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.