Sunday, June 7, 2015

When Writing and Life Collide

I took this photo at 7:45pm last night, as I lay in a lawn chair, talking on the phone to a good friend. We'd been trying for a simultaneous voice chat (as opposed to non-simultaneous texting) for two full days. We had writing developments to discuss and we were both just crazy busy. I kind of tacked this on to the end of my day - which she did, too, an hour ahead of me in time zone - and it ended up being... just lovely. I relaxed in the chair, drinking wine and watching the sky change.

The topic in the bordello this week is "The world out there: when writing and life collide and conflict."

Boy, is it topical for me.

I've been running a packed schedule since the RT Convention, largely because I have a book due July 1 and, of course, it's coming out longer than I thought. I'm drafting at a grueling (for me) 2,500 words/day. It's difficult for me to do more and have brain capacity for the day job. (I work as an environmental consultant, so I am literally paid to think, which can be daunting.) I'm at 85,000 words on this book - the 4th in my Twelve Kingdoms series - with anywhere from 24,000 to 36,000 to go. Which means I'm headed into the final 25% of the book, which is the part that works me over the most. Not necessarily difficult, but the part that feels like it carves out a big piece of my soul, as if the book requires a chunk of my life energy to come alive.

Somewhere a portrait of me is aging five years, every time I finish a book.

To put a cherry topper on my Sundae of Superhuman effort, I fly today to Oklahoma City to spend a week there for the day job. I have no idea how well I'll do keeping up with writing, but I'm determined to try.

I saw a group of authors discussing this phase, how when writing a book they get totally absorbed in it, forget other things, leave food to burn, make mistakes at the day job. Some said they lock themselves in their offices for weeks at time, let their families cook for themselves, pay someone to come in and clean, check into a hotel for three nights to crank out 30,000 words. I don't go to these extremes for two reasons. 1) I write pretty steadily. I'm *always* working on a book at something like 1,500-2,000 words/day, so I never do the big crunch like that and 2) I can't afford to.

Literally. I have to have the day job as I'm the primary wage earner in our household and it still brings in more money than writing does. I don't want to devote any of that money to paying someone to clean. We divide the chores and I feel strongly about holding up my end of them.


Balance is important and keeps me sane. So, after Oklahoma City, we're visiting family in Denver. We'll spend the weekend with my folks, see our daughter and son-in-law, celebrate our grandson's birthday. It will be a few days of the equivalent of a breath in a lawn chair watching a sunset and connecting with a good friend.

The book will get done. It always does. 

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