Most people think that writing is what we do at the PC or laptop or with pad and pen. That we live inside our heads and only when actively pounding away at the keyboard or scritching madly on the pad. The writers among us know that is simply not true. Our minds get caught up in the lives of our characters and suddenly we are writing all the time—driving, eating supper, walking the dogs, paddling a particularly good river (okay that one is mostly just me,) and worst of all, while having a conversation that is important to our mates but not so much to us. Or maybe that one is just me, too?
I try not to get too personal here on MagicalWords.Net but I need to confess something. It’s supposed to be good for the soul, yes? When I’m writing I ignore the hubby. A lot. It’s not so hard for him when I’m pounding away on the PC, because it’s obvious that I am engrossed in someone else. He doesn’t even mind that it is often someone younger, prettier, and more buff then he. And he gave up trying to figure out who I pattern my character’s love interests on when he realized that most of them were based on no one or a childhood crush or someone I passed on the street or saw on TV, and then totally changed so they are unrecognizable to most folk. (Though he does offer to work through any sex scenes I might have write, but that is another subject entirely.)
Sorry. Got off track there. He doesn’t mind that I am writing when I’m physically writing. But he does get ticked off—sometimes really ticked off—when we are talking about golf (which I don’t play yet) or a new river he wants to run (which I haven’t seen, haven’t researched, and have no opinion about yet) and I drift off. I totally lose track of what we are talking about, where we were in the conversation, and he gives me this…look. Do you know the one I mean? Not quite mad, not quite hurt, not quite disappointed, but sort of…painfully exasperated, maybe. I always rush to apologize and turn my total attention to him but the damage has been done. I was writing and got lost within my own world. The world I was building with him disappeared and I…I forgot him. It is a crisis of relationship that many writers face with the their loved ones.
There was a time, for a while after the hubby first fell in love with golf, when we had two totally different conversations every evening on our walks. He was talking about golf, this wonderful shot or this amazing putt, and I was talking about writing, a conversation with an agent or a really great scene or a difficult plot point I’d worked out. The conversations had no give and take but we both accepted it because it was our lives we were sharing, not really info. But it’s different when I drift off and leave him alone in the room. If I am not careful, that can hurt.
My relationships all suffer when I am actively creating—that internal creativity that we do that takes place under the surface of the skin in the deeps of our minds, but sometimes swims to the surface and catches us in its jaws and pulls us down with it. My mom sees it too. Others writers laugh when it happens, when we’re having tea or lunch and one of us drifts away. We understand that that no one—no celebrity or politician or anyone—is more interesting than the people in our brains. We understand. But we do have to be very careful not to hurt the people we love when we are writing.