I’ve been talking to some wonderful friends about the writing process. We all know how much time it takes. It’s a crazy balancing act to be both a writer and a functioning human being. Most of us (try to) write in solitude. We need unbroken concentration and time to think. But how does that work in a world where you also play the role of spouse, lover, parent, friend, child, co-worker, etc etc etc?
Child A: I want toast.
Writer: Just a second! Mommy’s being brilliant.
Child A: Toast. Toooooast.
Child B: I want chicken nuggets.
Writer: How can you two be hungry? I fed you right before I sat down. Just a minute. “And then he said the words that they had been waiting to–”
Phone: RING! BRRRRING!
Writer: Oh, come on! I only have 20 minutes to write today! Why can’t…
Child B: Mo-om, Child A has a knife! He’s trying to open the peanut butter jar with it!
Cell phone: Da da da dummm da da da dummmm
Kitchen Stove: Hello, I shall inexplicably turn on and try to burn the house down. Here I go!
Doorbell: (Plays “Bring A Torch, Jeanette Isabella”)
Writer: You’re frickin’ kidding me!
I’m exaggerating, but only a very little. The biggest exaggeration is that my son, who is nonverbal, would actually ASK for toast. Usually he heads straight for the knife. But this is it, right? This is what it’s like to write when you have a family, a community, and a Real Life. Tell me, my friends…what on earth do you do?