Tuesday, March 1

B.I.C.H.O.K. Writers



Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. 

Yeah, I used to be one of those. Well, not as much as a lot of other authors I know, but I was a writer who wrote every single day—even on days where I was overwhelmed with editing gigs. When I missed a writing day, I felt no end of guilt.

You know what? Sometimes life stuff takes me away from my writing and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m any less committed to getting my story told, it simply means that life . . . well, life gets in the way. It does for every writer. One of my critique partners is incredibly prolific and writes anytime, anywhere. Her ability to focus on her story in any given situation is remarkable. Yet, her husband has been ill for over a year and that has necessarily affected her writing time. She needs to be with him, taking care of his needs, so the writing just isn’t the priority anymore. That is as it should be.

A dear author friend has just gone through a death in her family. For her and for me, there’s no way to be creative while you are grieving and holding up your family members. She’s finally back to her house and pretty much her “normal” life, but when she got into her office, the most she could do was vacuum. She said to me, “For the first time in days, I have time to think and I can’t. I can’t.” Life . . . it gets in the way of creativity.

Another writer I know had surgery recently and although she is an amazing and prolific author, even she was stopped for a time. Life . . . you know?

As a romantic fiction editor, I frequently find it hard to motivate the romance writer. When you repair other people’s stories all day, you don’t always look forward to sitting back down at the computer to work on your own. That’s not an excuse, it’s simply a reason. Work . . . it also gets in the way sometimes. 

But you know, my crit partner will be back in the saddle and so will my dear friend and and so will I. Writing is what we do. Storytelling is who we are. I don’t think there’s anything that can change that. So I’m not going to feel any guilt because I’m no longer a B.I.C.H.O.K. writer. I’m living in this world and I need to be present in my life, even if that means I’m not always present for my stories. 

This morning I got up an hour earlier than usual and let me tell you, that is dang hard when the bed is warm and Husband is all cuddly and it’s still dark outside . . . However, I did it and I wrote for an hour. Tomorrow, I’m going to try it again. There’s no guarantee I can keep this up—retirement has made sleeping late way to enticing (at our house, late is 7:30 instead of 6:00). But, I was productive and that surprised me because my best writing time has always been late at night. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll be productive again. No promises, just a sincere effort . . . and certainly, no guilt.

8 comments:

  1. Great post, Nan. And you're right--we don't need guilt on top of everything else when life gets in the way.

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    1. Absolutely not, Liz! We are way harder on ourselves than others and we need to cut ourselves some slack when we aren't "performing" up to our own standard. , baby!

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  2. Right now I can only deal with one guilt at a time. I am perfecting the guilt for not going to the gym, but I had just enough guilt to find a little quiet time to write on vacation. It is amazing how much time day to day living actually takes. Thanks for the boost.

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    1. So happy you stopped by, Lori, and that I could provide a boost! Live your life and the writing will happen as it can. Smiling at you!

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  3. Great post, Nan! The guilt of not writing when I'm spending time living is truly a struggle. And sometimes for me, it's not even guilt... It's wishing I was writing instead of doing whatever it is that life requires at the moment (usually, it's dishes or laundry). But you are correct: I need to be present in my life as well as in my stories. Thanks for putting it in perspective!

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    1. Hey, Ava! So glad you came by--you are so right! Present in life is at least as important as present in our stories. Your kids won't be there a whole longer, so enjoy them--the writing will still be there whenever you're ready. Hugs!

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  4. This is a great post, Nan, thank you! I agree - sometimes life makes it so hard to keep going, even when we love what we do. I'm glad your morning writing went well today - here's to a great tomorrow, too!

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  5. Great post! Sometimes life is heavier and weighs down the sliding scale--we get through it and then when it's lighter, we can write to our heart's delight :) Congrats on a productive morning.

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