Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Time is NOW!!!

Kelly talked about that elusive butterfly, trying to catch it and fulfilling that nagging little muze without losing your mind over the everyday details that conspire to keep us from our dream of getting those stories down on paper...um, computers. I've been writing since 1992, starting out this process with little little kids and a husband and home to care for. I shopped for the best cartoon movies, carefully arrainged play dates and booked afternoons of Mothers-Day-Out hoping to buy myself a wee bit of time to pen my novels.

Maybe distance makes it all seem like it was a dream deal but memories are tricky things. Burned dinners, fighting children, chores left undone were a part of my life. No one was happy, least of all me. I don't know how I did it. Well, I did it but obviously not very well since I didn't see my first book published until last year. For what it's worth, my closets are full of finished manuscripts that will certainly never see the light of day. I call them my contributions to the "writing goddess". My kids grew apace with my determination and I don't think they remember a time when I didn't write.

The strangest thing was that as they got older they started to really admire my determination. They'd come into the office...hey, Mom, what's this one about? OR...hey, Mom, what's the heroine's name? Things like that. For me, I think by gradually pulling them into the process of what I did and including them, managing my writing time got easier. It became a game to title my stories and that's a good thing, because I soooo stink at that. They started to help me in little ways sometimes pitching in, grabbing the phone, answering the door. Of course, their rooms looked like crime scenes but you can't have everything.

Due to necessity, I lived in organized chaos and that was okay. I produced. I managed.

Now, with one gone and the other "almost gone", I'm finding a new way that's far more structured. But since I have a big, wide lazy streak running down my back, this is a good thing. Oddly enough, I've grown just as my kids have. I start the day by making my phone calls, answering email and blogging and then, if life is kind, I'll start writing. I'm not much of a "night writer" so it's essential that my mornings are free. I swill coffee, forget to eat, and write away most of the day usually in my most comfortable jammies. A cave dweller, for the most part, I'll emerge from the house maybe once a week, sometimes two, to hit the grocery store, dry cleaners or whatever and carefully arrange all of these chores so that I can get back home in a timely manner. Nope. No lunches with friends. No pedicures. Getting my hair appointment takes months of planning. Okay. It's not quite THAT bad but pretty close.

My closest friends will tell you I'm lying through my teeth if I were to say I don't get back on the internet to chat. I do. It's the hugest, biggest time eater in the world, but for me it's necessary. I write in blocks and must stop from time to time. Finishing a scene means break time. I'll write an email or two, grab another cup of coffee, throw some clothes in the wash and break time's OVER. It's just enough to keep me from burning out for the day. I'm fresh and more ready to tackle the work. Right now, it's all about the work. Yeah, I spend time with the family. Go to an occasional movie or watch a basketball/football/whatever game on tv with DH but just about every second of my day is spent doing what I love.

Truth is...I'm happiest right HERE behind my computer.

20 comments:

  1. We need our "water cooler" chat. Knowing we have kindred spirits to support us is well worth the occasional lost minute or two, at least to me!

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  2. Hahaha...that brought back memories! In college, I wrote whenever I had a free moment. After graduation, it was the same. With small kids, it was during the 2-hour daily nap time...me and Hooked on Classics to stimulate the imagination. Once we got the computer, it was back to any free moment I could grab. And now the kids are older and we have internet...I get griped at alot. But hey, the checks are starting to come in after 2 books pubbed! And the kids secretly enjoy mom's signings:)

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  3. I wrote, wrote, wrote... way before computers. Writing whether for the public or for yourself is still good.

    And breaks are good as long as the break doesn't turn into a work stoppage (like it does with me) because I'm easily distracted.

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  4. Rita, you are lucky to be able to stay in your pjs and write all day. It's my dream. I keep fantasizing about going on a retreat in my own house, turning off phones, internet and commitments. I don't have kids at home but they often rely on me to baby-sit their children. I never say no, as I adore the little ones and consider my time with them a real vacation. I also have to visit my mother daily as she has no one else to visit her. My dear hubby complains that he is ignored and my friends hint that I’m becoming either a recluse or a snob. I never find time to promote my books and that's a shame.
    I love writing but I feel I'm always struggling to find the time to write and often taking time out of my own sleep to write in order not to upset someone.

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  5. Great post, Regina. It seems that finding a good schedule is an evolutionary process. :D

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  6. Excellent blog. And I like the positive spin you put on the butterfly analogy which in my mind was stressful and disorganized. LOL. It sounded so much better from you.

    You and I have very very similar patterns. My dear, we are alike in our writing methods and habits.

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  7. Establishing a coherent method of tricky and I'll be the first to admit, I don't always follow my own rules. Like Anny, I can get easily sidetracked. Gotta admit, some of my best memories are of my daughter laying sprawled on the floor under my desk saying..read it to me,Mom! Then there was the time my teenaged son snuck up behind me without me knowing. I was in the middle of a hot sex scene and he goes...what the hell, Mom??!!?? I jumped out of my skin and then we both just died laughing. When they were very little, I'd sit them in front of a disney movie and write. Once I saw the little people appear, I'd say..hey, was it good? Wanna watch it again? SNORT. Bad mommy. Bad Mommy.

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  8. Ha!!!

    I sit on a couch with a laptop, my back to the wall, so no sneaking possible or under desk reading. J really wants to be 18 to read my stuff though.

    Mostly it's when they come sit beside me to read their books and I have to angle the computer away from prying eyes for those scenes.

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  9. It's tricky, isn't it? My daughter started sneaking my Sherrilyn Kenyon stuff a long time ago and finally, I just gave up. LOL. She'll be 17 this summer and it hasn't stunted her growth yet! What it HAS done is make her a voracious reader. Of course, my son laughingly says...My mom writes PORN. I've had to smack him over that a time or two...SNICKER.

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  10. Hahaha...my mom let me read Clan of the Cave Bear at age 17, and a substitute teacher about had a heart attack when she saw me reading it!

    If I catch my teens getting close to me either when I'm writing or reading, they giggle and ask if I've got the porn on the screen again!

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  11. Boy, you sure hit the nail on the head. I could never write when my kids were growing up, not to mention all the years I was working. I so take my hat off to everyone who can do it. I'm not that compartmentalized. I guess that's why I just talked abut it for (unknown number of) years before I retired and ran out of excuses. You speak for all of us here, darlin'. Well, done.

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  12. It's almost an impossible task, Judith, but many do it and do it WELL. Now I'm producing MORE though. Sooo much more time!!

    LOL. MOLLY, you crack me up. You sound like ME. I've never been one of those paranoid mom's who overanalyzes stuff to death. My kids have always known the "exploding head" movies are fake, etc. When they were old enough to ask about sex, I told them. They manage to see the world as it is.

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  13. Hey, girlie. Another great post. It's so hard to write with a young one around. I'm at my computer as much as possible, and I start out with the most important tasks first. After school lets out, all bets are off as to whether or not I'll get anything else accomplished. And now summer's almost here. Oh lord!

    Wendi Darlin

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  14. I admire how you started writing with little kids running around. I didn't start until I was a grandmother!!! I read somewhere that Nora Roberts started writing when her kids were small enough to stay in their cribs. Yikes. My kids would have thrown fits or hurled themselves over the rails.

    Enjoy your writing time now. This is where discipline kicks in. And I need a good kick right now to get back to revising and adding to a historical romance I'm writing.

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  15. I used to write every moment I wasn't at work and didn't absolutely have to do a family/kid thing. Now, the Internet is a real time sucker. In order to write, I have to go somewhere, like Borders, where it isn't free and easy access. Of course, we all need our water cooler chats with friends, too.

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  16. I can remember sitting on the floor while my husband and kids sat on the couch. They were watching a movie and I was writing long hand.
    Now I sit with my laptop on a TV tray beside my hubby's bed. He watches TV while I write.
    But like you all, sometimes the water cooler chats and the promo get the best of me.
    Charlene

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  17. I have to admit, Anita, it's a whole lot easier to really produce with my kids older now. It was sheer insanity!!! I'm just NOW learning to make order out of what was once chaos!

    Get going on those revisions, WOMAN!!!
    Hugs!

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  18. Well, Wendi, I know yours is school age and oh does that EVER help. Once the kids were in school, I wrote like a fiend then did the other stuff after school. It was crazy but there was a method to the madness.

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  19. Oh yeah, Ashley. The internet sucks time like a Hoover sucks dirt. Don't be too hard on yourself though...we writers need that connection with other writers. I'd just lose it if I didn't have my buddies to talk with at least once a day.

    It's funny. I get tons of writing when my internet is down. I mean TONS but then the phone calls start. Are you okay??? What's going on??? Ahhhh. I love being loved!!! LOL

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  20. Hey Charlene! I do the same sometimes. I have a laptop on a small table in the master bedroom and when DH gets pouting about my missing time with him, I'll go in there and fire up the laptop. Then we can at least PRETEND to be normal for awhile. ACK. What's NORMAL????

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