Two weeks ago I got a “novel idea.” I was so excited to get started on a new book, and I was able to spend a few hours doing some pre-first-draft research. And then life happened.
In the past 13 days, my life has been filled with some big events, including (but not exclusively):
Holy Week (10 church services in six days)
Southern Wing and a Prayer Tour stop at my house March 31 (that's me with authors and radio show hosts Shellie Tomlinson and River Jordan)
Pascha (2 church services and lots of cooking and other preparations)
Writing the memorial brochure for the funeral services (and all that goes with) for Esther Elliott Longa
Visit from my daughter, Beth, from graduate school (and initial discussions about her upcoming graduation, job, housing, and future wedding plans—Beth was engaged to Kevin Davis on March 20!)
Hosting cookout for 20 members of our wonderful choir (at St. John Orthodox Church)
Helping with wedding shower for Caitlyn Manning (our delightful personal chef and dear friend)
Lots of phone calls to/from our son, Jason, who had emergency surgery (in Denver) last week
Memorial Service for my husband’s colleague and friend, Grant Somes, Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine, who died in a canoeing accident on the Mississippi River
And now this new week begins and I’m in the process of planning an engagement party I’m co-hosting (at our house) this coming Sunday night (for 40 people) and helping with the Orthodox Christian Translation Society’s “Sweet Treats for Many Tongues” event at St. John Saturday night.
And I’m overdue for a visit to my mother in Jackson, Mississippi. Gotta take the vacuum cleaner in to be repaired. Need a haircut. Have two women’s meetings on Thursday.
All that to say that my life is full and I’m so thankful for the “good parts” that fill my days, but I’m sitting here wondering when I’m going to write. I’m also wondering how people who have day jobs that require them to be somewhere away from home from 9-5 ever get any of the rest of “life” done. It’s a mixed blessing, this “leisure” that I have. Okay, yes, it’s a blessing. Period. But it’s obviously going to require some structure on my part if I’m ever going to get a book written.
I’ve tried setting aside 3 mornings a week to write. Or two full days a week. I’ve tried going to coffee shops or to the library to get away from the house and all of its reminders of other things I need to do. I’m wishing I had an office away from the house, or even a “room of my own” (which I hope to have in my next house) that felt separate enough that I could hang a sign on the door and ignore the phone and doorbell and temptations to go put in a load of laundry or check the mail. But I’m thinking that this “structure” that I need is mostly in my head. Just as the discipline that I need to exercise regularly is in my head, since the elliptical machine is right upstairs and I haven’t been on it in two weeks, either.
Maybe I haven’t quite acquired the mindset that I AM A WRITER—that THIS IS MY JOB. Or maybe I’m not ready to embrace the loneliness that I know it entails. I’ve got my “loner side,” but I’m really a people person.
I’ve read lots of writers’ blogs and web sites where they talk about making time for writing. One writer I follow talks about writing for two hours every morning BEFORE HER CHILDREN WAKE UP. Now that’s discipline.
I guess it’s going to come down to what I really WANT to do. It seems that I always make time for the things I want to do most. Just as I was thinking about changing the name of my blog to “Writer in Waiting,” I remembered that Kim Michele Richardson already has a blog with that name (and a published book, I might add.)
So, it’s 3:30 p.m. and I’ve got 2 hours ‘til my “scheduled” time to get on the elliptical machine (while my husband is jogging). How many words could I write in two hours? Can I really focus on drafting a novel with the broken vacuum cleaner lurking by the back door? Would it help if I moved it to the trunk of my car? We’ll see . . . .