My trip to the Vermont College mini residency mid last month was awesome, inspiring, invigorating. In the wake of the long weekend, I've been thinking a lot lately about writing, the creative process, my process, and what makes a successful writer.
Take, for example, the act of sitting butt in chair for the hard work of writing. While listening to lectures and readings by Tobin Anderson, Gregory Maguire, Holly Black, Tim Wynne-Jones, Franny Billingsley, Sharon Darrow, Kathi Appelt, Jacqueline Woodson, Coe Booth, and more, it was so easy to imagine immersing myself in my work-in-progress for weeks at a time.
Then I returned home.
Vermont College weaves a wondrous spell during its residencies. You get to immerse yourself in the craft while someone else cooks, someone else arranges your schedule, someone else worries about where the kids need to go, wear, eat, etc. But let's face it. Unless you have a wife, the life of a writer outside of the VC bubble is less idyllic and a lot more complicated.
I'd love the luxury of wearing my writer's hat full time. I can't. I'm a writer mom of three girls, two with special needs. On any given day, I've been known to wear multiple hats at once: mom, personal assistant, medical coordinator, educational advocate, disabilities advocate, cook, chauffeur. Some days, there's no room for my writer's hat, no matter how hard I try to keep it on.
I'm not saying this to complain. I sharing this in hopes of giving perspective to fellow writers who may be feeling the same way I do; who worry that they'll never finish their projects; who fret that they'll never find an agent, editor, fill in the blank; who look at their growing to-do lists and the people and things that keep them from sitting butt in chair, and wonder why they even try.
More often than not, the simple act of sitting butt in chair for the hard work of writing is anything but simple. But fresh from VC, I'm inspired to fight for my time in that chair.
So today marks the first in a series of posts about my writing process, what works for me, and how I'm fighting for my writer's life.
Next time: Butt in chair time. How I fight for it and win.