Let’s start this with a confession: I’m jealous of other writers.
Specifically those authors who get to stay at home and write all day. Those writers post their daily word counts on Facebook and Twitter and I cringe a little, knowing that mine will never compare.
But that’s okay.
It took me a while to come to this realization, but I’m a busy gal. Here’s a peek at the not-so-glamorous life of this particular author:
1. Teach five classes of high school students, everything from Psychology and AP European History to Economics and U.S. History
2. Squeak in a run (because I’m a glutton for punishment and signed up to run two half-marathons this year) or volunteer at my daughter’s school
3. Help with homework & piano practice
4. Clean/squeeze in social networking/cook dinner/hang out with the husband (who is often sadly neglected, especially if there’s a looming deadline)
5. Ferry the seven-year-old monkey to her various activities or otherwise generally entertain her with a round of Clue or Doctor Who Yahtzee
6. Get the seven-year-old monkey to bed
7. Wish I could collapse from exhaustion
But I can’t because…
Becoming a writer means having homework every night for the rest of your life.
Someone posted this on Facebook this weekend, and it’s absolutely true. Because every night, no matter how bleary my eyes are or how I want nothing more than to go to bed, I pull out my laptop and plug away.
Three pages every night.
It’s not much, but little by little those pages add up, and eventually I can type “The End.”
(And then celebrate with an ice-cream cake.)
In the meantime, I have to ignore the evil green monsters that rear their ugly heads when people post celebratory messages of writing a novel in two, three, or even four months. I have never, and will never, write that fast.
But that’s okay, because I have plenty of other wonderful things I get to do every day.
So, what does your writing schedule look like? Are you speedy like the hare, or like me, the dependable tortoise?
There are days I'm lucky to knock out three paragraphs, never mind three pages. But being busy is the name of the game when your name is Mom. I so hear you.
Truthfully, the only reason I think I can write as much as I do is because I stay off social media. I only blog once a week.
When I was still in college I used to be envious of writers who seemed to have all the time in the world to devote to their writing while I was rushing to get to class on time, finish my reading, pass my exams and write five essays. On the week end I might crank out five pages. I might hand write a paragraph or two between classes or on the bus. And then I graduated and didn't have a full time job and I got less done. Because my mind wasn't as busy or as inspired and because I kept trying to pull ideas directly from my brain onto paper instead of letting them incubate and develop first.
Conclusion: I'm a slow writer. I'm never going to crank out a book in a week the way some of my friends can. That's ok. I can take my time and be as busy or not busy as I need to be in between.
I'm struggling to write these days. I'm back working and when I get home I'm so darn tired. I write in the morning mostly…I get up an hour early to do so. But I'm not exercising and I need to be doing that. It's hard to fit it all in.
I'm not speedy. I wish! But my plots take a long time to gel – even after several drafts. I've tried to "correct" this process numerous times, but always end up doing the same thing again. I guess that is my process.
I'm thankful that my two oldest kids are out of the house and my youngest will be 14 next month, so she's pretty self-sufficient. That makes things a lot easier. Oh, and did I mention that she's a writer, too? We "talk shop" all the time and it is one of the biggest blessings of my life!
I've compared my progress to a snail on sedatives before. 🙂 But that's okay here too. Life is full, busy, chaotic and a heck of a lot of fun! 🙂
I bet if you were able to write full time you would get a lot more words on that page! I know how you feel, though. There's one published author in my writing group who can write a full length novel in 6 months. It took me 2 years to write my first and second book, and almost that long for #3.
I once wrote a novel in three weeks, and ever since then, whenever it takes me longer (which is…all the time) I get a little mad at myself. I've got to cut that out.
Anne–As I write this, I'm home with a sick kiddo. Being a mom is a full-time job!
Taryn–I feel that way every summer. I feel like I'm going to get so much writing done, but I never quite meet my goal.
Liza–I get a lot more done on non-exercising days, but I need to exercise to have enough energy to write. It's a vicious cycle!
Melissa–I tried to be speedy while writing The Tiger Queens, and ended up having to rewrite all 530 pages of the bugger. So now I'm back to my old, dependable system. It's much better!
Jemi–I'm a snail on sedatives too! Glad to know I'm in good company!
Renee–I wrote the first draft of The Secret History in 6 months, but needed 5 months to revise. So far that's my record!
Libbie–Yeah, I find I get cranky when I compete with myself. Each book is different, darn it! (And 3 weeks is crazy fast!)
I know the feeling. Work, marriage, kids, morgages, etc. all tend to eat up the day. But such is the challenge and opportunity of trying to have it all:)
Mark–And then when we do squeeze some writing in, it feels like a major accomplishment!
You get as much writing done as I do –maybe even a little more. And I get to write all day! I guess I'm just a slow writer. Or a very talented procrastinator. I think I love doing research too much.
You forgot blogging…and eating chocolate!!! 😀 And taking a shower. The list can go on and on and on….:) The life of a writer with kids and job, it's tough. You are amazing in all you do!!