Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Never-Ending Stories, Fantasies about Fantasy Writing, and Honoring the Process

I'm up to my eyeballs in copy. In addition to finishing up my submissions for the upcoming issue of Edge of the Forest and coordinating the PR needs for the SCBWI-Illinois chapter's annual Prairie Writer's Day conference, I'm now the point person for PR for our church.

Thankfully, writing media releases comes easily for me since this is how I made my living for 20-plus years. But doing so takes precious time away from my writing writing.

KM falls into this category. The project's gone on for so long that at times it feels like the never-ending story. I should know better than to complain about the timing. Each one of us has our own own trajectory, tempered by the lives we lead.

I try to remind myself that as writers, not only do we write to live, we also need to live to write. And if this is true, doesn't it follow that living to write means honoring where we are?

Looks good on paper, and looking back on the last couple of years, I can't deny the impact life's "little" diversions have had on my writing. Most telling is the very real fact that after graduation from Vermont College, I lost a year and half because of E's second aneurysm surgery and recovery.

All forward motion was not wasted, however. In between doctor visits and rehab, I continued my re-visioning of KM--though at times doing so felt like backward progress--and I launched this blog (thanks to gentle urgings from author/blogger extraordinaire Cynthia Leitich Smith), and wrote an essay that's now part of the Special Gifts anthology.

I should honor where I am. Yet, more often than I'd like to admit, I envy other writers the luxury of immersing themselves in their stories 24/7. Rather than tearing themselves away from the keyboard to chauffeur their kids to the next activity or help with homework, they've the uninterrupted time they need to enter their project/characters/world so completely that they can identify the holes, throughlines, and beat of their prose, and do so in record time.

Even so, I can't help but wonder where my writing would be without my life to inform it. Would my characters whisper in my ear with the same urgency and conviction? Would I have found the voice my essay needed to catch an editor's eye? Would I appreciate my uninterrupted butt in chair time the way I do now?

Months ago, I borrowed a mantra from my yoga teacher, J, appying it to my writer's life in a way that centered and energized me. It's time I plastered the saying on my computer again.

Honor the process.

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