Whenever I am asked, ‘So, what do you do?’ I fumble through a series of emotions, defaulting on a grin-and-bear-it smile.
Wife and Soccer-Mom-of-Three by day. Emergency Room and Neonatal nurse by night. Breastfeeding Educator. Romance Author.
Eyes normally get wide and the person who just wanted some small-talk responds in one of two ways:
“Whoa, what’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in the ER?”
“Really, you’re an author? Where do you find the time?”
The first question is easy and usually starts with some genius who said, “Hey, hold my beer.” The second is pretty tough.
A writer needs to write. Everyday. I compare it to training for a marathon, except you don’t get the satisfaction of a medal or a sticker for your car when you type “The End.” My world doesn’t allow for writing rituals or long stretches of time with my fingers feverishly putting words on the page. Over the years, I’ve tried little ways to find time. I carried my tablet around like a fourth child in the off chance I’d have a moment during soccer practice or that my brain would be able to restart and re-tool a scene between patients. But those situations didn’t always work out. I needed to be a mom at soccer and a nurse in the ER.
When I finally started calling myself an author, I gave myself time. Billable, bursts of time where I officially put on my romance-writer hat. I stopped trying to find time to write and made time to write. I get up early. Stay up twenty minutes late. I let my children play the iPad (yep, I’m that mom). I complete three mom chores, and grant myself equal amounts of time to work as an author. My children know I work in the hospital and on the computer. My co-workers simply ignore the fact I talk out my scenes while turning over beds or charting vital signs. And my husband understands why some days the laundry doesn’t get finished.
Sure, the “Mom Guilt” monkey hitches a ride on my back every now and again, and somedays my precious thirty minutes is spent deleting three sentences and googling a word. Maybe all you do is draft or doodle. Maybe it’s listening to the song that inspires your story. If it fires your imagination and is solely devoted to your craft – it will never be time wasted.
Don’t look at your day and decide there isn’t time for you and your story. Don’t try to give 100% to five different things at once. The outcomes are never worth the effort. Except for cooking. Crafting a scene while making dinner always turns out nice and spicy.
Ellis Kaye, DFWWW Board Member