In the last two weeks real life obligations have completely disrupted my nice, consistent writing schedule. Normally, while I might grumble about the interruption, I just make due and get on with it. But with two projects I’m hoping are closerthanthis to being ready for submission, I’m feeling a bit more covetous about my writing time, and therefore resentful of any person or obligation that dare interfere with it.
Everyone has phases when “real life” gets in the way of writing – for me it was readying the house for a visit from family who we hadn’t seen in twenty some-odd years. Normally, I would be excited about such a visit, and believe me, the day they arrived I was very excited to see them, but the niggling, ever-present voice telling me “you should be writing,” was never far away. Neither was the guilt.
I need to write as much as I need water to live and air to breathe. It’s become a driving force in my life and when I’m not able to write I can get, well, downright cranky. I tried to placate myself by doing a few writing-related administrative tasks that I’d been neglecting. I built an author website, created a spreadsheet to keep track of my WIPs and story ideas, I even reorganized my office/writing space.
You’re probably wondering why, if I had the time to do those things, I couldn’t find the time to write. The answer, while a bit of a cop out, is simple. I operate in one of two modes. The linear thinking, executive/legal assistant or the go with the flow, creative gypsy, and only on the odd occasion do they intersect.
When I’m in executive assistant mode (which is where I’ve been for the last two weeks), very simply, things get done. I am effective, efficient, methodical and laser focused. I create and live by lists and schedules and make sure everyone else adheres to said schedules as well. Any obstacle is adapted to and overcome and the machine moves forward with little or no room for creativity or even the occasional daydream. When I’m in this mode, reading doesn’t even hold my attention for very long. And I LOVE to read.
In gypsy mode, all but the creative task before me is forgotten. Horses don’t get their snacks, dogs don’t get let out to do their business, dust bunnies accumulate and even the occasional bill goes unpaid (thank heavens for the advent of auto-pay.) In short, that laser focus I referenced above, now fueled by caffeine and a bevy of “what if” scenarios refuses to acknowledge the existence of the mundane, Muggle world, let alone allow any sort of distraction from the creative process.
So how do you cope when life gets in the way of writing?
My challenge is to somehow blend the two opposite, but equally driven personalities so that the freewheeling gypsy gets to play while the pantry remains stocked and the bills get paid.
The family came, enjoyed their visit and left, and life as I’ve come to know it has gone back to normal. The gypsy weaves her magic in the morning and the executive assistant cracks the whip in the afternoon overseeing the deep excavation of the laundry mountain in the closet and keeping my beloved, myself and our small zoo feed and watered. I’m sure somewhere down the line they will come to appreciate each other, but for now, they sneer and eye each other suspiciously when one tries to infringe on the other’s time. They’re both necessary, both needy and both 100% me.
When real life gets in the way of your writing, how do you cope? What takes precedence? Or have you found a way for each part of your life to happily co-exist?