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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reality Bites

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury

I go through spurts where words just pour out of my head onto my laptop screen. Granted, I don't have a lot of writing time every day, but sometimes things just flow. At the same time, my brain is on constant overdrive- imagining scenes and noticing tiny details or phrases I can work into my manuscript.

And then there are the other days.

Reality intrudes. I sit down to stare at a blank screen. I am no longer drunk on writing. I can barely keep my eyes open. Real life chips away at my already-scarce writing time. I persevere, still managing a paragraph or a scene rewrite. Eventually, reality recedes.

Do you sacrifice some aspect of real life to get some words on paper? (I sacrifice my social life. You can count on me being home on a Friday night.) What do you do when reality threatens? Do you give up your writing and take a break or do you plug away?

Happy weekend and happy writing to all!


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Drunk on writing. Oh. Yeah. It's a glorious feeling when it happens.
Happy weekend to you, too!

Amalia T. said...

I'm afraid that my housekeeping suffers for my writing. But I've been having more of those non-drunk-on-writing days than I want to admit, lately. It is frustrating beyond belief!

Just gotta keep on, keeping on!

Stephanie McGee said...

I'll admit that I let reality intrude more than I ought. But I have a lot less reality to deal with now. Now, I just have to go to work then come home and I can devote all time not at work to writing. Until the laundry needs to be done. But yeah. I mean there are other things that do have to take a precedent. Like sometimes the lighting is just perfect outside to go shooting. Or the weather's beautiful so I might as well hit the driving range.

You know, things like that. Creative and active pursuits that let my mind take a rest or refill the creative well. Then I can get back to writing feeling more refreshed and ready to go.

Jade said...

I sacrifice my social life too but since I don't like many people it's not really that hard!

If I'm struggling with my writing, I usually take a break, even if it's only for an hour. Sometimes I need a day or two off just to recharge the batteries.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Tricia- It is indeed glorious, isn't it?

Amalia- I find I use housework when I want to procrastinate. And that's bad. Very bad.

Stephanie- I find that painting helps me get in the right mindset. But then sometimes it's hard to get in the right mindset to paint. Vicious circle, that.

Jade- I'm with you- it's easier to not have a social life when you don't have a huge circle of friends to begin with. I find if I take a day off from writing it just makes it harder to jump back in. My one day off has turned into a month before.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

As a harried blood courier, seemingly always on night call, I know a bit of how you might be feeling. So little free time. And then, your mind is bruised by the demands of reality.

I come home late at night, feed the feline princess, then go out onto my outside terrace to stare into the endless depths between the stars.

I gaze up into the infinite for a few reflective moments, then I somehow am charged enough to try for a page or two in my novel, to write my friends like you, and then scribble my latest post on my blog.

Like you, my social life is spent mentally with my characters in their struggles and my real friends who sometimes email me with their all too real ones.

No great words of wisdom. Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone -- though sometimes it feels that way to us struggling writers. Check my post of today where I cover if you're of a mind, Roland

Donna Hole said...

Yep, I can be found home with a cheap box of wine and my computer on a Friday and Saturday night.

I sacrafice family and social time. What eats up most of my time is the day job though.

When I get home, I want to read a few blogs and e-mails. And I share a computer with my kid. Nights I decide to stay off the computer are toughest because I want to get some reading or researching done, and I fall asleep instead.

So my writing time is limited to taking time off work, or pushing everyone out of the house on weekends for some alone time. Then I don't know where to start, or if its even worth it for the limited time I have.

I just find a way to fit some writing in. And hope what I turn out under pressure is worth giving up something else for later for revision.

What else would I do with my time though?


KarenG said...

Awesome post. Awesome quote by Ray Bradbury. I'm going to write that one down right now. This is a tough situation. I'm not the kind of person who can write my 2 hours a day. I'm an immerser. Then reality suffers. So then I go back to my life, and my writing suffers. I haven't solved this problem yet.

Cynthia Reese said...

When I first started writing with an eye to publication, I gave up TV. I was a huge addict of LAW & ORDER and CSI, and I went cold turkey.

Of course, now I have a DVR, so I don't have to give up as much. Unless The Husband decides the DVR's hard drive is overly full (more than 70%) and he proceeds to delete anything that I haven't watched yet. AARGH. He has so many good points, though, so I think I'll keep him!

Seriously, I give up a social life, too. The other night, for the first time in YEARS, I found myself at a grown up party, and I kept looking for the kid's table. :-)

Taryn Tyler said...

Ray Bradbury is a genius in all things. :D

Paul said...

I think the writing ebbs and flows with life. Sometimes we can buck the tide but other times we get caught in a strong current and have to ride it out.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've sacrificed TV, and I probably spend less time with the kids than I should. But I'm getting better . . . with the kids part, that is.

Have a great weekend!

L. T. Host said...

I am the QUEEN of reality intrusions. Oh, hey, GLEE is on tonight! Whoopsie, no writing.

No but seriously. I need to stop letting life get in the way and just do it. Maybe after the wedding.

See?! There I go again!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I try to balance life and always keep my family as a priority. But, yes, sometimes I sacrifice time cleaning the house, doing yard work, and even exercise to write. But I never sacrifice my chocolate. ;)

KM said...

I'm a social life cutter, as well. And during the school year, I skimp on homework. But I've recently become disillusioned with writing, which sorta sucks. I'm just now getting back into the groove.

Nice topic to mull over. (Is that how you spell "mull"? Jeez. I shoulda paid more attention to that subject in grade school.)

Dangerous With a Pen said...

I am always in this quandary. With school and hubby and children, like you, time is a hot commodity. I bring a decent amount of work home on nights and weekends and my 7 yr old needs to be taxied (sp?) around to dance, swimming, stuff. (We just added swimming... the kid cannot swim to save her life). God knows what will happen when my 3 yr old gets bigger and starts activities... lol.

I try to write at night. I try. But I don't ever really sacrifice the precious few hours I have with my kids after work, and then I'm exhausted and still want to actually talk to my hubby. :) By the time I get to writing, my brain is fried. First graders take a lot out of you and family happily demands what's left. Housework suffers just for those, let alone writing.

I don't know what the answer is. I'm like you in that it can come in giant bursts of creativity and other times it just doesn't or reality just pulls too hard. If you find the solution, I will be all ears...

Theresa Milstein said...

I have the same problem. My writing prowess waxes and wanes. If I get a new idea, I'll type as much as I can, and be done with a rough draft in about five weeks. But then the editing commitment is erratic. And there are usually big gaps between manuscripts.

Luckily, my blog has me writing everyday.

Libbie H. said...

Ray Bradbury is always good for some wisdom!

I write a minimum of 2500 words a day. Sometimes I go up to 5000 if I'm on a roll or if I've got plenty of free time. I'm fortunate right now in that I am working short shifts so I have lots of free time in the day to write. But when I was working full-time, I still did my 2500-word minimum every evening after work. And I wrote no matter what was going on. During that time, I did sacrifice my social life somewhat. I like the present arrangement much better -- I can write in the mornings when there's nothing going on anyway. But of course my money won't hold out forever! I'm hoping my book sells soon so I'll have a little extra cash that can keep me working this part-time schedule and devoting more convenient time to my writing!

kanishk said...

Awesome post. Awesome quote by Ray Bradbury.
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