I will be honest, I don’t want to write all the time. I know the rule: write even when you don’t feel like it. But it’s stressful to be creative. It’s also time consuming. Dare I say it? There are too many things that need to be done versus writing. When I write, my family is pushed aside. My kids question my commitment to being a mother. My husband wonders if he has wife. The dog lays by my chair wondering when I will remember to feed him. I resent working. The reality is, for me, writing is all-consuming and takes me away from real life in a pursuit of a make-believe one. When you are not getting paid, and there is no agent or publisher warranting your dedication, the value of giving up so much living for the pursuit of writing is questionable.
IS WRITING A SACRIFICE?
I didn’t start writing until my children were self-sufficient. And even then, my first novel was written when my family slept. I lived on four hours sleep–at best–a night. I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my valuable time for something that I didn’t know I could accomplish–writing a novel. When I started my second novel I gave myself the luxury of writing during daylight hours. But I had to sacrifice other things. Giving up television was easy, but I stopped reading and my weekends were locked away in my office. By the third book, where I dedicated all hours of the day to writing as if it was my job, my family seriously questioned my commitment to them.
When I write I jump all in. It’s like a flipped light switch. I am turned on and have to write until the story is finished. When I get a story idea, the characters enter my world. They chatter alongside me, interacting with each other in an alternate plane, simultaneously as my life functions. If I don’t sit down and write what is happening, their co-existence becomes burdensome. It is like I must write to make them go away. They are in my car, when I shower, in my sleep. They won’t go away. And thus, I must write and write until their story is told.
METHODS OF WRITING
I know this is not every writer’s method. It’s my own creative force at play. I am hoping as I continue to write my methodology will have more formality or structure. So far it has not changed. I have taken courses, read from experts, and listened to successful authors about how to be a trained writer–a professional writer. Some say outline, map it, chart it, write note cards, diagram… all in the vein of organization and systematic writing. But what if your creativeness is not systematic?
WRITE WHEN IT POSSESSES YOU
When I write I give my all–mind, body, and soul. It’s almost like possession. My creative spirit takes over and I am no longer a wife, mother, friend, or employee. I am a writer! Thus, when I declare there are times I don’t want to write… I mean it. I have nothing to give; nothing pulling at my attention. I don’t force myself to create. I don’t try to write anything. When it comes–and it will–I will sit back in my chair and let my fingers play their harmony. Until then, I indulge in living like a normal person, saying yes to a new project for work, taking time for lunch with girlfriends, enjoying a late-night ice cream run with my family, or playing with my dog in the garden, letting them know I don’t choose writing over them… at least for now.