Life in General, Writing

Settling In

What visions of grandeur I have when planning my perfect writer life.

I will wake up with my husband (so early, he rises), we will walk the dog together, and then I will make us coffee while he gets ready for work. As the door closes on his departure, my laptop will open and my productivity will arrive. And then, I will write. And then feed the dog. And then write. And then walk the dog. And then write and write and write until lunch. I will walk the dog again, and then I will read (or perhaps edit another project) until dinner. Then, I will have family time with my dog and husband for the rest of the night.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Having just gotten married and moved from the suburbs to the city -not to mention having an actual brick-and-mortar job I have to show up to every few days- I have far too many affairs to settle to fall into this routine. I have last names to change! Thank you cards to order, write, and send! Boxes to unpack! Closets to organize! Essentials (like.. a desk) to purchase! Books to read, review, and recommend! Storytimes to lead! I mean, I should wait until I have less on my plate, right?

Except that, if I wait for the perfect time, for fewer obligations to fill the space between sunup and sundown, I will be waiting my entire life to begin. And I am far more of an Alexander Hamilton than an Aaron Burr, sir. If you are not familiar with the story of Alexander Hamilton (or the Broadway musical I am currently obsessed with), that means that I would rather “write day and night like it’s going out of style” than “wait for it.”

And write I have. Inspired with a picture book idea, I flew through a first draft that was clunky, too long, and not at all what I wanted… but it was a huge learning experience. That first draft turned into a second draft that dealt with the plot issues I saw, but was still as just as long and twice as bulky. A third draft (currently in edits) focuses on killing my darlings, paring down unnecessary words and exposition into something that might actually seem like a picture book instead of a novella for preschoolers.

Here’s the catch. I always knew that it was better to write -no matter what else I had going on in my life- than to not write. But, for the first time that was not perfectly convenience for writing, I acted on it. And now, when people ask how my writing is going (and oh, do people ask how my writing is going…), I can’t describe how great it feels to tell them about my progress instead of saying “Oh, well, you know… it’s going…”

So here’s to settling in. Not into to a lifestyle that’s comfortable to write in, but into a dedication to writing even when it’s not comfortable.

And I guess that goes for wedding thank you notes, too…