Or, rather, Life vs. The Author.
In the red corner: the undisputed champion of adventures, experiences and relationships, your closest enemy – LIFE!!
In the blue corner: the King of Cloud Nine, the dreamer of dreams, the bringer of lives, the Doomstress – The AUTHOR!!
Round one! *ding ding*
The age-old author’s problem – when real life gets in the way. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Life is throwing you mean punches (Life could actually be giving you a fruit basket or a nice cuddly toy) but it does always mean that great portions of the time you used to use writing end up slipping away.
Your blog suffers. Your novel suffers. Your imagination suffers – especially if Life is giving you information and education, because your writerly brain needs to push out all the interesting stuff and find space for the important Real Life stuff. Sometimes, you don’t even have a spare moment to daydream, and when you do you find you’re too tired to even try to sit down and write a sentence, and instead you want to sit and watch daytime TV.
Life’s biggest attack: The Brain Drain.
This can be unavoidable. For example, I’ve just started a brand new job and got a place at university starting September. Do I have time to write the blog about Circle and Son of Songs that I promised you? Not at all. Do I have time to even consider that they exist? Not right now. Do I have time to even start Chapter Nine of Heath of Fire? Are you kidding me?
But I’m trying. I snuck in a little bit of Son of Songs this afternoon, despite the drooping eyelids. I even spell-checked the last part of Circle that I wrote. It’s important to exercise the muscle.
The Author hits back with a little determination. Life, rather unfased.
Because what The Brain Drain often leads to is – you guessed it –
The Author hits the deck!
Round two. *ding ding!*
Writer’s Block is an altogether tricky subject that I’m largely going to avoid right now. We all know that, eventually, the writer will hit back. Whether or not Life affords us this sudden glint in the darkness with a gem of experience or inspiration, or whether or not you just push on, it’ll pass eventually.
The Author swings round with resiliance! Life stumbles!
Life hits back with Time Commitments! The Author blinks stars from her eyes!
Where does all that time go? Work. Meeting friends. Paperwork. Shopping. Cleaning. Sleeping. Eating. Playing lots of computer games (guilty). Social networking.
Procrastinating. Let’s not kid ourselves. If we spent half an hour every day not going on Facebook or Twitter and actually sitting and doing the damn thing we could stop complaining about how we don’t get to write anymore because of external pressures.
Life uses procrastination! The Author’s down again!
Round three! *ding ding!*
So here’s where we go for the KO.
The Author uses patience and instinct. Life can throw whatever it wants at patience, and patience will always stand true. Today you might not be able to write, sure – but tomorrow you’ve put aside two hours, and you’re sure as hell going to use them wisely. Instinct might pull a great scene from one of Life’s mundanities.
And, before you know it –
One! Two! Three! Life’s outta here!
Sometimes you get a little absorbed in your novel’s world. Who wouldn’t? It’s the best way to write it convincingly. But you should never put your novel in front of your real life commitments. Your novel should be something you enjoy, not a chore. As such, you need to treat it respectfully. Don’t force yourself to write if you can’t. If you have that time, sure.
For me, it’s just a case of upset and balance. My schedule has changed; therefore my writing habits have to change too. It could take a little while but I’m sure I’ll settle again. Right now, though, I have to make the best of the new experiences, and see if I can draw from them later on in my writing life.