No Time For Writing Grinches.

Holiday planning and writing. There’s room for it all.

“If I were you, I’d just screw the writing and focus on those grandkids,” a long-time acquaintance said to me, handing back the pictures of my two adorable grandkids that I was showing her at a pre-holiday party we were attending. 

I literally let it go in one ear and out the other, but in my gut I knew I had just been given my next blog subject. 

This woman had also just asked about and listened to the progress on my novel while I shared with her how my recent submission package was sitting on an editor’s desk, and I hadn’t heard a thing back yet, and this is how it goes in publishing today . . . it’s not quick and easy . . . and yadayadayada. 

Even in light of such a rash statement as the one she made to me, I remain grateful when people at parties ask me about the writing progress. Doesn’t bother me a bit, and I use these opportunities to share with them the realities of the industry, and most of them are usually stunned into silence to hear of the difficulty in navigating the world of words. 

This acquaintance is not a mean-spirited person, and I do not believe she was trying to sabotage my writing work life/efforts and dreams. She was, however, approaching it from her perspective—not mine. She clearly doesn’t understand how it works, and that’s okay.

Evidently, it is supposed to be something that you toy with until something else, something better–like grandchildren—come along. I couldn’t help but wonder if she’d make such a statement to, say—a lawyer or an interior designer—or a doctor. 

You will never read a written word from this woman because she doesn’t get it. 

It isn’t either/or—it is work it in—amongst it all—squeeze it in . . .  in the car on the way to lunch out with your husband, draft in the airport on a yellow lined tablet, outline something sitting on a plane, stay up extra late at night to be sure you meet the deadline, jot down those thoughts that come to you while having a cup of tea at the coffee shop. Sit down to the laptop while that pan of cookies bake. 

When I was still working in the cubicle-world, I was drafting on a poem—a poem that came to me while I drove home on a lovely, smooth new roadway close to our house. Ribbon-smooth, it was, and the sky that September evening was like sparkling liquid gold, and the words were just begging to go down on paper. I kept the draft of that poem on the island next to our cook top—and every now and then while I was browning hamburger or making soup, I’d glance down and read through the poem . . . nah, that’s not quite right—move that word down here—get rid of that word—maybe move that whole phrase up a ways . . . 

You get the idea? 

I did that for a year. I eventually finished that short poem and entered it in two contests over time. It placed in both contests. And I still managed to finish cooking a whole lot of suppers throughout that year, and get into work in the mornings while editing a poem a little at a time. 

And now I have these two exceptional grandkids, and I don’t miss an opportunity to be with them and hold them—and I won’t. 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I love to cook for people—especially my family. We don’t run out to the closest buffet. That is fine if you like that. I don’t happen to want to do it that way. And the kids and the grandkids will be here. 

Today I did some cooking/prep for the big day coming up. I ran out to shop a bit for some items, and now I’m seated with the laptop writing a blog post—and then I’ll go back to doing more cooking/prep once I get this posted out to the cyber-space. And probably tonight I’ll return to the laptop and draft—something. 

I think my acquaintance is missing out on something more, but that’s for her to sort out—or not. There is no either/or. 

As for myself, I want the writing, the grandchildren, the holidays, the lunches out with my hubby and friends, the freelance work—and eventually a place in the sun for the novel. 

When I hold a Christmas tea here in our home in a few weeks, there will be magazines sitting out on the coffee table; magazines that make it into thousands of homes each month–and they will contain stories written by me. 

“Screw the writing?” 

I think not, my dear old acquaintance.

How about you? 

How will you combat your “screw-the writing” Grinches?


8 thoughts on “No Time For Writing Grinches.

  1. You are right on! It isn’t either/or. It is your passion. Just like your grandkids! The difference is… we don’t carry around pics of that novel we are working on. 😉
    So proud of ya! Keep writing grammy!

  2. Your last response hit the nail on the head. We all tend to think that what we do is “important”, while what others do is . . . not so much. Or maybe not comprehensible. Or maybe silly, or just a plain waste of time. While I never have considered myself a writer, I have always had an appreciation for the written word and for the author of those words. That happened for me upon reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in 5th grade and I was transported to that raft in the middle of the Mississippi. Wow! What skill to take 26 letters, use them over and over again and turn them into something that moves you.

    To those folks who don’t “get it”, try to be understanding, because it is their lack of understanding about what you do and how you do it that causes them to make the comments they make. You have the right stuff to write right, right?

    • Thanks, Chris. Much appreciate the commentary and sentiment of understanding here.

      Your being a musician is why you understand this so well. And for what it is worth–I have a feeling you could do some pretty solid work if you took up the pen . . .

      See you Saturday night perhaps–at Marett’s?


  3. It was a fortuitous post to read as this coming Saturday I attend my last book signing. It happens to most writers who are allowed to grow old and feeble ( a possible exaggeration) but none the less, my comment is this;in the years I have written there were 12 novels published, 2 non-fictions published, 3 books still in limbo but completed, and thus over 1 million words. In all of that, my most meaningful at this juncture is my body of work about my family. They were pecifically written so my grandchildren would “know their roots” and read stories about themselves and know how they fit in. So no matter what else transpires, dear R’becca, the writing and the grandchildren go hand in hand. They are a catalyst for your writing as much as your scheduled blog post. If you were not working on one, you’d be doing the other.

    Like the drive home from work, time with the grandchildren inspires and promotes the written word. It is inescapable, undeniable, and definitely the best calling in the world. At least to you and to me. So “Writing Grinches” be gone before the “Writing Wenches” take over and completely banish you to the nether regions where libraries are banned and story hours are only seconds long. Writer’s Rule.
    Your over the top writing pal.

    • Thank you, Joyce.

      One million words. Whoa doggies–that is one big stack of effort and work–and the BEST kind of trail to leave in our wake–yes?

      Hoping to see you soon.

      Now stick those fingers in a bowl of ice water and let them cool and rest for a bit.


  4. Wonderful post – and I think I can speak for writers everywhere when I say we’ve all had a run-in with this type of Grinch. They’re out there, everywhere. The only ones who truly understand writing are, well, writers. It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. A passion.

    There is always something waiting to be written, and someone ready to write it.

    • Good evening, and thank you for stopping in and commenting! I appreciate your sentiment–and your writerly camaraderie on the topic.

      Honestly, don’t you just wonder if lawyers, judges, doctors–interior designers encounter this same style of flak? I’m sure they get their own flavor of grief, however.


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