Archive | January, 2012

Real Life vs. Writing Life

26 Jan
Abigail Cash

All clipart writers are right handed. As a lefty, I take offense to this...

The title of this blog post makes me smile for a couple reasons. First, it makes it sound like my Writing Life is something entirely separate from my Real Life, almost like the worlds I used to create as a child to play in with my imaginary friends. But also, it makes them sound combative, like there is a cage match going on inside my head. Only the strongest will survive!

In a way, both those things are true. When I am immersed in my Writing Life, the concerns of the real world seem to fall away one by one in favor of late night scribble fests and frantic interactions with half-formed characters. I get emotionally invested in my characters to the point that I start neglecting my flesh-and-blood friends. It’s a delightful fever, but its unmaintainable.

On the other hand, when Real Life rears its ugly (or at least uglier) head, I find myself drifting farther and farther afield from the creative outlets in my life. The last couple of weeks have been chock full of Real Life Endeavors, and as a result I’ve left my Writing Life sitting out in the cold Minnesota winter. (Okay, for any of you experiencing the reality of this Minnesota winter, it isn’t nearly as cold as it could be. There hasn’t even been a cold enough night to say, develop frostbite. But I digress…)

I’m starting a new job next week. This is great news…I’ve been on the job hunt since before graduation last spring, and I am really excited about the opportunities that this position offers. But between all the hubbub around interviewing and preparing for interviews and then worrying about interviews…there hasn’t been time for the kind of Writing Life frolics I enjoy. Twitter and blogging are part of that, of course, but so are editing and (gasp!) writing new things.

The truth is, I’m almost as new to my Real Life as I am to my Writing Life. More than likely, I’ll find a way to balance the two. For now, they remain rivals for my attention.


Weekend Warrior

15 Jan

Abigail CashAnother weekend has almost passed, and I find myself swimming in lists and things I didn’t quite get done. Don’t you hate that? I’m in the middle of a third set of edits for my current book, and I have been dying to put pen to paper for the sequel, which has finally started budding in a tangible form in my head over the last couple of weeks. Added to that, you’ve got all the little things that must be done around the house, friends to catch up with and family to spend time with, and it seems like the hours just fall away.

Since I’m not working at this writing gig full-time, my hours are limited during the week when I can really sit down and devote myself to it. I often find that while ideas are swirling around in my head when I’m at my desk at work, by the time I get home at night, all I can think about is a hot meal and a nap. As much as I love my characters and the world I’ve created, I find myself saying, “Not tonight, guys. I’m beat.”

This last week, a writing buddy and I have started an editing schedule. An hour a day, no matter what. It worked so well that I think I may have to build in a writing hour as well. I’m starting to realize what a discipline writing is. It sounds funny when I say that, because I’ve been working on honing my words and story-telling for years, but this is the first time I have hit a brick wall and thought, this really is a second job.

Luckily, it is a job that I love a great deal more than my day job at the moment, and one that gives me joy and pleasure   that I just can’t find anywhere else.

If you’re like me and write on the side, what’s your method for staying on top of your manuscript and edits?

If you’re a full-time writer (I’m jealous), how do you manage your time?

The Uphill Climb and Other Thoughts

5 Jan

Well, it took less than a week into the New Year for me to start moping. It isn’t surprising. The last year was a doozy, and I’ve felt like Sisyphus more often than not (Sisyphus was the dude who was damned by the gods to push a boulder up a hill for all eternity and never get anywhere…gotta love Greek myths). One thing that I think I’ve gotten better at in the last year, though, is stopping for a deep breath and a reassessment.

I always feel silly talking about the “power of positive thinking”, but I think that once you get past the corny motivational speaker connotations, you reach an idea that is pretty central to accomplishing anything. Believing that you can do something makes it more likely that you will. Now, I’m pretty sure believing I can fly won’t help me sprout wings, but believing that I could write a book certainly got me over some difficult humps of self-doubt.

It can be hard to get to that place where you can smile about all the things that are going right, especially when it seems like the world is dog-piling on top of you. Maybe life would have seemed better to Sisyphus if he had stopped and thought, “Well, at least I get to be out in the sun while I push this enormous boulder up a hill for the rest of forever!”

I’m not sure what my point is here, except that positive thinking can actually help us reap real rewards. I’m gearing up for a final editing push of my manuscript before submission, and am currently taking notes for the second book in the series. When it all seems like a little too much, I’m concentrating on how marvelous it is that I had the  chance to take the time to accomplish something that I’ve wanted to do my entire life. I never thought I’d have the time or the energy, but look what I have done!

How do you get yourself to the top of that hill? What motivates you and keeps you going strong?