When the writer takes over

Thirty-five weeks after the second day of the new year

An observation again today, which Author wants to share with you. She has told you in her post thirty-two weeks after the second day of the new year about her family’s decision to move in together, so that Sister has now moved in with her and their mom. And, as moving goes, Author is sure you understand, it’s been busy. The kind of busy that’s physically exhausting, not surprisingly so. The kind of busy you can’t hope to catch a few hours of work in, because all you do is open box after box, decide where things will be placed, see what you can get rid of, what’s missing that needs to be bought, what needs to be fixed in the place you live in or added to it to accommodate the new living arrangements. And then there are the bits and ends related to the place you previously lived in that need to be closed. Moving is complicated, all the more so under the circumstances Author’s family has done it in—she trusts that you know them well enough by now to understand.

Author didn’t expect to be working on her next book for you at all while all that was going on. She was sure that on the day the movers brought Sister’s belongings she wouldn’t be able to sit and write, certainly not work on a manuscript. In fact, she knew she wouldn’t be able to work for several days before, as the family made the necessary preparations, or for several days later, for that matter. So she set the book aside for the duration.

And indeed, the days were busy, and they were taxing, and yet the thing is that somewhere along the way Author realized that she was working. That her mind hasn’t stopped doing what it does. As she unpacked boxes or organized closets her mind roamed and came up with the Author Terminology for that week. And when that was done, those gray cells of hers went to work on the book, running the chapter she was now on, the background details she still wanted to complete, a change she wanted to make that required some more research. Not only that, whenever she could find the time, even an hour or so, and even after a long day of opening (an endless number of) boxes, she sat down in front of her laptop to work. And if in the past she would work, say, on whole chapters, this time she worked on sections of chapters or even only on parts of these, anything she could get done before she was too tired or had to think about what she had to do the next day. Bits and pieces, and yet her work was going well, because that’s where her focus was. No matter what other tasks she did, the focus on her writing remained.

Being a writer is not a fixed working hours job.  You’re a writer all the time. But in the past Author did need to be able to set aside time for writing, well away from other tasks. That still is the optimal choice, of course, a stretch of several quiet hours with her laptop. But it’s no longer a must, the only time she can work. It now seems that the writing part of her mind, if that’s how you choose to look at it, and who she is as a writer, are there all the time: a part of her mind is always thinking about her work, always in the story she has created, always working toward completion of her book. Always ‘writing’. It’s no longer just that she has adjusted, that it is now easier for her to start and stop, then start again seamlessly. She simply doesn’t stop.

Author finds that letting the writer in her take over this way is better for her work. Writing isn’t something Author does, it’s who she is. It does have a bit of what could be perceived as a downside, too, mind you—there is a need in her to write, and she is restless when, for any reason, she needs to do something else instead. And yes, Author has another thing or two say about this, about the personal—and personality—changes becoming a full-time writer might entail. But not this week, not in this post. It is a serious matter that merits its own place in this blog.

Another philosophical post? Perhaps. Author is certainly thinking about it philosophically, to an extent. To an extent only, because Author is also treating this observation with the same practicality she tries to treat everything else that is related to her work. The way she sees it, what she learns about herself will help her plan better the work schedule for her books. As for the philosophical side, that has to do with introspection. It also has to do with a related observation: if you love what you do, if it’s interesting enough and important enough to you that it takes over your time and your thought, maybe even changes you in some ways, then, the way Author sees it, you should consider yourself lucky.

Author and Sister’s tip for you this week: in previous posts Author has spoken about the way your work process will change as you gain experience as a writer. But you yourself will change, too—the way you think, the part your creativity takes in your day, in your life. Pay attention to yourself, to what’s changed in you since you became a writer. Instead of trying to do things the way you have before—work the same hours, expect yourself to be able to place clear boundaries between the time you write and the time you engage in other activities, attempt to make your creativity bow to your scheduled routine—relearn the way you work, the way you think, what’s right for the writer you are. Ultimately this will increase the efficiency of your work process. It will also lessen any frustration you might be feeling with yourself, your capabilities and your progress, and increase your enjoyment from your work.


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