Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Tortoise and the Hare

When you are obsessed with writing, the smallest conversation can spark new avenues of thought. I was driving around town with my 12 year old and she started talking about the Tortoise and the Hare. She watched some cartoon or something and it made her think about how we miss so much when we move too fast.
Photo from Google Images
"Mom, I want to be more like the Tortoise because he took his time and enjoyed the race."

I think that is a great idea. The Tortoise still made it to the end, and was happy with his performance when he reached it. The Hare on the other end had many regrets when he reached the finish line and  missed out on some beautiful scenery.

What does this have to do with me and my writing? Everything. I've been thinking a lot about how my characters consume my time and thought processes. They are ever present, whispering to me, sometimes screaming for my attention. I love them, I love them all, but what about the real flesh and blood people in my life? What is left for them when a day of writing and reading have drained me?

I have responsibilities, other hobbies that have fallen to the wayside. I've talked about searching for the balance before, and I still haven't found it. Part of me decided that I would put 90% of my daily work time into revisions thinking that would help me get finished. And by finished, I mean FINISHED. My final stamp that says, "I've done all I can do and I am satisfied with the result." (I am hoping that really can happen.) However, the race to revise as quickly as possible has put me to sleep.

In this sleepy state, I've realized that while racing around to finish this round of revisions, I've missed out on many moments with my children, husband and friends that I will never recover. Luckily for me, they are all understanding and supportive, but that doesn't make it fair. What happened to me? I wasn't always so one track minded.

A writing friend made this comment to me last week:
I have such a hard time not letting my stories take over everything else in my life, I need to back off and remember that writing is supposed to supplement my life and not become my life.
She wondered if that made sense to me and I felt like she had plucked the thought out of my brain. My characters are taking over my life, and I need to remember that my first and most important job/career/calling in this life is to be the best mother that I can. My children need me to focus on them when they are at home.

Here are my questions for you: Do your stories take over your life? How do you put them to sleep? For those who have completed and published your novels, When it is FINISHED do you get your life back? Even if for a short time?

In an effort to find better mom/writer balance, I'm happy to say I wrote all three post for this week over the weekend. I scheduled them to post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so I could concentrate on my kids and spring break and still keep my blog presence active. I'll let you know how it worked when I come back next week.


  1. My stories always take over my life. My mom will call and say, "You're writing a new one, aren't you?" I try really hard not to let it take over, but it does. I'm getting better at it though. Have a great week with your kids.

  2. Scheduling your posts is a great idea, if you can do it. I write my posts for the week the weekend before and schedule them. It's working out right now pretty well.

  3. I call this problem the 'two worlds' and actually wrote a blog post about this months ago. The two worlds are the world in your head that's full of your writing and the world around you full of your family and friends. It's a delicate job to balance the two and not go crazy.

    When I find that my writing is taking over I get out and do something, see my friends, do some exercise, have a nice dinner. Something to bring me back into the real world.


  4. Although I'm still not very good about doing it, scheduling posts does give me a lot of time. It lets read and comment on other blogs in the morning, and then I can get busy writing/revising that much earlier.

    I don't have too much trouble turning the writing on and off. When I'm in the zone, I'm in it, and when I'm not, I'm not. Just practice, I guess.

  5. Making time is not strictly an accurate description of what I do when I'm writing, I take time. Claiming the time as mine alone is selfish, I wish I'd done it sooner.
    Blogging is theft too, but I'm only stealing from me.

  6. Stories can sometimes take over, but I try not to let them eat into my life. It helps that I'm surrounded by my friends every hour of the day, they bring me back from my writing.


    Ooh yes! I am only just discovering the benefits of scheduled posts too! :~D

  7. I can be found three places: at work, my office, or asleep. My kids know I'm available when I'm in my office. I have two chairs for them to sit at. If they want to talk about something, or just need a ride to the mall, I'm there. Other than that, I'm sitting here writing (and now also blogging :-) ) They know they can interrupt me, just as I know I can interrupt them if they are playing a game. Family first, entertainment second. It's pretty much the only rule in my house.

  8. I have this really nasty problem of daydreaming. I start thinking and my mind doesn't stop, especially if I've come up w something great for my current WIP. Its awful! I get SO distracted by my thoughts that I can barely focus on anything else (which is usually kinda deadly since it happens mostly while I'm @ work).

    Something tells me it won't change even when I'm done with my WIP. My mind will just start on the next story - There are no vacations for a writer's mind.

    And thanks for reading my post and signing up for Rach's blog!

  9. They haven't taken over my life, but I've had to make adjustments.

  10. When I start resenting everyone and everything in my life that gets between me and writing... whoa I gotta step back and chill out. Or when my kids say, "Why is mommy talking to herself again? She's scaring me."

    And speaking of disruptions, our spring break was last week. I tried to just not think about anything except having fun and for the most part, I succeeded.

    Doing all the blog posts over the weekend? That's genius. I may just steal that idea!

  11. My stories do have a way of taking over, especially when I'm in the thick of a manuscript. A long walk, working in the garden, or taking a daytrip are good diversions for me. For awhile. Then the story sneaks back in!

    Clicked over from Sarahjane's, enjoyed browsing.


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