Sunday, May 10, 2009

Writerhead vs. Real World: The Great Battle

When I write, I focus--usually to the exclusion of all else.

"No, I can't change his diaper. I'm in the middle of edits."

"No, I don't care. Tell the Publishers Clearinghouse van to drive on--I'm in the middle of a sex scene, here!"

Writerhead is Mr. Hyde--surly, with no sense of time. When I get into the project, I spend hours. During NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I tried the whole "bits and pieces" approach. It wasn't pretty.

Even when the oversoaked diaper falls off of its own accord, someone has to slap another on that chubby bum-bum (though potty-training is moving along nicely, thanks for asking). The business clients do not serve themselves. And as for the PC van? For God's sake, pry me out of my chair with a crowbar if necessary please

When I talk to productive, prolific authors, what fascinates me most is their lifestyle. How do they structure their days so that they can get 2-6 novels polished in a year and not detach completely from friends and family? Are those they love merely more tolerant (and out of diapers?) Or do they stick to rigid writing schedules with military discipline and buckets of inner fortitude?

And you? If you write, when do you read? When do you pay bills? How do you balance real life and writerhead?


  1. Sometimes it seems that being a writer you have two seperate lives. I have tried to integrate those two together. I find that it is a mixed balance of my day.
    I work outside the home the first four hours of the day and when I come home, I check emails and pay a bill if I need to.
    I write sitting in my mini-van waiting for my kids to get out of school. I have over an hour of waiting. I lay back the seats and get lost in my head. I can get 1500 words done in that time.
    After school, we do homework, I cook dinner (all while laundry is going) write a little more and before bed I usually read a little.
    I don't work on Friday's, so I spend that morning catching up with friends.
    Above all my husband and children come first.

  2. Tonya,
    How great that you are so productive in the van--you've made it your office away from home. It sounds like you've created your structure and it's in alignment with your priorities. I'm taking notes!

  3. Well, even though i'm only 13,I'm writing a book. To answer your question of how I deal with daily life and the writing...well,
    I deal with it by simply write when I feel like it and when I run out of steam, I stop.

  4. Dear P. Princess,
    I'm so glad you are writing now. You have 25 years on me, so use them well and joyfully. A little old lady advice--learn to write when you DON'T feel like it, too. Maybe set aside 15 minutes a day for writing come hell or high water. I know a lot of successful (as in, millions of people read their books) writers, and what I've learned from them is not to wait for the "good stuff" to come out. Write down the crap, too--so the good stuff has a way to bubble to the surface.

    Good for you! Keep at it.

  5. In answer to your questions, I don't. I'm still waiting for myself to get on one of those schedule things.

  6. Crystal, if it ever happens, let me know what it's like. I hear rumors from Tonya (who, friends, blogs at ChasingHeroes!)