In the middle of mega-time with my kids and barely a moment to myself, I hardly feel like the person who should be dispensing advice, much less the writer dispensing advice. But I’ll tell you what I’ve been thinking about lately.
THIS IS HARD. Not in the traditional blood, sweat, and tears way (well, okay, there have been tears) kind of way. For me, and I think many others, it’s just difficult to get the work done. Something always gets in my way. And when I finally sit down and “get creative” I find I’m completely disconnected from my story because it’s been days/weeks/months (you get the gist) since I’ve sat down to write, to REALLY write.
I know there are people out there who from their endless wellspring of creativity can just sit down and write for an hour while their daughter goes to soccer or their son to fencing. I try not to think mean thoughts their way. Lately, where I’ve found success is realizing that this thing that I do must not be called upon at random, around a construct that is not my own. I write better when the time is mine and when I have an entire morning or afternoon or both to spend with my characters. I’m clearer that way and so are they. You see, and this may be true for many writers, my characters speak to me. To go even further, mostly I feel I am just a conduit for them to tell their own story. Imagine how difficult it would be to “channel” five or more people’s voices and write in their language if I weren’t clear and connected to the source. The source being my sense of self, my sense of well being, my self-respect. I’m closer to this place when I can discern the construct and what it may or may not provide for me that day.
How does respecting myself have anything to do with when I write or when I only think about writing? It means that while I’m in the midst of kid and life chaos, I respect what I do and when I do it best. I allow myself to be the person I am and I don’t cajole myself for being the person I’m not. The intention around this practice is two-fold. One, it lets me off the hook just a little while it’s basically impossible schedule-wise to do much in the way of channeling characters. Two, it allows me to be me without the excuse making. Respecting ourselves is sexy and if I ain’t sexy, my characters certainly aren’t going to be either.