Something I heard at a writer's conference a few months ago has belatedly set off an alarm in my head...
A New York agent was speaking on realistic expectations. In fact, she encouraged giving yourself a realistic goal of getting one or two novels done in a year--because, after all, "real life does step in."
Have you ever been dancing--you know, real dancing--when someone has cut in? It only happened to me once, but it was planned. I was dancing at my wedding with my grandfather and my groom cut in. My grandfather reluctantly handed me off and the two of us shuffled around the floor until the song ended. That was the last time I danced with my grandfather, and in spite of the great video footage, I often wish my husband had not stepped in.
So today it hit me. No matter what the timing, the planning, the seeming importance, we should resist a lot harder when life wants to step in. We should look people in the eye and say, "Sorry, this dance is taken."
If only this could fit on a tee shirt:
"I am unable to resist mothering my children because I love them and they are a part of who I am. And for those of you who have forgotten that I am a writer, I am unable to set aside my writing at this moment for the same simple reasons."
Come on! I'm not saying "forget the real world". I'm saying "If real life wants to dance, it'll have to wait for the next song."
Life is short, and personally, I have far too many stories to tell to sit back and only write when the phone is not ringing. It's time I said, "Take a message."
Repeat after me, "I am a writer, not a mouse."