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Writing Life

Insomnia sucks. I have my rewrite dancing in my head and it won’t go away, so I’ve decided to just get up and obey the force that says, “Work on it already, damn it!” Which would be fine if I weren’t working on it every day as it is. My agent marked it up all nice and pretty with lots of red marks and comments, which wouldn’t bug me so much if she weren’t so right. Reading her comments all I can do is scratch my head and think, “Duh! Why didn’t that occur to me!” Reason number one why an agent is so valuable.

Another blogger, Writer Unboxed, wrote a piece on living the life of a professional writer. She writes that she thought writing would be “me quietly pursuing my stories under cloudy skies. There would be a cat on the windowsill, a dog by the fire.” And it brings me right back to my own memories of what I thought my writing life would be. I pictured a three room house in a Key West–type location. The kitchen is charming, in a colorful, Caribbean-kind of way. Next to it, the bedroom room is small and cozy. And running the length of the two rooms is a long living room, with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, French doors that open to a stone patio, my desk with a non-Internet-connected (although Internet didn’t exist when I originally created this fantasy) computer. No TV lives in this house. Just a radio for connection to the outside world. With the doors open, the indoors and the outdoors were seamless, and sometimes I’d sit on the patio table to write and other times I’d write surrounded by my books, only a cat for company. If I need something—say more wine or cheese or chocolate—I’d hop on my bike and get it. But otherwise, it’s a very solitary existence of which I dreamed.

Let’s contrast this with the reality: At the moment, my computer is perched on my lap while the rest of the family sleeps upstairs. This is as good as it gets. Normally I’m hunched on the kitchen counter or hiding in my office, trying to cram in quality sessions in between having to write the school newsletter, get into the kindergarten to volunteer, bake cupcakes for the Cub Scout barbecue, write an op-ed for our local override, or any of the other million things that have to be done in the six hours the children are in school. When they are home, there’s “What are you doing? What are all those marks on that writing? Can you get me a snack? Can you get my Shrinky Dinks down? Will you play Go Fish with me?” There is nothing romantic about this writing life, although I do have almost floor-to-ceiling book shelves in my family room.

But at least I’m writing. That part of the fantasy remains true. And to be honest, that’s all of the fantasy I really need. The rest is, well, just a fantasy. And it’s not even what I want anymore. Now I want, “What are you doing? What are all those marks on that writing? Can you get me a snack…?” The writing life needs a few challenges in it to keep it interesting, no?

And now, the fantasy is merely that I continue to write. So on that note, it’s back to the revision before the rest of the world wakes up….

One Comment

  1. Angela wrote:

    Loved this post :o) A lot of my writing happens in bed with my laptop sitting on my stomach, or while slouched on a bean-bag chair in my living room. The only requirement I have for writing is that I’m comfortable. Strangely enough, I’ve never written at a desk or a table.

    Oh, and yes, writing with kids is definitly a challenge. Those little creatures always want something. Who do they think I am? There mother? ;o)

    Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink