This Thing We Love

The past several Mondays, I've talked about different aspects of writing craft. Today, let's talk about another part of writing - the writer. What's important to us, how to take better care of ourselves so we can keep writing, maintain our relationships, and continue enjoying life.

We're all different and approach everything in this world from a different direction. None of us thinks exactly the same way, even if we agree on a lot of things. So I'm going to talk about me. Maybe a few things I share will apply to you and will help you in some way.

By the same token, I'd love to hear what works for you because you can give me ideas, too.

Family comes first over writing, but sometimes you'd never know. I'm good about keeping evenings and weekends free most of the time. But near the end of a draft - first, last, or in between - I really push to finish. My live-in handyman tells me it's time to eat and pretty much takes control of non-writing things.

If I'm working out characters or plot problems or if I get stuck between choices on the way, I'm usually deep in thought, quiet, and a little withdrawn. My live-in handyman often needs to repeat things. He gets tired of this, I know, because his temper runs a little short after a while. Sometimes he's able to help with a problem, but I don't usually ask unless I've exhausted all my inner resources. Other times, he's no help at all.

He's a huge help in keeping me organized because he knows what works for me even when I don't. Both of us are fairly organized, but in different ways, so together we make a pretty good team.

During these times when I return to the world of living, breathing humans, I strive to be extra-present because I know it won't be long until I return to the characters and story in my head and will stay there for a while.

I imagine it isn't easy living with a writer. When I ask my live-in handyman, I get "the look." It speaks volumes. I think if our roles were reversed, I would keep a list of things to do and places to go by myself that he had no interest in doing or seeing. That way, when he was pushing to finish or lost in thought, I would have "me" time.

It's also important to exercise at least a couple times a week. My movement of choice is walking. I try to walk the dogs 2-3 times a week. Usually in the morning now because of the heat, but I'd rather walk in the afternoons, weather permitting. After a long push to finish, with minimal exercise, I really enjoy doing anything that gets me out and about.

So remember to think about your family and yourself in addition to your writing. Keep a fair balance over time, and see if you don't jog through life with a few less hassles.


Helen Ginger said…
Excellent advice. Now, if we could just all follow it. My DH and I have learned to establish time together. He gets up early and I'm usually still groggy when I wake, so we spend about an hour in the livingroom, having coffee and talking before the day begins. Then we gather again in the evenings. In between, we're each in our separate offices, working.

Straight From Hel
Carol Kilgore said…
Live-in Handyman is an early bird. I'm a night owl. Like everything else in a marriage, finding time together takes commitment and compromise. As long as everyone tries, it's the most we can hope for, I think.
The live-in Handyman, sounds good.
Looks like you have a very nice working relationship.
Laura Eno said…
Good advice. I swear, if I lived alone I'd become a bag lady. It's hard to walk away from a story in progress and I have to remind myself to do so.
Carol Kilgore said…
My live-in handyman is a jewel. I'm a lucky woman.
Carol Kilgore said…
I know what you mean about becoming a bag lady. Except where would you recharge your computer?
Blackdragon said…
She could get a laptop.
Blackdragon said…
Do you write novels? Or just short stories? Interesting blog!


Take Care!
Carol Kilgore said…
Thanks, Blackdragon! I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.

The battery on a laptop would need to be recharged from time to time. They run only a few hours. At least that's how mine operates.

I write novels as well as short fiction and nonfiction, and I'm in the process of searching for an agent for my most recent novel.