Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Writing When it's Hard

When I first started writing ten years ago, I was in the midst of the "baby years." I had two kids about four and two. I yearned for a time when I would be more free to write. I'm here to tell you, it just doesn't happen. Yes, now that I have three kids, two of them teenagers, and it doesn't get easier. I have play practice and sports practice and after school things and football games and their social calendar.

Maybe that sounds discouraging. Maybe it gives you hope. Writing is something you have to make and take time for. It doesn't just fall in your lap. Even now that all the kids are in school and I can write all day, other things come up. I volunteer at the school, at my church and recently now the HOA. There will always be things that claim your time. It's easy to say someday I'll have more time. I'll write then. In the future, I expect to travel to see my grandkids, be there for when my kids have babies and continue my volunteering efforts. You just have to sit down and do it.

One of the hardest times for me to write was after my miscarriage. Pain and grief overwhelmed me. As well as guilt. What had I done wrong to lose the baby? These were spiritual questions as well as physical questions. Was I not worthy of this blessing since I was a little resentful it was unplanned? Did getting a flu shot somehow harm my fetus? Writing through grief and pain was hard, but I believe it produced my most honest work to date. Suffering brings humility and humility makes great writing. We become a conduit for words. Our egos get out of the way and the message rings clear.

Writing can help me cope with an otherwise unhappy world. In my stories, I get to control the outcome and it's always happy. In life, not so much. Happy endings do happen in real life and we have to work for them. Writing for me is a way to right wrongs in the world. In the my first book, Baker's Dozen, the first "bad guy" you meet was a car mechanic. I had been holding a grudge because when we were really poor, (so poor we were happy to have a twenty at all!) I kept a twenty dollar bill in the car for emergencies. (In case I forgot my wallet etc.) We took the car in for something, tires or something and when the car came back, no twenty. I couldn't believe it. Well, here's thumbing my nose at the dude who took my twenty. You get killed by the mafia! It totally inspired the story. I wanted a corrupt mechanic to get his due. And it makes me laugh. I was in a low power. When the mechanic stole twenty bucks, there was no way to get justice. But writing made me laugh about it, get my own revenge and move on. I've made back my twenty. Power restored!

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Writing When it's Hard

When I first started writing ten years ago, I was in the midst of the "baby years." I had two kids about four and two. I yearned ...