The experts tell us (trust me – I read their books) that if we want to be taken seriously as writers, we must make writing a priority. Put it on the calendar, then show up for work/to write. Say “No” to things that compromise our writing time. Write first, then whatever else.
But, what about LIFE?
What about kids, and laundry, and doctor appointments, and groceries, and letters to Mom and Dad (because my parents really do appreciate written letters, and because I love them enough to write), and Sunday school lessons, and …
Sure, I suppose I could insist THOSE THINGS ARE JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN UNTIL I GET MY WRITING DONE FIRST!, but, nope, not gonna happen. Because whatever else I am, I am a mother and a daughter and a sister first. Even before I am a writer.
And now, because I was already struggling so unsuccessfully to manage my writing time, given all the other demands on my time, I’ve added an outside job to my commitments. Go figure.
But, hey, Doug Wilson says in his craft book Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life that it is also important for writers to DO LIFE. Do real things, in the real world, with real live people, so that we can speak the language and actually have something meaningful and relevant to say. What, I ask, can be more real life, meaningful, and relevant than BLOOD? Since this new job is all about blood (and pee and poop), that should be good for my writing, right?
If only I had time to write.
But here is the cool thing…
Yes, I am struggling to find time to write consistently. H***, YES. So far, I’ve managed to keep up my weekly newspaper columns; at the blog, I’m producing one post per week instead of two, but I’m persevering and I’ll get back to 2/week production eventually. The book? Nada. Except that the story line and the characters are often in my thoughts.
The book is incubating. And while writing the book would be the ideal, incubation is not a bad thing.
This job may be eating into my writing time, but it is making me softer, giving me eyes to see people in a different light, creating in me a greater love and empathy for those who are broken and dying…and that’s all of us, really, if you think about it.
I was once presented this “book formula” at a writing conference: Problem. Worse. Solved.
I like this one better: Eden. Fall. Grace. Glory.
Eden. Fall. Grace. Glory. That’s the story of my life. It’s every redeemed sinner’s story. It’s the only story worth writing, one that never ever gets old, one that even hard hearts are hungry to hear.
It’s the story of my writing journey, too. And since I know how this story ends, I am content to press ahead as I am able, a little at a time. Even if today – again – dinner and family and blood crowd out the book.
Writers write. Unless they don’t.
But if we don’t, we will tomorrow.