Sunday, 15 June 2014

On Being a Writer

Image by Karen Arnold at
Writers work alone, but they can't do it alone. Writers need support. (Read: I need help.)

In order to turn away from the world and focus on my writing, I need to know that the life I'm leaving outside my writing space will still be there when I come back to it; intact and everyone in it safe. Maybe it's just me, and some of the other ROW80 writer-mothers can chime in on this, but I worry that if I'm not around, Things Will Happen Which I Did Not Foresee And Therefore Could Not Take Measures To Guard Against.

I need help.

If I were to dream big, then my dream is of a wonderful, sunny, smiling lady who breezes into our lives and  keeps an eye on my little guy in our home while I write. She loves him as much as I do and she has a way with him. He loves her back. I can relax and write. No need to worry. About anything. No need to keep my mum-radar switched on for the silences that denote mischief-in-the-making, or for the subaudible sounds that I hear when my little guy needs rescuing or needs a warm embrace to soothe his hurts.

I need a fairy godmother, I suspect.

I've just been reading "Writing in Overdrive" by Jim Denney and a couple of his paragraphs stood out.

This one:
In order to write in overdrive, you cannot view writing as a hobby.

and this one:
The worst distractions are emotional distractions ... Beware of emotional distractions that can block your Muse.

Excuse me while I bury my head in some chocolate cake to kick-start some major endorphins here. <Sigh>

You see, the thing is, my family comes first. It's as simple as that. I know that the biggest regret I will ever have at the end of my life is if I did not spend enough quality time with them. I know that my writing, even as much as I love it, does not hold a candle to the two beautiful souls in my family.

So my struggle is, how can I love and care for them and still write? (And do everything else?)

I know the words - you have to look after yourself, provide for yourself, make sure your own well is filled, set a good example to your child by showing him how important it is to go after your dreams etc. etc. But they really are just words to me right now, because I can't see a way to make it work. There are no fairy godmothers.

Maybe this post should have been titled On Being a Mother. Who Writes. Sort of.

Now, I haven't given up on writing or anything drastic like that. I've simply reached a low point where the trampoline needs a bit of restringing to get me bouncing again. I may be dangling off the side but I'm not giving up. Somehow I'm going to find a win-win for us all.

On a more positive note, we're still not completely over our bugs, but we're all much improved. Yay.

And so, let's move on to the ROW80 update.

Goals from last week
  1. Comment on three other ROW80 blogs; I commented on about 6, I think.
  2. Write the Mirror Moment for my revision-in-progress; Done, but I'm not at all happy with it
  3. Create a badge for the writing project; I know what I'd like it to look like and I'm considering going to an illustrator on with my idea
  4. Finish one of the flash fictions. I actually sat down this morning to do this, but because of an emotional distraction it just didn't happen.

And that's it for this Round. Hopefully by the next Round I'll have some system in place that allows me to balance family and writing in a way that's win-win for everyone involved.

And go check out how the other ROW80 writers are doing.


  1. Finding the balance between life and the real world can be one of the hardest things out there. I'm not a mother and have the luxury of being able to focus mostly on my writing for most of the time, but I've heard the real key is to find a time that is dedicated to writing. That's your Writing Time, and all the other time can be family and life time, but you need your writing time in there, too. And you're not allowed to feel guilty about Writing Time.

    More than likely, it'll feel a little odd or difficult at first, but, once you stick with it, it becomes a habit, and you start to reap the benefits.

    Good luck! It's a balancing act, to be sure, and different for everyone, but once you've got it, it's the best feeling ever.

  2. I've been struggling with the same type of thing - balancing writing with my family life. It can be hard at times. I also have this pesky problem where I immerse myself completely in my writing, and I forget everything else exists. It's great for the writing, but crappy for the family.

    Good luck with trying to find that balance. I'm sure it can be done. :D

  3. The Denney book sounds interesting. I've bookmarked it and plan on coming back to it soon.

    I can fully appreciate your wanting to be there for your family. I read about someone who figured out a way to work writing around being a mother, using ten miutes here, twenty minutes there, getting up half an hour early or staying up half an hour later. I think you've probably been doing some of this anyway, writing when you have a few free moments. Hey, it works. You got loads done this past week, so you're doing something right...

  4. Maybe you could carve out a set time, say an hour or two one evening or during the weekend when you could write. That could be your dedicated writing time. It wouldn't take much time away from your family, but it would give you time to focus on your work. This may or may not work for you, but it's just a suggestion I'm tossing out there.

    Best of luck with all the tasks you're juggling!

  5. @L.S.Engler: Thank you for your words. Having a dedicated writing time is a very good idea, and it's something I'm mulling over, now that I've had the mini meltdown and can see things need to change.

    Thank you so much for your thoughts. It's much appreciated. :)

  6. @Erin Z: YES, I so understand what you're saying! Once I get caught up in writing, I can forget the world around me, but that has made for two growley bears, a small one and a big one, when I emerged from the writing den. :D

    I need to iron out a few details to make this work. I'll post my thoughts at the next check-in.

    Thank you for your input. It's good to know that I'm not alone with this issue.

  7. @John Holton: Thank you for your encouragement! And you reminded me about the purpose of the other project I was working on last week, too. It was basically about how to be productive when all I have are an ten or fifteen minutes of writing time.

    Still, the mini meltdown this week was useful. It helped me to see where I was stuck, what was making me stuck, and once I could see that clearly, then I was in a position to work on the solutions, without resorting to a fairy godmother. :)

    Thanks, again, John.

  8. @Denise D. Young: I definitely need to have a writing session that's longer than 10 or 15 minutes if I'm to get any of the major work done, and I suspect that I need to leave the house to get it. (Otherwise the mum-radar is switched on.)

    So this is a solution that I'm churning over at the moment, coupled with my 10 and 15 minute writing slots interspersed throughout the day.

    Where there's a will, there's a way.

    Thank you very much for your comment. I really appreciate it.

  9. I'd just like to thank everyone again for your comments. I was writing about something that was frustrating me, and that doesn't always make for easy reading (although it will be useful for me to look back on as a benchmark!).

    Thank you for caring enough to comment, and thank you all for your input. I really appreciate it.


Hi! I love reading new comments so thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to get back to you to continue the conversation. :)