In the Margins

I dream and fantasize about long chunks of time in which to write. In my minds’ eye, I have a writing cabin in the mountains, surrounded by trees and wildlife and solitude.

There’s a river nearby, full of fish. I like it there, that fantasy place. I think it might be in Alaska.

The reality is, though, I’m a mom in Arizona with two elementary-age kids. I have a part-time job.  I have a husband and a house and a dog. I cook and clean and take care of the shopping and bills. You know, normal life, nothing fancy.

So, when do I write the book?

My short and crude answer is:  “Whenever the f*ck I can”.

The long and elegant answer is:  I make time in the margins of my life.

I’d love to say that I have it all perfectly planned out where my writing time was etched in and I always hit goals and everything aligned all the time.

That would be a lie. One of my issues lately is that I have a child who is an early riser. He’s up as soon as there is a glimmer of light on the horizon. My little Rooster.

He’s a talker and a cuddler.

I’ve had to adjust my margins a bit. Totally worth it.

I’ve had to adjust my definition of writing, too.  There’s everything that leads up to the writing: The thinking, researching, re-reading and correcting, daydreaming, waking up to write things down, journaling, note taking, outlining – all of these things are things I count towards writing. Some days I only actually write a few hundred words. Some days less.

Once in a while, I take a day off. But it’s still on my mind. IT’S ALWAYS ON MY MIND.

Then there’s the days that I sit for a few hours and bang out a few thousand words and purge all of it out of me. Most of those words happen in the mornings, but once or twice a week, I sit down after the kids go to bed and I get a chunk of good writing in while the husband watches some murder-death-kill movie without me. We have a small, open house. My desk is 8 feet from the sofa.

Thank goodness for earphones and music. If I can’t be alone, then this is the next best thing when I want to get the writing done.

I’m compelled. I need to finish this book. Get it to the point where it’s editable. It’s almost there.

I’ll write before I go to the grocery store. I’ll write while I’m waiting for kids. I’ll write if the house is empty. I’ll write if I need to write.

I say no to a lot of useless busy-ness. I’m not much of a recreational shopper. I don’t really like large crowds. I spend most of my time with my kids and husband.

Whatever spare time, whatever margin I have left after my family time and personal responsibilities  – those margins are for the book.

I write every day, and then I write whenever I can.

I’m trying to get this draft finished in the next 4 weeks, so I’m pushing myself a little harder. I’m also having fun with this blog, so…

I’ll adjust my margins. Writers write, right?

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