Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Writer's Block = Laundry Day

Today I am an aspiring writer. Somedays I am a writer, Somedays I am a writer because I write. Today I am aspiring, because I want to write, but I'm not.

My biggest challenge as a mom and writer is how much time do I devote to a job that doesn't promise a paycheck? I have spent two years trying to write a novel in between doing my main job: raising three kids. If I had birthday parties to plan, I didn't write. If I had loads of laundry that had to been done, I didn't write. When time seemed to close in on me, writing was the first task to go. As a result, two years after starting I was only 200 pages into a novel that should have taken a few months.

This year I pledged I would devote myself without reservation to writing, no matter the consequences. After all, all the working moms I know can't just say, "I'm not coming in today because I have no milk in the house." That, and my husband suggested that next year, when last child begins school full time, I find a job that pays. My time is running out.

So I have been writing, every day, two and a half hours at least, and what do you know? In less than six weeks I finished the thing! About 100,000 words, 300 pages, beginning, middle and end, with character and plot and resolution.

Now, I am rewriting. I thought this would be the easy part. I am not clinging to this project like it's a baby. It is fraught with problems, and trying to solve them, and make it marketable instead of just an accomplishment on my part, is turning into a full time job. It feels like my brain is squeezing into a tiny bubble that might pop at any minute.

I am struggling to find the right format, the right words, the right timeline. Meanwhile, laundry is piling up, company is coming, the fridge is bare and the rug under the kitchen table needs a serious moment with a vacuum. Do I sit down and wrestle again with words that won't come, and feel like I've wasted an entire afternoon, or do I attack the housework and fall further into the trap that I've been in for two years?

Maybe my main character can do laundry in the next chapter... in that case, can I consider my own housework research?

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