Saturday, November 28, 2009

Writing: the Fantasy and the Reality

The Red Table--1916 Leon-de-Smet-1881-1966 The fantasy: I knock out a ton of writing at the beginning of the day.

The reality: I’m frequently distracted by email when I first wake up. It seems vital to me that I respond immediately. This takes some time and then abruptly, it’s time to drive the school carpools.

The fantasy: A picturesque writing cottage in a lovely village is my inspiring retreat as I pen timeless masterpieces that will be studied by collegians for generations.

The reality: I write on the go. I frequently write in the car, pediatricians’ or vets’ waiting rooms, the playground (while trying to ensure my daughter is not abducted by strangers) and carpool lines. I’m a paperback mystery writer…fun stuff that’s a good escape. Not exactly The Divine Comedy, though.

The fantasy: After a restful night in the arms of Morpheus, I scribble quickly as my personal Muse prattles on and on.

The reality: I’m a raging insomniac. I rarely sleep more than 3 hours straight. The Muse is never there; I have apparently deeply offended her, so I’m left to my own devices.

The fantasy: I write perfect prose while keeping an immaculate house, neatly attired children, and providing nutritious suppers.

The reality: I write decent first drafts. Draft ten, however, is much better. The house looks fine unless you look too closely (which I don’t advise. Please back away from the refrigerator, sir.) The children do usually pass muster. Supper is hit or miss. Occasionally we’ll have a special occasion, which I call Breakfast for Supper --a charming name for Eggos, cereal, bananas, and pre-cooked bacon. (Oddly, this meal is a tremendous hit with my husband and children.)

The fantasy: A fan of my series approaches me with great excitement, burbling with admiration about my appearance on the Today show.

The reality: I’m recognized by someone who read a write-up in the local paper. Unfortunately, I’d just finished a grueling day of yard work in 95 degree Southern sun. I hardly even recognized myself.

The fantasy: I write for myself at all times. Anything less would be selling out.

The reality: I write for my editors and my readers. Anything less and I would not be selling at all.

The fantasy: I am living my dream.

The reality: I am living my dream. In the real world.

I’m taking a three day break from blogging to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and will enjoy these older posts of mine. :) All the best to my non-American friends, too! This post originally ran May 13, 2009.