When I read about the writers in days of old, I marvel at their output, their commitment and their complete and utter focus on their work. Sometimes days go by when I don’t write a word, but not for lack of trying. Family management, I’ve learned, is a thing, and it comes pretty close to being a full-time job. I manage the school work, extracurricular activities, long-term projects, medical needs and general care and feeding of two young humans, as well as the needs of a dog, a husband and a fifty-year-old house. I’m also trying to teach a workshop and write books.
And now that the holidays are upon us, preparation for family visits, out of town guests, gift shopping, baking and extra volunteer time gets added into the mix. Today I’m working with headphones on as the plumber cuts pipes in my bathroom. I can’t help but wonder: how did the writers of old do it?
They had help, of course. Tutors and nannies for the children; cooks for the meal-planning and preparation; doctors who came to the house and wives who did everything else. Come to think of it, many of the great female writers of history were either young and single or childless. But that’s another blog post for another day.
The point is, even when it’s not holiday time, we writers are always in the thick of things. It’s life, and it’s what gives us material to write about. It’s also what our readers look to escape from when they pick up our books. So today I’m going to try a new tactic: do some administrative tasks, then set the timer for an hour and write until it goes off. Then I’ll break for lunch and read over what I wrote, maybe answer some emails, and then do it again.
As easy as it would be to let the day get away from us, every day, with the demands of life and the call of social media, we owe it to our readers to schedule in time to write the books they’re waiting, itching, longing to read.