Thursday, June 07, 2007

Blog, Interrupted

A bit of series news: I got the green light today from my editor on my proposal for Darkyn book six, now titled Swans Fall, which will feature Valentin Jaus from Private Demon as one of the protagonists. If all goes well, Swans Fall should be hitting the shelves about six months after Evermore is released in January 2008.

Something else happened to me today that delayed the blog entry I had planned to post. Nothing dire, just something unusual for me.

I was happily engulfed in one of the WIPs, running through mine shafts and further endangering the lives of approximately five thousand clueless, possibly doomed colonists, when an alarm I'd set on my clock radio went off. This is why I hate having clocks in my writing space, but now that the kids are out of school I have five luxurious, uninterrupted hours from 5 to 10 am in the morning to write. If I don't use an alarm, I lose all sense of time.

I was really into the story. Things were going so well, in fact, that when the alarm went off I reached out, groped, and hit the snooze button. When it beeped a second time, I got so annoyed that I yanked the clock radio's cord out of the electrical outlet, and went back to work. The kids are out of school; I could spend another thirty minutes writing.

Some time later my voice gave out (the downside of writing with VRS) and I had to stop working for a while. I looked to see what time it was because surely it had only been thirty minutes. No power, no time display. Plugging the clock radio back in only told me it might be noon, or midnight.

Uh-oh.

Downstairs, I discovered it was 1:15 pm. The kids were still asleep, the housework still had to be done, and the dog really, really needed to go outside. On the internet computer, there were e-mails from the agent and two editors, waiting for replies; plus a drawing to do and the blog to update and comments to be read. In the garden, the Mexican heather I had set out to plant was still sitting there, potted. We won't talk about weeds. Breakfast was history; lunch and dinner still had to be planned, things defrosted, nutrition calculated, picky eaters catered to. And someone with fur had been playing skee-ball with the TV remote on the coffee table again, and knocked off the writing magazines waiting to be skimmed.

I had done the supremely selfish thing of spending an entire morning writing. Wrecked my whole schedule. From the moment I'd woken up, I had not spent one minute being Mom, author, blogger, housewife, friend, client, gardener, or anyone else. For eight hours, I had been just a writer.

There should have been some guilt involved, but you know what? It felt great.

I took the dog out, woke the kids, rustled up some brunch for them and made myself a gigantic glass of peach tea. Then I sat on the porch, soaked up the sunshine, and enjoyed fifteen minutes of being just a tired, happy writer before I went back inside and got to work on all the other stuff in my life. And as of midnight, I had everything done but the laundry and the blog, hence this entry.

Tomorrow I will not hit the snooze button on the clock radio, or yank that cord out of the wall. I will catch up, and be responsible, and stay on schedule because that's what I usually do, and that's important. But for today, it was very nice to take a little vacation from that.

Do any of you writers out there ever do this kind of thing? How do you feel about stealing a couple of hours away from your daily life to write?

33 comments:

  1. I've got infant/toddler twins at home--I feel fortunate if I can sneak in 10 minutes here and there.

    My best bet is the half-hour at the end of my work day before I head home. My secretary has left, the evening help is doing her one set of rounds for the day, and all I have to do during that half-hour is answer their personal phone calls.

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  2. Ah, if only I could steal a day for just writing. However, school and my father tend to be very stringent about taking days off. School says I can't, Dad says "Sure, but do this, this, this, this and that" and before I know it, half of the day I wanted to spend writing is gone.

    Still, I get an hour or so before Dad comes home from work during which I can just relax, and make no mistakes, I am extremely grateful that I have that much :)

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  3. How do you feel about stealing a couple of hours away from your daily life to write?

    Feels absolutely heavenly.
    Like cheating on a very strict--but very necessary-diet. ;-)

    Congrats on the green light!

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  4. I would give up a lot to be able to spend an entire day, or even half a day writing instead of 9-to-5.

    Good for you for taking some time to focus on what you love best.

    I do feel sorry for the dog though :)

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  5. "How do you feel...?"
    Free.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Mmmmm. Out of place for a newbie perhaps, but here goes.

    For a guy trying out his fancy after nearly 20 years (from since I was 12 and won a school story competition), it feels odd, decidedly.

    Times I wonder if I'm doing something illegitimate, even guilty since I feel underwhlemed by my own work. Times I feel a big releasing whoooosh from my chest... and at those particular times, oh, it's just wonderful. Like Bernita says, freee.

    Very nice blog you have.

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  8. And since I do it late nights, I have uninterrupted quiet hours. Now that is not such a good thing perhaps, so I'm trying to switch to mornings, and pin the writing time to 2 hours on the mat. Honest, all this feels kinda new and thrilling. So hours just roll by.

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  9. "How do you feel about stealing a couple of hours away from your daily life to write?"

    I LIVE FOR IT! LOL

    I try to write when my kids are at school in the mornings and I'm acutely aware that school will be out for the summer quite soon. I'm very selfish with my morning time and often won't answer the phone and feel quite grumpy about social obligations that intrude upon my writing time. Ignoring laundry is easy... the kids have too many clothes anyway :)

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  10. Wow... I want kids that will sleep in that late. I'm lucky if mine make it to 9.

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  11. Good for you, Lynn! And congrats on the book deal.

    I was able to decrease my patient load at my PT practice and leased my office out to another therapist on tues and thurs so I absolutely, positively can't schedule patient care those days. :) Tues and Thurs are my major writing days and after dealing with the guilt initially, being able to write consistently makes be a better therapist, wife, mother, friend, etc.

    Someday, I even hope to be a writer who does some physical therapy.

    :)

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  12. I can't steal that much time with two kids under the age of 5, but whenever I can stretch my time out a little, I never regret it. *g* But in my case stretching the time out means more like 15 minutes while I finish a page before I go get kids up after I hear them awake. They can wait that long, and it's important to leave off at a good stopping point.

    Hooray on the Darkyn news!

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  13. Congrats on the book news. =o)

    I love those rare days when the words are flowing and I can write for more than a couple of hours without interference. For me, I feel guilty when I don't steal time from the daily life to write. I feel like I'm stealing hours away from writing, and just being lazy.

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  14. It feels great! Like paradise. I can't steal away from my other responsibilities very often, but when I do, it's just so great feeling. Glad you enjoyed your vacation.

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  15. lately? I'd feel pretty darn good about it.

    of course LIFE has interrupted me lately. Hoping to recharge the brain batteries...we're heading to the beach for a week so if some R&R doesn't do it...i'm in trouble.

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  16. Yay for the green light!

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  17. Marjorie Liu10:17 AM

    I'm still single and childless, so other than making sure the dishes get done, the animals are fed, and the house isn't in complete disrepair, I pretty much can do what I want. Knowing, however, that this way of life can't last forever, I'm taking the idea of an alarm clock and strict scheduling under advisement. :-)

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  18. With the way things are at work now, I'm lucking if I can still an hour a week to write. *sighs*

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  19. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Wow, I'm envious. It sounds like you were really in the zone. It's been a long time since I've fallen into my writing like that. Hell, it's been a long time since I've written. I attended a great workshop last summer, and have been barely able to write a thing since.Being reminded of what the zone feels like is inspiring, so thanks.

    Jeff P.

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  20. I love it when I get in the zone like that! Should you feel guilty? No. Those moments are too rare for most writers. Enjoy it. This is the happy memory you'll enjoy when you hit a snag that has you dragging every single word out of the story.

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  21. I find that I absolutely must unplug the alarms, turn the phones off, turn out the lights so no one dares to knock on my door, and do everything possible to eliminate intrusion every once in a while if I am to accomplish serious chunks of writing. As writers, I feel it is our duty to ourselves and our artistic drive to steal those moments whenever possible. The world, usually, can wait and all returns to the normal chaos of everyday life, one way or another...

    Congrats on successfully ignoring life and writing to your heart's content!

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  22. Congrats on the book news. It seems that lately any time I spend writing has been stolen (or at least borrowed), but at least I've been able to get some writing done and having fizzled to a complete stop.

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  23. Sounds like heaven to me! One I'll have to wait to join. My kiddo is 4 (with another on the way). Sleeping until 1pm or after is... well...impossible!

    At least I know there is hope! Ha!

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  24. I write at night once everybody else is in bed. If I'm good, I write for 1-2 hours and then get some sane amount of sleep. When I'm in a good writing zone, I may write six or more hours, which feels wonderful at the time (and is usually my best most productive writing), but I'm completely zombified the next day.

    I'm currently trying to see if I can write decently in the morning (I'm NOT a morning person), where a slip-up means a messy house, not a messed up Mom.)

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  25. I think I might be the only irresponsible one here...mainly because I don't have many responsibilities that I have to stick strictly to. But yes, when I do steal those hours (which can be quite often), it's luxurious ;)

    Awesome news about the Darkyn books! And as irresponsible as it can be, being selfish every once in a while isn't necessarily a bad thing :)

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  26. Time out.
    You use Voice Recognition Software to write?
    As a techie, this fascinates me. I'd love to hear more details. Whose software? What's your preferred WP? Do you edit with VRS? What's it's word recognition success rate?
    Sorry to digress, but you hit a button for me.

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  27. I've got a toddler. Because of gas prices, we're making do with one car...one that my husband has all day, every weekday. He sends me out to write twice a week, for 4-6 hours at a time. I'm nicer when I have time away from everything else just to write. I usually do the early morning writing thing, too. But not having to wife or mom for a while...that's good stuff. I'm always itching to return to those jobs after some time off.

    I have a very good (and very smart) husband.

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  28. I've got a 2 year old and a 16 year old, and so I write between bouts of finding things and keeping people fed.

    I am looking forward to once again being able to just sit and write, let the kids and dog fend for themselves for a few hours. Maybe when the youngest starts kindergarten... ^_^

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  29. Congrats on the book news, P.!

    I've been known to lose fourteen hours or so writing. When done, I'll wonder why I'm so tired. Then, of course, I'll recall I've killed X amount of people in messy ways, caused a few crises or arguments, plunged protagonists into mortal peril and had them make out.

    Then I have to catch up on real life. But, I'll be looking forward to the next day and more mayhem...

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  30. Thanks for the congrats, everyone.

    PW wrote: Time out.

    Mom? Is that you?

    You use Voice Recognition Software to write?

    Yep. I have severe arthritis in both hands, and my left is partially paralyzed due to tendons being cut during surgery to remove some tumors about twenty years ago.

    As a techie, this fascinates me. I'd love to hear more details. Whose software? What's your preferred WP? Do you edit with VRS? What's it's word recognition success rate?

    I wrote a post about it here that will answer most of your questions. My word recognition success rate is about 90 - 95%, depending on what I'm writing. New vocabularies require some building. I do write and edit with VRS now in the Dragonpad and then cut and paste to Word.

    Sorry to digress, but you hit a button for me.

    No problem. Always happy to share insider info. :)

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  31. Anonymous9:47 AM

    YES! Valentin ges his moment to SHINE!

    whohooO!

    Rebecca

    Sorry. Had to get the fan girl shout out there...was clogging my throat.

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  32. Anonymous10:03 AM

    How do you have until 10 AM to write uninterrupted with kids at home? My kids wake me up and want breakfast at 6:30 AM, and then it's teeth brushing, book reading, playground, etc. until the end of the day. I have to squeeze my writing in when they're sleeping, and they never choose the same time to take a nap, so that's out. Do you have someone else around to care for the kids until 10 AM? I would really appreciate some advice on how to make that happen at my house.

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  33. Lynn -

    First, excellent news about another Darkyn book and especially one for Valentin...part of me thought he should have been the one to get the girl in the second book...sorry..fan intrustion there!

    About writing - I am a deadline binge writer who finishes most work on the day it's due and sometimes pull all-nighters those last days to manage it. Generally, I'm a night person so I handle of the 'day job' and family stuff before retreating to my writing space and closing the door.

    I've been lucky to have the support and help of a husband who believes he can handle anything the kids need...and I don't intend to tell him otherwise! The kids knew that if they weren't bleeding profusely...aka dripping in puddles...or on fire...the closed door meant don't open it... At least that worked on some days..

    But, overall, as with most creative arts, writing is in a constant time war with real life.

    Terri

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