Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reading, Writing, Reading, Writing...

My two favorite past times are reading and writing. As a stay at home mom I do a lot of each but it seems that there are days when I feel like doing only one or the other - I just want to read 'that great new book' that's out, or I have to get the next chapter of my own story on paper (or the screen, as the case may be). I'm not entirely sure what I should do on days like that though. To sit down and read, for pleasure, all day seems like I'm stealing something from my kids - aka Me - but to plunk down at the computer and write all day seems like just as much of an indulgence.

Where do you draw the line? When is it too much time reading or writing?

The advantage when reading is that you can get up, at any time really, and help the kids if they need it - find lunch, get dressed, go to the bathroom... You can pack your book around with you and steal a peek whenever you can squeeze it in. In the drive thru, while waiting to pick the kids up at school, and while cooking dinner you can have your book right there with you to read a few pages any chance you get.

Writing doesn't really give you that leisure. Yes, I can pack my laptop around with me and boot up 'where ever' I want to but the difference is in the convenience. You have to have more than just a couple minutes because otherwise you spend all your time turning your machine on and then opening the files you need. By the time you get down to writing, it's time move on to your next task of the day.

Now a lot of people I've talked to say that as a writer, I should be writing EVERY day. I do agree with that, to a certain degree, because if you're serious about writing a book it is your job, your career, and you need to treat it with the same respect. But that brings to mind, while my mind anyways, the flip side of my earlier questions.

How do you know when it's enough? Do you use daily quota's? X number of words or X number of pages a day? A certain number of hours? What about on those days when the creative juices just aren't flowing and you can't write a word? It doesn't do you a bit of good to sit there staring at a blank screen or to beat your head against the desktop. Do you turn away and do something different for the day or do you find a different project that you can write on????

I guess as someone who's still trying to figure out what works best for myself, these are things that bother me every once in awhile. I won't deny that there are some days when I'm loathe to even turn on my computer. Other days when even though I could write, I'd much rather read something. I'm trying to find a balance that works for me. A system, and the time, that allows me to work and relax to the best of my abilities... And I sure hope that my efforts will be worth it, kids and guilt aside, I enjoy writing too much to give it up. I don't know that I could go back to a typical 9-5 job and be happy.

Here's keeping my fingers crossed...

Monday, February 9, 2009

So... How's It Going?

I just love to hear this question... eight times a day... from the same person.

I know that people are curious, especially the people in my family, but come on, do you really think things have changed that much in an hour?... or even in two?? And with you calling, or texting, me all the time do you really think that I'm actually getting anything done?

Deep breaths.

Yeah, it's been one of those days. Actually it's been one of those weeks. I have a lot of respect and a great deal of affection for my mother but not even I want to talk to her that many times a day. Especially not when my brains already blocked and "the writing" (as she's calling it) hasn't been going super smooth. She's being supportive, which I really do appreciate, but sometimes I wish that she could be a bit less obvious in her support.

Overall the current work-in-progress is moving along... albeit slowly the last couple of days, but it is moving and I guess I can just be grateful that things haven't slowed to a stand still. I am grateful. Extremely grateful, actually.

I got a great note from someone today though that really put things in perspective. It didn't say anything that I haven't heard before but I think, maybe, I just needed to hear it all again so that I could remember that the battle is half the fun... Here's what Shay said:

"I spent eighteen months on my book, including the second rewrite. I thought it was great, gave it to a good friend who read it and explained why it would never get published. I was knocked back, gutted, but took on board what he'd said, actually agreed with him, and now I'm giving it another go. Most writers say that the first book is a stepping stone, a learning experience, and the writer gets better with each book. Unless lucky, the first won't always get published. But that just made me more determined to keep trying until I get that first one right. I want to get published mainstream. I've heard its a really long difficult road. But the process of writing is so satisfying, in this case, the destination isn't the be all and end all. The challenge of getting there has to be reward in itself or whats the point?"

So the answer to the question of the day???

It's going.