Don't forget our Keep Angel Company contest! Today we have Mary Freeman guest blogging with us. Besides being one of our chapter mates, she's a really cool lady! Like some of the Playfriends, she juggles writing with family and other work. Let's see how she does it!
As with all writers, I’ve been living in my head for as long as I can remember. I thought that if I did enough, I’d stop daydreaming. So I traveled, spent time in the military, studied art, became a nurse, and had a family. It just created more stories. I gave in. It took me a few years, but I finally joined RWA and Heart of Dixie. Of course, I wondered -why did I wait so LONG? At last I have a group of people with the same need to write those stories that beg to be told.
I am unpublished book wise, but I have a few non-fiction articles published. My heart is in fiction; specifically paranormal. I also like suspense and fantasy. At the moment, I am working on a partial that I going to submit to Harlequin Nocturne.
So here I am ready to write a blog while the Playfriends are away at nationals. (yes, I’m envious, but NEXT year I’m there!). Hmmm, what to do first… Ha! I’ve stolen Instigator’s Horns, taken a page from Problem Child’s file, copied from Smarty Pant’s paper, blown the Play Ground Monitor’s whistle, and thoroughly bothered Angel… I am quite the wild child… I guess the next thing to do is write the BLOG!!!
SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM….
(Or, Write when you can)
One of the first things as a writer that everyone has to learn is: YOU MUST WRITE. In my dreams I have the whole day to write, in a quiet secluded spot with a candle burning, coffee (or tea) at my side, music softly playing (depending on the story), and no interruptions.
Nice dream. (Are you laughing yet…because that did make me snicker a bit)
The reality is a whole lot different. Like with a majority of writers out there, I work full time in a job that requires a minimum of 45 hours a week, call on some weekends, and a holiday or two. Those dratted bills just don’t go away, no matter how many times I’ve paid them. Add in two girls (ten and seven) who require me to get them to and from school (Why can’t they drive at six?), a husband, and one neurotic cat. For some reason, they like to be fed occasionally. The laundry needs to be done- even if I insist my child wear that shirt one more time. The dishes are always there, although I use paper plates whenever possible. I swear the cups just breed on their own (we can start with two and end up with twenty by the end of the day.) It all equals to a very busy life.
Oh, and there’s the matter of this partial that I have to finish.
How in the world do I write? When do I write? I write when I can. This isn’t about time management, it’s about necessity.
Many years ago while in basic training, I received some invaluable advice from one of my drill sergeants (in one of those rare moments when they weren’t trying to make you cry). He was trying to make all of us understand the importance of the small breaks we would get. They would last anywhere from five minutes to hours. He said “Take any breaks you get and use them”. He illustrated this by talking about his time as a raw recruit. When breaks occurred he and his fellow soldiers would be ordered to “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” (smoking was accepted then). He added if you didn’t smoke then most everyone else would sit down, shut their eyes and get cat naps because they never knew when they would get the next opportunity to do so. I ignored that advice…but not for long.
Toward the end of basic training we were marched out to the field. Now, consider this, it was a large group of women of varying ages and backgrounds carrying ruck-sacks that weighed anywhere from thirty plus pounds on up walking, sometimes running, for twelve miles. Let’s just say, nary a one made it without vocalizing something. It was only the beginning. There was night training, guard duty rotation, putting up tents (imagine five women, one tent, and a frustrated drill sergeant- I still cringe), digging of foxholes, gas mask drills, physical fitness training, etc. There was little time to relax or sleep. That’s when I understood what my drill sergeant had meant. Anytime a break was called I found that if I leaned against my hated ruck-sack I could get a few minutes of blissful shut-eye. One time, I got about an hour or two, it was heaven.
I still follow that advice, but not with sleeping, with writing. I write at odd hours. If I have a moment, I write because I am not sure when the next time will occur.
I have read that you have to keep a schedule. I am not sure about you, but every time I try a schedule something screws it up. I have to go to work early, I get off late, my children get sick, my cat throws up, I get sick…you know how it goes. Life happens. Sometimes I write just before I go to work, about five-thirty in the morning (I may get 30 minutes). I write at night after the kids are in bed and before I pass out due to pure exhaustion. Still, after a day of getting chewed out at work, coming home to fighting kids, burning dinner, and having a grumpy husband-I just go to bed and don’t write anything. It’s better to start fresh the next day.
At the moment I wrote most of this blog outside as my kids are swimming, my husband is cleaning the patio furniture (I hate cleaning the patio furniture). I am writing when I can and where I can. I am learning to bring my computer on business travel (those dratted layovers) and on family trips.
Before I whine too much, let me just say I am lucky. I have a husband who really helps out. He cooks (ok, we have scrambled eggs and pizza way too many days in a week), does laundry (washes, folds, and puts away. So what if I can never find it? I am NOT complaining), and coerces the kids to help clean the house. He does this because I work long hours and to support my writing. It’s not always perfect, but it’s a gift and I take it as such.
Tell me how you write? When do you write? Do you have support while writing? Is it worth it? For readers, what do you do with those little pockets of time that come your way?
For me, that answer is a resounding yes.
Don't forget to comment! One lucky winner from today's comments will be announced on Saturday.