We talk a lot on this blog about being driven to write, the manner in which we write, the focus of our writing. And deadlines. Let me not forget deadlines… Sigh.
Quick deadline update: I managed to get my (okay, Gwen’s) last contracted mystery book off to the editor three weeks early, and the short story for the action booklet for the role playing game based on the Rogue Mage series done. I am now halfway through with the next short story, this one for Strange Brew, an anthology about witches with Jim Butcher. And I am one scene away from being done with the first draft of Skinwalker, an urban fantasy novel about a Cherokee skinwalker, or skin changer. Then I have a bit less than two weeks to rewrite while I am on the road to two conferences. See my webpage about that, if you are in or near Charlotte N.C. or Ohio. Then? June 1? I am done, deadlines met.
At that point, I will actually take off for an extended break for the first time in nearly three years. Extended break, to be interpreted as several weeks. Maybe an entire month. I will rip out my overgrown front garden, put in new soil and over it with black plastic to steam through the summer. I will paint my parlor and maybe my writing room. Heck, maybe my bedroom! I will kayak down some rivers. I will search for funding for my writing project for needy schools. I will be busy doing the things I haven’t done for three years because I am crazy enough to write two books a year and still work full time.
But this blog wasn’t about deadlines, or even my version of rest, it was, and is, about the things that life throws our way, into our paths, like avalanches or barricades, or even armies with guns, that stop the muse, stop the writing, stop everything, because there is just not enough time in the world to write, and live, and breathe, and deal with crises, and bring home the bacon.
Things like health issues, or family illness, or emotional turmoil (drama) in the family. OMG, how do we, as writers who have to be creative and focused, deal with a parent’s divorce, or a brother’s drinking problem, or, heaven forbid, a death in the family? Or maybe just the more mundane issues that make it feel like we are jumping hurdles just to get through the day. For those with kids, it’s illness, doctor visits, dentist visits, soccer games, ballet classes, etc.. For me, it’s laundry, housecleaning, (yes, I know I have a housekeeper service that comes and shovels me out once a month, but I still have to vacuum, sweep, wash clothes and dishes, and keep up between visits) and being the support person for friends and family and their emotional and physical health issues. It is freaking tough. Mind you, I am not whining, not at all. Just talking about the facts of life that affect writers just like they affect readers. Our lives are not any easier just because we got a book or 20 in print. We have to deal with the same problems that anyone dies, and we still have to find a way to be focused and creative and *write*.
I can’t and don’t write when I am on the phone to a friend whose 80 year-old father is running a fever of 103 and being noncompliant about taking Tylenol and standing in a cool shower to get the temp down. This happened this week, late in the day, after doctor’s offices closed. My best pal since I was eight needed me. Do I care about deadlines at times like that? No. Honestly, when someone I love needs me, I chuck the WIP and the deadlines and give the needy one my full attention. It’s what we all do. David has sick kids, and he doesn’t write. Misty ditto. I have sick family members, ditto. Catie, who I am just coming to know, has family responsibilities too. And the writing? Well sometimes it has to take a backseat. Life gets in the way.
And I thank God for that. That I have family and friends and people I love. They (and their problems and their needs) sometimes get in the way of my deadlines.
And I just. Do. Not. Care. Because I do care about my extended family – the people I love.
So, today, after lunch, I will get back to the short story and try to finish the rough draft. And if I get interrupted? Well, them’s the breaks. I’ll write later tonight. Eventually, I’ll get it done.