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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - It's Just Life

I had just turned on a long stretch of two-lane road with zero stoplights and no places to turn off yesterday when I heard the first rrriiiiiipppppp from the back seat. I had cleaned the truck out completely before I put Viktor back there, but obviously, I'd missed something. When I finally stopped and opened the back door, it looked like someone had dropped New Year's confetti all over the place. The victim? A spare copy of Dream of You I'd forgotten to pull out of the door pocket. Oops! It was rather hilarious. And now I know just how my doggie feels about my work.

One of the tricky aspects of writing is its inherent need for quiet and contemplation. Writing takes time. Writing takes sitting by yourself in front of a computer, alone with your thoughts and the keys. Writing takes daydreaming. It takes a total immersion in an imaginary world; conversations with people who don't exist. From the outside, writing looks like a whole lot of sitting around. But for a writer, these hours are spent hard at work.

As writers we sometimes talk about our writing, and then "real life." Daily life - dogs chewing up books, babies crying, floors begging to be vacuumed; the errands and doctor appointments and parties and family moments are often deemed "real," and the hours we spend writing are a sort of fantasy. A secret sub-sect of our existence.

I noticed something. I've always written - since I was making up stories to tell to my fussy little brother when we were four and two - but it was always this private part of my life. I didn't talk about it. And I was frustrated, because making time to write felt like sneaking out by the dumpster to have a secret smoke. And no one saw writing as anything legitimate or important because I wasn't treating it like it was.

I think it's important for us to tell the people in our lives how important writing is. I also think it's important not to treat writing as if it isn't a part of our real lives. We're writers. It's what we do. It's a part of who we are, and how could it be anything but a component of our real lives?

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