Many years ago, I attended a workshop at a writing conference, and though I can’t remember the author inspiring us to honor ourselves as writers, I do remember the session.
She asked us to list, on an index card that she handed to us, our various “job” titles. And, being a romance-genre conference, I do believe we were exclusively women in this particular workshop. And so, the “typical” lists were handed in after a few minutes of furious scribbling.
Mother, wife, secretary, baseball/soccer/basketball coach, vice-president, choir director, advocate, maid, CPA, etc., etc., etc. (You men who read this blog can substitute your own titles!)
“So, if I’m at a conference for serious writers, why didn’t anyone write down WRITER?” she asked with the innocence of Pollyanna and the inflection of Drucilla.
The room was quite silent for a good, long moment. And then the venting started. The author listened as many of us kvetched about way too many tasks/roles in a day and not enough time to write, let alone to write enough to consider ourselves WRITERS.
And, then this author explained that she ran the business office for her husband’s construction company; had a 30+ year old autistic son living at home most days; a mother-in-law with dementia living in the house down the hall from the autistic son; and she wrote for St. Martins who required two full, dynamic, over-the-top best sellers a year.
As you can imagine, the complaining stopped pretty fast. Holy cow! How do you do it? Do you ever sleep? How much help do you have with housework and errands?
The author smiled at us and winked. She explained that she considered herself a writer full time. Her part-time job was running her husband’s office. She scheduled her writing time religiously on a daily basis. She quit working every day at 10pm, took a hot shower, a sleeping pill and curled up with hubby and read for 30 minutes, then slept a full 8 hours. If someone needed something during the night, hubby had to deal with it.
Now we met her husband later and teased him a little bit, to which tall, dark and handsome smiled and replied, “I’m a construction engineer. She’s a writer. I go to work every day and do what needs to be done. She helps me to do that, AND gets her work done, too. I have no idea how she does it, but I’m glad she does.” HE knew that she was a writer and that it was important to her, because SHE knew she was a writer and that it was important.
TIME is not our problem. We ALL get the same number of minutes in an hour and hours in a day. We all have challenges. But I suspect, that once YOU decide that you are a writer, the time for writing will appear. Guard it seriously, respect yourself, and put in the discipline needed to write every single day: a page, five pages, five minutes or an hour. But give your word and keep it. And remember, at ONE page per day, in a year, you’ll have a 365 page manuscript!
Get started RIGHT NOW! Keep reading, keep writing and keep working toward that dream! Nancy Q.