Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bits and Snatches

It's 4:51 AM. I'm up. Can't sleep. What to do? Write, of course. At this hour, the house is quiet, the children sleeping, and even the dog's unlikely to seek a trip around the block. There's time now.

The average writer has a day job, gets about ten percent of what he/she writes published, and frets over finance on a regular basis. I'm an average writer.

One of the problems with having that day job, that family, and those financial woes is time. Ideally, a writer should spend at least four hours per day at the keyboard, banging out whatever he/she bangs out. In the real world, those four hours are hard to come by. The writer sits down and suddenly, little Susie needs some help, a drink of water, assitance with homework. Then the phone rings, and Grandma can't get her remote to work. The clock's ticking. The sudden realization that the milk is running low sends our writer to the supermarket or the growling stomachs of the family demand dinner. It's almost as if the fates are against the dream being realized, and let's face it. Becoming a successful writer is THE dream.

An author doesn't become an author by his/herself. It takes the village, so to speak. The family of any would-be writer should understand the dream. The writer must make the dream clear to the people who surround him/her. Seek their support. In my case, I've promised my six-year-old granddaughter that if Nana becomes a full-time writer and sells books, then we, as a family, can buy a farm. She's already picked out the kind of animals she wants: a pony, some cattle, and some pigs. Thank God, she hasn't asked for any sheep yet. (For those of you who don't know, sheep are the stupidest of God's creatures, they require excessive care, and they smell to high-heaven! Yep, they're worse than pigs.)

Whatever course you chose to chart in life, support is an issue. Some can brave the seas alone and reach that final destination, but not me. Unfortunately, I require support. I need alone-time to write. I can't work through the chaos of normal living. My family must give me space and quiet so that I can focus on the task, or in this case plot-line, at hand. So far (knock on wood), the other members of my household have been relatively understanding. Oh, I've kissed a few boo-boos and answered a few questions, but all in all, they've given the support I require.

I don't get high accolades from them. In fact, I avoid having them read my work. I recently took a copy of my second novel to my mother. She read it. Her response to my effort? She said, "It feels like something a real author wrote." :D

I guess that's high praise, but somehow, it doesn't give me goosebumps. Know what I mean?


. said...

LOL. Our nearest and dearest support us as they can. That's not always with accolades. I say, take what you can get and try not to sweat it. As long as they can let you get some writing time in a day, every day you can, you're ahead of the game.

Besides, where in the rulebook does it say 4 hours is the daily requirement? Nowhere, that's where! Everyone's different, everyone writes at their own pace. Some days we're lucky to get 20 minutes, sometimes we get 8 hours. Take what you can, but don't feel like if you "only" get 2 hours that it's not enough.

24 hours a day isn't enough, in that sense. Just keep on doing it, and it all works out in the end.


WKEverhart said...

I think I read the 4 hour thing in a long-ago interview with Stephen King. It's not a rule, but it makes a lot of sense to me. But then again...sometimes the government even makes sense to me. :D