Monday, March 26, 2012

WSG 7: And Life Goes On

Writer's Survival Guide Part 7: And Life Goes On

It's easy to get so caught up in my writing dreams that life around me goes by in a haze. At times nothing feels as important or immediate as my work-in-progress, writing a blog post, checking Twitter, or any of the other tasks I attend to each weekday. I routinely slip into "the zone" when revising, writing, or even thinking about these things.

Since I am excrutiatingly aware of this all-or-nothing tendency in myself, I work hard to practice present moment awareness. Sometimes I'm more successful than others! And sometimes I cringe when I realize my kids have been talking to me for three minutes and I have no idea what they said. Being a writer can be humbling in more ways than one.

Writing with the intent of being traditionally published has been a long, intense journey for me. I don't want to wake up one day with a contract in my hand and no recollection of the previous years outside of writing.

On Friday, I woke up to no Internet. Our modem went wonky. I ended up at our gorgeous library for most of the morning. With a soaring glass wall overlooking the river, spacious tables wired for technology, and free WiFi, the library is a soothing oasis, ideal for the frazzled writer in me. I enjoyed it so much, I might make it a weekly habit. I imagine some of my fondest memories from this year could be of me sitting before the view of rushing water, Great Blue Herons, Canadian Geese, and an island full of trees.

We had a busy weekend, one of those rush around for this and that weekends, and I fell onto the couch last night completely exhausted. But I was happy too. I'd been able to cook three delicious meals, take my kids to various birthday parties, and give back to our community through MVRWA's Spring Book Lover's Event. Sure, I had two novels I would have loved to read, a stack of magazines begging for my attention, and a mini-wiener dog ready to snuggle, but again, I knew the activities we chose would fulfill me and my kids. I don't regret a thing.

What I'm trying to say, in a roundabout way, is that while writing is important to me, the rest of my life is too. Rather than putting my life on hold for years, I'm living it. And loving it. And still losing myself in my work-in-progress for hours on end!

Do you ever find yourself turning down activities because you "should write"? How do you prevent yourself from disengaging from life?

Have an amazing Monday!


  1. No, I'll almost always accept invitations from friends and go to events! And spend time with my kids. Balance is important and my kids are only here for so long.

  2. If anything I'm probaby one of those writers who don't take their writing as seriously as I should and accept ANY and all invitations and events. LOL
    If I was on an actual deadline, it would be a little different, but right now it's all about family. :)

  3. LOVE this reminder, Jill. I tend to get tunnel vision as well. The thing is, there will always be more writing I could do, even once I'm published (positive thinking here!). I'm like you...I don't want life to pass me by.

  4. Laura: Good for you! I am so with you on the kids not being with us forever. When they were babies each day felt like an eternity, but once they hit school--BAM! They're off!

    Jennifer: Ha! Too funny, Jennifer! The thing is--your life works. You get your writing done AND enjoy your family. That's a good thing!

    Lindsay: I'm all about the positive thinking! And about tunnel vision--it's hard to drag myself away sometimes!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. Oh yes...I turn down activities all the time for writing. And lately, I've been fighting guilt when I'm not writing. But God has sent me a few reminders lately that relaxation is important, too...spending time with the real people I love will always be more fulfilling than the pretend people I love. :)

    Thanks for the much-needed reminder!

  6. Yep. I can't tell you how many times the preschool moms have begged me to go out and do such and such with them and I ache to tell them that preschool time is my golden time...those golden writing hours.

    Glad you had a busy, but fun weekend!
    ~ Wendy

  7. I do turn down events to write, but I prioritize what events are important. Mostly it's Tupperware, candle, and jewelry parties. I just don't like them. So maybe it isn't because "I should be writing" maybe that's my excuse instead of saying, "Ugh, those things suck. I'm not coming." LOL

    Excellent points today, Jill! Glad you had an amazing weekend and 3 meals. Impressive!

  8. I don't necessarily turn down events, but I find myself always feeling guilty. I should be writing, I should be marketing, etc. And then I go to bed thinking about all the book stuff I need to do. The hardest part for me is shutting my mind off.

    Good for you on having such a great weekend, and thanks for the reminder not to let life pass us by.

  9. I do turn things down to write.

    I also have more time to write now that my kids are grown. St Patty's weekend, hubby and I took a road trip down state. It was wonderful to step out away from my current WIP AND my day job, and just enjoy the moments and beautiful weather with my family.

  10. I don't think I have ever done that. My dream of children came before my writing dream. Spending time with them was and is always more important.

    I did manage to take time to write four novels while they were home and one more later. If I ever get the huge urge to write essays or novels again, I'll make time. I can do that.

  11. Melissa: It's hard because we're so torn to focus on our love--writing, but we can focus on it too much. As with everything else in my life, I find there are times I'm worse about it than others!

    Wendy: I have two dear friends here who routinely invite me to exercise with them in the morning, and I HATE having to tell them no. But it's my writing time, and I don't have the same time at night. :( I feel for you!

    Jessica P: Ha! I don't consider those parties things to turn down--they're the perfect excuse to stay home and write! Why are all those home-show products so expensive?? And why do they take two hours out of a night? I'm with you on this one!

    Stacy: Oh, I feel guilty about everything too. I should be writing, or exercising, or spending time with the kids, or reading this book, or cleaning... It never ends!!

    Loree: Your St. Patty's Day weekend sounds like it was a ton of fun! Just you and the hubs--perfect!

    Nancy: I'm with you. We all have different #1's, and mine have always been my hubby and kids. Writing comes right after! Congratulations on all those novels--what an accomplishment!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  12. Awesome post, Jill!

    For a while, I was way off balance when it came to my writing. I still have days where I don't hear my kids for 3 minutes like you mentioned. :) But overall, I feel like God has been freeing me to enjoy the moments I have right now. They'll pass by so quickly!

  13. Jill:
    I can get lost in my writing. If I have an appointment in the last morning or a meeting to attend, I try to stay off my computer because I make it a policy to not be late to meetings.

  14. Jill, thank you for this thoughtful post. I have found that my wonky (loved your word choice!!) technology days have landed me in some moments to be savored with family, whispered a reminder to me that it's not about staring at a screen all day. :)

  15. Sarah: My personality leans toward off-balance--I like to immerse myself in tasks! But managing our household and the kids' activities alone with my writing career has injected much needed balance. :) God is good at giving us what we need!

    Quietspirit: Oh, so do I! I was 5 minutes late picking the kids up on Monday because I lost track of time. I'm glad I'm not alone!

    Amanda: I love how you worded that--moments to be savored. Isn't that the truth? Sometimes I need a break from it all!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!


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