“You fail only if you stop writing.” – Ray Bradbury
Kate reminded me that this blog is also about writing, not just eating, and that I needed to post something about writing soon…so here it is.
The truth is, I didn’t write anything last year. I was so stressed out with my health issues and struggling to lose a significant amount of weight so the surgeon would do my heart surgery that I just couldn’t sit down and write. I was dealing with depression and pretty serious anxiety on top of feeling like crap all the time because I wasn’t sleeping and couldn’t breathe.
After my October surgery, I spent the rest of the year healing and getting used to a whole new way of life. That is when I started experimenting with new cooking techniques and cuisines and became my half of the contributions to WritingAndEating.com, but now it’s time to get back to work!
This year has gotten off to a very good start. I’ve completed a novella, one of four that Kate and I are writing for a lovely little anthology set in the Okanagan. And just the other day I turned in my first completed manuscript to my publisher. The first one in over 15 months! Story #2 in that series is well on its way to getting written too.
It feels so great to be writing again, and to be in the frame of mind that my creativity is flowing, and the voices are returning. Yes, as a writer, I have voices in my head, but don’t worry, they don’t tell me to do things. They mostly bicker and do naughty things to each other. *grin
So what is my form of writing and eating when it’s more writing than eating? I’ll start with Writing At Home.
On a perfect day (which almost never happens), I sit down at the computer around 8am after getting up, taking a shower, and making my first cup of coffee. I spend about an hour fulfilling my Editorial Director duties at Cobblestone Press, another half to one hour with personal emails and Facebooking, including a couple of games, and then I make my breakfast. I always have the morning news on TV while I’m doing this first part of the day. I can’t stand not knowing what’s going on in the world. Once I’m fed and the news is over, I shut off all the noise and outside distractions and write until lunch. Stop and have lunch, usually sitting at my desk back on Facebook and on the TV I’m watching one of my DVR’d shows that my family doesn’t watch with me. Then after lunch I put in a couple more hours of writing until it’s time to start dealing with what’s for dinner. As I said, this almost never, ever happens. This is the perfect day when I’m the only person in my house. Usually, my mornings are similar to what I stated; shower, coffee, news, Cobblestone work. It’s what happens after breakfast that is up in the air because…
First and foremost, I have to have the dishes done. If the words aren’t flowing, I get too distracted too easily and I’ll go clean the kitchen instead of writing. I’m not a clean freak. In fact, I’m a pretty terrible housekeeper, but the kitchen is my space that my family isn’t allowed in much, and I tend to take better care of it than anywhere else in our little apartment.
After a clean kitchen, pretty much all I need is my coffee, which is always fast to make with my Keurig. I have a variety of flavored coffees – Irish cream, coconut, chocolate/macadamia, and vanilla – I rotate through while I work, though I have to stop drinking at 4pm because I can’t sleep if I have any caffeine after that time. I have about a cup an hour when I write. I used to smoke, and always took a break every 45 minutes to go outside when I was writing, so now it’s coffee not cigarettes (I’m 3.5 years nicotine free).
The other thing I must have when writing at home is silence. No family around anywhere, and that isn’t always easy. In fact, it rarely is. My husband does shift work, so I have no idea from one week to the next when he’ll be home, sitting at his desk that faces mine, playing computer games. He even got a tablet for Christmas, and the man insists on playing his video games with the sound on. I’ve chased him to the bedroom more than once! And I would like to know the science behind the fact that I can sit at my computer and Facebook, play solitaire or Candy Crush for an hour or more, and he’ll not say one word to me. The second I open a file to write, there’s some very important (at least in his mind) conversation we must have.
Then there’s my teenaged daughter. She recently got a job that is right across the street from our house, so there’s no telling when she’s popping in and out, after school, going to work, coming home early… It’s rather distracting.
Life was so much easier when hubby worked days, and kiddo was in school, so I had six solid hours a day to work, and all I had to do was make sure I made dinner. Even that got left undone at times because if I had six hours to write, sometimes I got so into it, I lost track of time. That hasn’t happened to me in a very long time.
Oh, I have what is now a funny story. At the time I felt like the worst mother in the world, now I know that this stuff happens, and she has something to tell her therapist about.
I was right in the middle of writing a full-length novel, and I was really into it, the words flowing like sweet honey. It was awesome. My kiddo comes home from school, and I sent her into my bedroom to watch TV. I just couldn’t stop. At the time, my husband was working days but had a long commute to get home, and putting in a lot of overtime. Some nights he didn’t get home until after 9pm.
My daughter comes out of the bedroom and asks for dinner. I look at the clock and it’s only five. I tell her another hour. She was in first or second grade, and had learned to tell time.
She comes out later and asks for dinner, and I think I said, “Just a minute,” and kept typing.
A lot later, she comes out and says in a very aggravated tone. “Mom, can I have dinner? I have to go to bed in ten minutes!”
Holy crap! I’d starved my kid until 8:20pm because I couldn’t stop writing! I fed her something unhealthy, I’m sure, to make up for ignoring her, and after that I was a little more prepared to have food done at 6:00 like a normal person.
Yes, I love my family, but they should have to follow a schedule! ha ha
All of that leads to my next post in a couple of weeks: Writing Out.