On writing and parenthood and change

What is it about writing that seems to make it different from other arts. Or, maybe, it’s not so different. If a song writer goes even two weeks without putting words to the page, does the spirit or “muse” or whatever you would like to call it, begin to fade? That’s how it is with me and, judging from numerous interviews I’ve read with some very famous authors, that seems to be the case. You need to write every day to keep the words coming, or else they dry up and leave you and are difficult to find again.

I’ve found in my relatively few years writing novels that to go without writing, even for, say, two weeks, will put quite a crimp in my ability to then re-start the engine and get going again when  I finally do sit down to write.

It’s especially difficult to end a project, such as my recent work, Rogue Blood, and to begin a new one, Gio. Of course, I already have the opening and a few extra scenes for Gio written. This is actually worse! Now I have to re-read what I wrote, probably more than a month ago, and get back inside this book, this universe, these characters’ heads. Not such a simple task, I assure you.

Beginning a new book is always an exciting time. It means that you’ve completed a book, for one. It also means it’s time to start something new–very exciting! And yet, it’s always very slow going that entire first act. Always. I don’t know how to make the words start to fly away at my finger tips. I just don’t. Maybe I never will be able to. We shall see. Give me a few years, then I’ll have this post to look back on and compare.

And it’s not that my opening isn’t fast-paced and excellent. Open any of my books, namely Jace, The Loneliest Alpha, Rogue Blood, Take Me, The Fallen King, Ties That Bind, Tempting Gray, and so on, and you’ll find some amazing openers. After all, this is what makes a reader want to continue reading my book, so my beginnings are often explosive with emotion/humor/intrigue/violence, whatever it takes! And yet, still, writing the entire first act is this tentative runway walk on eggshells. Every single time.

I was supposed to get writing done Monday, but because of baby things and a job thing with my husband, I got zero out of my minimum daily requirement done. Tuesday was hardly any better. I wrote about 1,000 words. Yikes! I had to clean up and re-write the beginning of my book. It was like reading something almost alien to me, since I’d written those words at least a month ago. It’s like trying to fit back into a suit that you’re too fat for, trying to squeeze and push yourself in all the right places until you feel that certain “click”. The, ah-ha, moment of comfort comes, of relaxation.

“Now I know where I am.” I think I did finally find that point, but by then I’m starving and it’s dinner time, so I have to stop. I have a family to feed. Do I get to go back to writing after I eat? Nope. Not even close. Baby gets tired at 8. He needs me to put him to sleep and stay very close by. He’s very high-needs and demanding and colicky. That’s okay, no worries. We are dealing with it and things, generally, are better.

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So today I will (after writing this post) turn off my wi-fi (this is a great way to get writing done for all you new writers!), maximize Gio in my processor and get going. I always have a minimum daily word count. Thanks to Monday and Tuesday’s lackluster endeavors, I am now 5k in the hole that I need to make up. 8k if you include what I need to write today. This is both intimidating and motivating. Mostly scary.

When you’re in the groove and the words are flying and the ideas and pace surging by swiftly, I can write a thousand words per thirty minutes. On average, due to distractions, I think I usually do closer to 1k / hour. Still not bad, but that means I’d need to write for 8 hours to get my goal done today. Not awful either, in fact, you can get a lot of work done writing for that period of time. However…with the baby that seems like a distant possibility. Perhaps I am simply being too negative, though?

Next week my husband begins a new job. No longer will he be working from home. My rock, my support, my help with baby will be gone for a significant period of time. Now I will have this somewhat difficult baby to care for 8+ hours a day, five days a week on my own. Am I terrified? A wee bit. I want to be better.  Really, I want to be perfect. It’s my competitive nature and need to do things “right”. I want to never lose my patience or temper with my baby. I want to always know what my baby needs or wants at any moment. I often think to myself “there’s no way other mothers from other parts of the world are dealing with a baby who can’t fall asleep without motion!” I know they are out there, but it still feels very lonely and depressing. He’s my baby, I think, I should be able to handle him. But, what about the times when I can’t?

I will rely on my confidence, which is somewhere buried inside me, to take care of this baby and somehow find a way to work during the day. If I can at least complete my goal word count of 3k (not even much by writing standards!) during the daytime while baby plays or naps, then I should be OK. That doesn’t include taking care of business necessities: emails, social media, whatever. So long as I can make a way to write every day with that baby, then things will be OK.

Even as I write this, I finally, after much screaming (perhaps by both of us), got this baby to fall asleep. He literally has one eye half open. Right now. Never quite falling asleep. Never completely relaxed while napping. Lord have mercy, I don’t know why. Just go to sleep! I want to scream. It’s safe. It’s OK! I can tell him that until I’m blue in the face and still it won’t make a lick of difference. He’s going to do what he wants. Baby be as baby does. And he is so darned beautiful I just want to cry looking at him.

Motherhood. Parenthood. Rough and fulfilling and insane all at the same time.

Now I have to get back into this book and create some awesomeness.

p.s.

by time I finished writing this blog, baby is now staring at me wide awake. Two hours of difficulty and so much crying and screaming for about thirty minutes of sleep. Oh my god. I’m going insane, aren’t I? I must be. I must be.