotting, and placing words on paper. As many writers compel, it’s all about BIC – Butt In Chair.
You know what? It works. For all the stories on my ‘list’ that are only fragments in my mind, or pieces barely begun, this past week I finished one. I needed 50,000 words for a book contest. I thought I had the perfect story to fit their call. I just had to write it down. I planned to write it during August and edit during September. Remember the mini-vacation and son’s wedding in August? Needless to say the 1,500 words a day didn’t happen that week. I didn’t finish by the end of August. I didn’t finish my mid-September. It still took me another week, leaving me only one week to edit. But I kept on. I tallied my words. Except for a few minor ‘life happens’ moments, I kept my butt in the chair. And yesterday I mailed off the 166 page, 55,000 word manuscript. I hope it wins. But if it doesn’t, I have something that I can keep polishing and keep sending. But, even better than that, is the feeling that has enveloped me over the past week as I saw that I would be completing this project and it would get shipped off — three days before the deadline.
Life does happen – to all of us. But it’s up to us to make choices. We can make the choice to set aside our writing for real priorities. And, we can also choose to carve out writing time in our life, even if it means we won’t be making every social occasion that comes our way, or that our laundry isn’t always washed, pressed and orderly, or that we have to get up a little earlier every day. It’s our choice.