Have you ever noticed how life tends to throw you curveballs just when you can least afford it? It’s almost as if Fate is saying, “So, this writing thing. How badly do you want it?”
I’m on a tight deadline right now. I’m already dealing with a heroine who is being difficult–or silent, actually, which is worse–so this means I am behind on my page count. Add to that a challenging day job, a husband out of town and a couple of sick kids, and it’s enough to make me want to hide under my desk. Or get lost in all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I thank God for my contract at times like this because, like most women, when others need me, I tend to push aside what I want to do in favor of taking care of everyone else. So husband, kids and day job get my attention first, and if I had no deadline, writing would somehow get pushed aside, listed on my To Do list under “I’ll get to it.” Yet I never would get to it. Or I would get to it weeks from now. Somehow everything else would take precedence.
I’ll say it again: Thank God for contracts and deadlines.
The deadline gives me an excuse to put writing first. I signed a contract. It’s a job. I have to do the work. The fact that I live and breathe to do this work is immaterial. The deadline somehow makes it okay in the mind of this wife/mother/employee to make it a priority. But should I need an excuse? Why can’t I just decide that writing comes first?
Okay, so I need to work on that. So I need to trick myself into making time. But I do it. The books get written. The work gets done.
When Fate throws obstacles in my path (see above: husband out of town, sick kids, grueling day at work), I simply find a way to get around them. That might mean getting up at 5am to write, as I did today. That might mean taking my laptop and getting out of the house to write. Go to Borders or Barnes & Noble or Starbucks. When you’re home, it’s way too easy to break out the Buffy or clean the tub or get distracted by the kids. When you go somewhere else with the express purpose of writing, it’s like going to an office to go to work. It makes the writing a priority.
I’m pleased to report that as of this morning, my heroine has finally started talking. My husband is home, half my kids are back to school and the other half are on antibiotics. So the fridge is empty. So we ate out every night this week. But the pages are done. I win.