Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Writing Life. It sounds so idyllic, doesn’t it? When I think of “the writing life,” I get an image of someone sitting by a pond with a journal, blissfully scribbling away their thoughts. Or maybe typing because they’d like to be able to read those thoughts again later. And then I think about my “writing life” and I have to laugh.

A typical day in the life for me runs a lot like a typical day for any homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. The baby tends to wake up first. The sounds of him experimenting with language and volume eventually wake up his older brother who then comes in to see if it’s time to get up yet, despite having a clock next to his bed that turns green when it’s okay. It’s usually not green. He just wants to make sure that it didn’t break overnight. (This is his reasoning – he’s a little writer in training.)

So we get up and there’s coffee (glorious, glorious coffee) and breakfast and squabbling about whose waffle is larger (Answer: The machine that stamps out the waffles and freezes them for boxing does not vary in size. No matter how much it looks like your brother’s waffle is different, it isn’t) and who got more butter (Answer: Your brother did. Because I love him better, obviously.) and can I please have some coffee too? (Answer: No.) All during this time, I’m trying to mull over whatever plot point I’m currently stuck on – because I’m always stuck on something. I only seem to get unstuck by making myself keep writing and promising to figure it out later.

Then it’s time for a spin in the idea box – or as most people call it the shower. Honestly, I get the best ideas in the shower. There’s something about all that steam and quiet (oh, the quiet!) that loosens up the old brain (and the sinuses, so bonus there during allergy season.) I quickly scribble down the ideas when I’m out and then wrangle the boys into clothes. And then it’s off to whatever chores/playdate/cleaning marathon is scheduled for the day.  All the while I’m people watching and blatantly eavesdropping on conversations to try and see if there’s something I can use in my next story.

After lunch (same general squabbling as breakfast, but most of the time not with waffles), it’s nap slash quiet time. This is when I actually get to write on my computer. It goes something like this:

Tuck kids in bed, older one with books. Kisses, hugs, lots of love. Sneak downstairs and boot up the computer.

Run upstairs. “Shh. You’ll wake your brother.”
“I have to go potty.”
“So go.” Return downstairs and open Word.
Run upstairs. “Shh. You’ll wake your brother.”
“I need a drink of water.”
“You have cups in your bathroom. Go get a drink.”
“I can get up for a drink?”
“And the potty.”

Back downstairs. Skim over what I wrote last to try and remember where I am. Look at my ideas from the shower this morning. Realize they don’t work for this story at all, but file them away for something else another time. Wonder if I have any old ideas that might work. Dig around for old scraps of paper, find nothing. Just start typing and promise myself I’ll figure out the issue during editing. Get about 200 words written and realize I’m thirsty. Get a drink. Figure out where I was and keep typing. In a perfect world, I’d get two solid hours of writing here. What usually happens is the phone or the doorbell rings (or, bonus, both at the same time!) Handle the issue, get back to writing.

“Mom, I can’t sleep.”

Realize it’s pretty much the end of quiet time anyway. Save, close the document. Dig out school and do that. Then it’s play time and hubby gets home and then dinner time and bed time. And then, finally, when the boys are in bed, it’s back to the computer with a word count or time deadline firmly fixed in
my mind. Most days I make myself meet that deadline, other days I cave and watch Dr. Who instead.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Elizabeth's latest release, Serenity to Accept.


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