Saturday, June 22, 2013

Protecting the Writing Time After You Find It

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Currently the only two "people" in the house who feel I should be paying attention to them instead of writing are Jake and Keanu. Since these are my cats, they can be tricky to ignore and have absolutely no concept of anything to do with work, with being in the flow, about the touchiness of  flighty Muses, meeting deadlines....the cat wants to be petted NOW. The cat wants to be played with NOW. The cat wants to be fed ALL THE TIME.  The cat will walk on the keyboard, drop a bedraggled toy in my lap or chew the cords because he's found out how extremely effective that can be in getting my attention. Once or twice I've been frustrated enough to put them outside the bedroom where I write and shut the door. Piteousness ensues, followed by a determined attempt to claw the offending door down.

Ok, yes, my cats rule. Sigh.

I always wrote as a child and as a teenager. I was one of those dreamy little kids who sat under a shady tree and wrote. Or in junior high school, bored out of my mind, I wrote instead of paying attention in class. My parents loved that I wrote and never interrupted me. My younger brother and I shared a love of certain television shows and as long as we watched them together every week, he never begrudged my writing time.

My late husband and I met in the 10th grade and he was always very supportive of my writing. He wanted me to write more than I wanted to write sometimes LOL. I scribbled my stories during the early years of marriage, kind of gave up doing more than thinking about writing when my two children were born - I kept my creative hand in by doing intricate plotting during the long Southern California freeway commutes morn and night but didn't really write.

I had just gotten back to seriously tackling a science fiction romance novel when the girls were three and five. My husband was so happy to see me actually writing again that he cheerfully did whatever it took to get me time to write (on the typewriter ye gods). Then I was widowed and as we say in my family, I left my characters stranded on a roof fighting off the enemy for a few years. I could not write. I tried, but the girls were so young, I had a full time job, there was no life insurance...I was stressed. 

But finally, as the girls got older, and with their encouragement, I did start writing again (on the computer
now). I put my computer in the living room so I was always right there with them as they played, watched TV, did homework, so I was accessible. Sure, it made things more challenging when it came to writing, but it was the only way. I listened to music on my iPod to screen out most of the ambient noise. They knew not to interrupt me unless someone was bleeding or there was a fire, so to speak, but I was there. I'm an early bird, so on the weekends I'd get up really early and get in some solid writing stints.

I finished four science fiction novels, one of which eventually became my Amazon SF Adventure Best Seller WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM. We moved three times as the old falling down house became too much for me to grandson was born and it became a three generation household....oh, I upgraded the computer and the word processing software...

And now I live happily by myself with the two cats and the only one I have to protect my writing time from is me. I have a tendency to get out there on twitter and socialize, or to write a blog post (hmmm, like this one) and before I know it, the evening has completely escaped me, as far as writing.

This year I'm doing 1000 words a day or else (it's a goal), in an attempt to make myself more productive. Sometimes after the day job, it's too much to ask of myself but I do at least open the current WIP and stare at it, fix a comma or something, so I've at least touched it. And on the weekends I pound on the keyboard as long as the Muse will co-operate.

So, long story told at length, I guess for me I've always adapted my writing to what else was going on in my life and now finally I'm at a point where I can make the writing the central activity and adapt everything else to it. Of course I still need the day job but the dream is to be a full time writer sooner than later.

Not sure I answered the question necessarily but this is my story and I'm sticking to it!


  1. I like how you talk about working in the family room. I already do that with my baby (almost toddler!) and it's hit and miss. Sometimes I wind up in the floor playing with her, which is awesome too, and sometimes she'll play by herself. It may not always be perfect, but it's *good*. :)

  2. Yes, I'm with you on the *good* part! They're only little for such a short time...HUGS!

  3. This topic for the week has really gotten all of you to open up! Thanks for sharing...all of you. As a reader it is fun to learn about the real person behind the author, makes us feel more connected and in return more eager to support your books :)