Friday, January 18, 2008

Another Reason to Love Being a Writer

Yesterday it snowed. A lot. All day. And so my youngest daughter and I dumped our usual routine for the afternoon and went out to play in it. We threw snowballs. We made snow angels. And we built this awesome snowman.

When I was a teacher, I did the inside-out-jammie dance for snow days, but many times I spent my school day wistfully looking out the classroom window, like my older children did yesterday, wondering how in the world the superintendent could keep us in school on a day like that.

When I worked as a corporate trainer, there wasn't any such thing as a snow day, so no use even wishing (though I still did the inside-out-jammie dance in hopes that it would snow, just because I love snow).

But now that I write, I get to take snow days when they come, and take the time to do my other most favorite thing besides writing, which is spend time with my kids. I am so, so blessed!

The more I read other authors blog and give advice, the more I see them write, "Write because you enjoy it." Are there really people out there who don't enjoy writing who are trying to make a go of it anyway? I mean, this isn't like trudging off to an office to get the paycheck even though you hate the job. Why in the world would someone write if they didn't absolutely love doing it? It can't be for the paycheck.

I love to write. It is my passion. It is the things I love most in the world (besides making snowmen with my family!). The vast majority of the time, I wish I were in front of the computer writing. When I am not, I am writing the next chapter in my head. It makes for an interesting grocery shopping trip, when I come home with food I didn't really need and completely forget the milk and eggs, and my husband looks in the fridge and says, "Well, I hope this next chapter is REALLY good, because it appears you were very distracted in the store."

It is hard for me to spend hours writing, invest my mind and heart into people that don't even exist, and then come out of that intensity into the real world. There is a sort of adjustment time, when I can't hold a decent conversation or focus on a task well, until I transition back into life.

I love being a writer. I love being a mom. I love that I get to do both fully. I couldn't wish for more in life than this.


  1. I hear you loud and clear!

    (Great, happy picture too. I think I might be the only non-blonde Heidi in the world!)

    I write because I love it and I have to do it. The words have to come out. This morning when I was cleaning horse stalls I was mentally fabricating a scene, word for word, in my head.

    Honestly, though, I'm in a very hard part right now that I've never really dealt with before. I have made the time to write, I have the idea, and an outline, BUT the writing is like slogging through deep mud. It's not flowing, it's not fun, it's a difficult story, and I would rather not do it. Never felt this way before. At least with a few years of practice, I KNOW that if I keep at it, it'll get better. I keep telling myself that. The story insists on being told, even if it's giving me a hard time.

    Like you said though...I'm here, in my house, listening to my machine wash our clothes while I write about writing. It's a good life!!!!

    (Here's to us getting paid for it soon!!)

  2. I've had those moments too, when the story just won't come. It's a hard decision whether to put it aside to try something else or to just keep plugging at it.

    I found twice in this novel that there were parts I was more than ready to tell, but I just couldn't get there. Finally I just decided to write those chapters out of sequence. I have bits and pieces of dialogue or narration that come to me out of order in lots of little files. Sometimes they make the final story, and sometimes they don't, but they help me feel like I'm working on it rather than just staring at the screen, and eventually they help me clarify what I really want to say in those places where it is hard to write.

    I think every writer has been there. Even when I'm frustrated and blank, I can't get away from the need to write. Maybe you need a break from that story with the commitment that you will come back to it when the time is right.

    Reading a really well-written book helps too. I'll mimic the writing a bit, then go back and redo it later in my own style.

    In any case, we are lucky, even when it's hard! I'll drink to that paycheck! :)

  3. You are so right about writing out of sequence. The one I'm querying now was written in pieces too. It was frustrating to put it all together, but it got written. When I was trying to do it chronologically, it stalled.

    This one's got three different time periods, so if I stall in one, I go work on another one. It is coming along, just not as easily as I would like it too. I think that's the difference in making a commitment to writing: you train yourself to push through it and keep going.

    At least that's what I tell myself....

    Gotta run- I am supposedly taking a blog break to focus on this $#%$ book, but it's also grocery day and the dog is looking at me like he wants to for a walk, so I'm off!

  4. I completely agree with the commitment thing! When I started this book two years ago, it was a stop and start thing, whenever I had time, whenever I knew what to write. When I actually set a timeline for myself last fall and committed to treat it like a job, the writing process changed drastically.

    There are days when I literally sit and stare at the screen for an hour before I write a word, because I don't know where I'm going, or how to put it into words. But by golly, I'm sitting there, and eventually I get something written.

    The first write was the easiest though... I kept saying to myself, "It doesn't matter if it's good. I can fix it in the rewrite." The rewrite is harder because I want it to be good.

    Good luck with the book. I'll keep checking back on your blog to see how it's going, and hopefully hear good news on the one you are querying now!

    (By the way... the Heidi's you know may be blond, but almost all the ones I know are dogs! Why is that????) :)

  5. haha, it's true. I know. I almost got a complex when I was a kid!