“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?