Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Fricassee

It's amazing how adding one little thing to a daily schedule can create utter chaos. 

Well, it's probably me creating the chaos.  But since I've begun my Friday morning ballet classes (joy! joy! joy!), the other bits of my Friday mornings -- the Before and After bits -- are beyond stressful.

And, yes.  Writing the Friday Fricassee falls under the Before bit.

Admittedly, it doesn't take me long to write blog posts.  I wish I could draft as easily as I can craft a readable blog post!  But you know how it is when your brain's going in several directions?  "Focus" is suddenly an alien concept.

Anyway.  The one thing that's been floating to the top of my defocused brain this morning is the concept of Writing As Lifestyle.  More to the point:  Have you gotten to a place where writing is as much a part of your life as everything else?  Eating, working, sweeping the front porch, putting out the garbage, brushing your teeth? 

I don't mean "obsession".  That's when you think about your writing all the time.  "Writing as Lifestyle" is more of a non-thought process.  As in, the writing is so engrained it's something you just do.

Not the writing alone, either.  This includes the querying, the blogging, the researching, the critiquing, the networking, and the being-on-endless-sub-with-editors.  Has it become a natural part of your life?

If it has, you're in a good place.  You've found your balance; you've stopped feeling compelled to make excuses to people for your writing; you're not fighting Other Things in order to write. 

The dark side:  If, after a long and tiring journey, you decide that you no longer desire this Writing As Lifestyle, you're going to have a fairly large paradigm shift.  There will be holes in your day; there will be a grieving process.

This may actually mean that you shouldn't quit.  That the Writing As Lifestyle is truly for you.  But it may just mean that, like any loss, you'll need a time to grieve before you regroup and move on.

I'm fairly certain I've embraced Writing As Lifestyle.  My authorly self isn't separate from my "me" self.  (Well, except online.  And I can't tell you how TIRED I am of being anonymous!)  When I feel ready to quit (which happens a lot lately), I start to think things like, "But...what will I DO?"  And that's probably a sign right there that I'm already doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

What about you?  Do you live the Writing As Lifestyle life?  Does the thought of quitting leave you with a sense of great loss?  Or could you walk away tomorrow and move on to the next thing?

Share!  And I'll see you all on Monday at the opening of submissions for our first Logline Critique Round.  Woo!


  1. After working on my novel for 2 years, I've finally started to send it out to agents. I thought it would be a relief and a treat to take a little break from daily writing while I wait for their responses. Boy, was I wrong! I've missed it. I'm sitting down to write again after 2 weeks of not doing it at all, and it's a complete slog. My writing muscles have atrophied. I've realized that writing was much more a part of my lifestyle than I thought. I've also realized that it truly is something you have to work on (even if only a little) every single day.

  2. Lately, since my career shift, it seems like writing has changed from a lifestyle to an obsession.

    But I see it entirely as temporary. Leaving writing behind would be like leaving a leg behind and even now I occasionally have a day where I can do nothing until I get some writing done.

    Besides, I have my word average to keep up...

  3. Well, if you include the querying, critiquing and studying in addition to writing, then yes, it's a lifestyle. There are some nights when I don't meet my word limit, but the only days when I don't do SOMETHING are days when I'm traveling and away from a computer. But then again on those days I write. And yes, I think things like 'who am I kidding' and 'why am I bothering' and 'what's the point', followed by 'I should just stop'. And then I imagine my days where I'm NOT a writer and I don't write or think or do anything writerly and I feel that it wouldn't be just giving up writing, it would be giving up a certain way of BEING. Like giving up the idea of who I am. And then who will I be? No one. A consumer of other people's ideas and not a producer.

  4. It is part of my daily life. I have a set time every day. I shut off the phone and the TV, put down the book I'm reading, and banish everyone from my immediate vicinity. I get crabby if I am interrupted.

    My family and friends understand this is an important and joyful part of my life and leave me to it. Though I have to say, some think it's a little weird reaping pleasure from such lonely solitude. I accept that too.

  5. I am an author. I wouldn't be me if I didn't write. When I went out of the country to do research, the custom's form asked for my occupation. I wrote down, "Novelist". That's my career. Okay, so I haven't made a dime from writing fiction. (I think one of my former co-workers made money from writing fiction, but in that situation, we call it fraud.)

    I home school my daughter and when she's reading or working on an assignment, I write or critique or read articles on craft. Writing has become a huge part of my life, and I can't imagine going back to a time in my life when I wasn't creating characters and plotlines.

  6. I haven't gotten the whole lifestyle down pat yet. Writing, every day... I do that no matter what, even if it's only a little. And edit most days, too. But the querying... that's harder. I think it's because the writing and editing I can see the results of immediately. Here's what I've created. Here's what I've improved. Querying, on the other hand, leads to waiting... and rejection. And there's still so much more to improve.

    And I fully admit to being a bad networker, blogger, and am not on endless sub. I'll add one thing to my life at a time... starting a blog would be a good new year's resolution.

  7. I don't think I've quite reached this point yet. I have three kids under the age of 3.5 at home, and I feel like I spend most of my (very small amount of) free time researching agents, querying, checking writing websites, and reading other books in my genre. What I can't seem to find time to do right now is write!

    I really need to get in the habit of writing every day, setting quotas, or something.

  8. I still haven't gotten past the part where I stammer when people ask me what I do. I can't yet say that I'm a writer, even though it's what I've been pursuing full time for three years. So no, I don't think I'm living the writer's life yet. However, if I don't write for a couple of days I start thinking of myself as someone who can't write, and that has a devastating impact on my psyche. When I finally force myself back to work, I'm always so excited and relieved. I guess that means I have to write...

  9. I had my writing taken away from me. Yanked right out from under me without warning. That was one of the things being exposed to mold did, besides trying to kill me, of course. It completely destroyed my reading and writing skills.

    And it totally pissed me off.

    Loosing those skills made me madder than anything the mold did to me. Okay, gaining weight when I couldn't keep food down was up there too, but I am female, ya know! But the mold gave me my "aha!" moment, the realization of what was missing from my life. Why I always felt there was *something* I should be doing. And since I started writing- at first, to gain back my skills, which took years, and then in earnest- I no longer feel that void.

    So think about it that way- how would you feel if your writing was suddenly yanked away from you? By illness, by apocalyptic religious fanatics, by evil space monkeys, whatever. I bet every one of you would fight to get it back just like I did. Because it's part of your genetic make-up, it's in your soul: you're writers. :)

    (No evil space monkeys were hurt in this post.)

  10. It's definitely a part of my life, which is why I've spent this morning running around commenting on blogs I usually only read. I can't write & it's driving me a little batty.

    Yesterday my own personal techie (grow your own, it works! ;)) updated my OS & now I'm waiting for her to return with my new copy of Office 2010. For the first time in my life I have a computer without a word processing program & it's disconcerting to say the least. I'm trying to make good use of the time, but the jonesin' is getting bad.

    I did take a couple of years off the daily-writing treadmill & have to say I was by turns miserable and bored. It was disheartening to have so many agents say my writing was good but I'm "too left of center" to sell. That seems less of a problem now than misery and boredom, so I'm back - writing daily, finishing things & submitting.

  11. I've certainly embraced the "writing as sanity tool" angle. I've been solidly back into writing since late June/early July after a year of writing-related floundering. I'd forgotten just how much more even-keel I am when I do it regularly, even with the days spent staring at a blinking cursor because I don't know how to get from X to Y. Z is there, but that elusive Y...

    I've got a good critique partner and the system we have is great for making sure I stay on-track. But I think I'd keep going even without the weekly deadline. I don't yet have anything query-ready, but that's what I'm trying to get to with my current project. And that goal is much more "real" for me than it ever has been, so yes, I guess you could say I've embraced the lifestyle aspect from that end.

    The blogging and social media part of it--well, I'm aware of it. I've got my website and my Facebook (though still not a fan page) and my Twitter, but they all come after writing the novel and the day job. So they do languish, though I know they're important. Just haven't yet worked out a good way to fit them in better.

  12. I already know (from having quit once before), that creating is in my genes. I would eventually come back to writing or, failing that, some other form of story telling. I can't help it.

  13. I actually have a prescription from a doctor to write every day. I really ought to fond it and frame it.

    My family has learned, from the times that I have not been able to write regularly, that I can be an unpleasant person to live with if I don't get my fix.

    I've decided that if I don't sell, it doesn't matter. I got to write.

  14. I'm definitely getting there, but writing is still the thing most likely to get squeezed out in busy times. I do sometimes think life would be easier if I wasn't trying to write a book, but the thought of not writing is unimaginable even if it is only 15 minutes a day :)

  15. It's very much a life style for me. I feel wiggly and out of sync if I am prevented from at LEAST blogging for more than a day.

    I am jealous you take ballet. I love ballet but around here you have to be a little kid to take a class.

    OMG--is THAT why you're anonymous?? You're only ten???

  16. LOL Kristen -- You guessed it! I'm a child prodigy. ;-P

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