Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Enemy


As a writer I often encounter many enemies, but the worst enemies of all are the ones you least expect. I am talking about family. Once my children had grown up and moved out of the house I made the mistake of thinking that my time was finally my own. Instead of sneaking time away to write in a journal, I would finally have time to write a book, and to pursue more actively what I loved to do most. At first encouragement from my family was handed out like smiles on a plate, but once they saw that it took away from their time the smiles turned quickly into frowns. Even now as I write this blog, I know there are other things I am supposed to do, things that my family expects of me. My writing has been pushed into a corner because it is not time efficient. According to them I should be able to set it aside until a couple of hours before bedtime. Inspiration should be damned. I guess they assume I can turn on my muse like a switch, and use that time to write when it does not interfere with the time they need.


Maybe if I was a published writer and money was coming into everyone’s pocket they might feel different. My question is how can you do that without investing the time you need? As a writer are you constantly interrupted by someone or something that needs your attention? Is your family constantly trying to strangle your muse? Some enemies are easy to deal with, but when “The Enemy” is the one you love, how do you deal with that? Life is full of choices and priorities. It should be easy to choose a plate of smiles and toss the plate of frowns in the trash. No matter how I look at it, at the end of the day I am still faced with a pile of dirty dishes.

15 comments:

KarenG said...

Ha! I could have written this post. I too spent my writing hours "sneaking away to write in my journal." No advice whatsoever as this is a situation every mom has to settle on her own.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dishes be darned! Just switch to paper plates.
Maybe if you sat down with them and explained how important this is to you? Ask that if there's only a set amount of time you can devote to them, what would they like most from that time?
Sorry if you're not looking for solutions - my wife gets on me for trying to fix when she only wants to vent. I'm a man - that's what we do.

Margo Kelly said...

Agreed: stupid dishes. I say hire a maid. :) If that's not possible, then set your boundaries. You are just as important as those people around you. Your goals and desires are no less than theirs. Hang out a sign that says, "Do not disturb. Writing a best-seller." and then close the door.

Good luck!!

Tonja said...

My husband and kids are very supportive of my writing, but the fact is I work around their schedules and needs. I am the most productive writing when I schedule blocks of time when no one else is home or when I can leave to go work at the coffee shop...alone, no kids or hubby tagging along. If you're not home, they won't need you.

Michael Offutt, Expert Critic said...

Oh yeah...family definitely doesn't understand at all about writing. My brother said, "You waste so much time in that hobby of yours that I think it's damaging. Have you thought about seeing a shrink or a therapist?" They basically think that this it's stupid for me to write.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I work around the family but I should treat my writing more like a job than a hobby. I need to take it more seriously before I can expect anyone else to.
Good luck with your writing and your family balancing act.
HMG

Nancy Thompson said...

Non-writers never get it. And family members can be even worse, but your family should be supporting you. You've given your whole life to your kids and family and now that they're off on their own, it IS your time. And you should do what makes you happiest. If that's your family, great, but if it's writing, then let them learn to support you as you have always done for them. Sometimes the mama bird has to toss the baby birds out of the nest for them to get the hint. Fly away!! But they'll get it and learn to be a little more selfless, like you've been...and still are.

Jacqueline Howett said...

I can relate! I think you have all said it- above.

I tried the do not disturb sign once. That only made it worse. In fact, they would pretend not to notice the sign.

I just love it when no one's around.

I use paper plates now!

Just don't feel guilty about your creative flow. Just write!

GigglesandGuns said...

I never shared my writing dream with my girls. When I was forced to retire I announced I was going to write. At first they were great but kept their old habits of interrupting with their lives.
Once when we were having lunch together I let them know what writing meant to me and how it made me feel. I had my blog for a couple of months before they knew of it.
Two things changed since that lunch: 1) They ask if I'm working when they call if I say yes they tell me to call when I'm not busy and 2) if I don't post at least three times a week they want to know why.
Maybe it's easier because no one lives with me.

mshatch said...

just (try to) remember that your needs are important and valid, too.

Melissa Bradley said...

Oh I hear you on this one. Enemies in smiling, loving faces. Arrgh!!! Off with their heads! Now, I've got to go and see what my mom wants. Hugs to you and I wish you the best in getting that precious writing time.

Kari Marie said...

Oh, paper plates are a writer's best friend. Along with takout and pizza delivery. LOL :)

It's hard. I consider it a good day if I can devote an hour to my writing. I'm lucky though because my husband respects my writing time for the most part. However, I've only been at this writing thing for almost two years. Let's see what he thinks in another eight. ;)

Kara said...

Do I ever understand you! Sometimes I wish I could luck myself away in a cabin in the woods with no phone, no email, and no obligations or interruptions.

Craziness abounds said...

Heck if I know but if you figure this one out let me know. I'm in the same stinking boat. Sigh

Steve Bailey said...

Hey its not easy.... I have been there.... but for me writing is part of who I am.... so they just have to get on board.... and luckily for me they have slowly and now they all laugh at the madness of which I write....... so if they dont already maybe soon they will!!!!