Writing Schizophrenia

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?

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14 thoughts on “Writing Schizophrenia

  1. Yes, that is absolutely my writing life in a nutshell. It amazes me beyond belief when I hit 1k words in a day, but that usually means staying up until midnight. I think you had the same day I did, with all elementary school kids home for Staff Development Day (read: Jaeger shots and backrubs at the school district HQ day).

  2. This here snow squall is making Windows Media Player act all stupid.

    Anyway, my biggest writing obstacle is my own brain. I’ve always been the kind of guy that does everything at once. Need something done? Just do it, all at once. Don’t do a little here and there, you know.

    So in my head, the concept of 2,000 words a day seems silly. My brain—the drunken cowboy with dreams of money, fame, and naked women serving biscuits and gravy 24/7 part of my brain—is telling me to write the entire damn novel in a day! Whoohoo, buckaroo! Then there’s another part of my brain—the smarter but submissive and thus obviously female part of my brain—that tells me this is a ridiculous way of thinking and I should write every day.

    Thus, dilemma.

  3. Tonight’s distractions:

    1. Coughing children
    2. Washer hose popping out of utility sink and flooding basement
    3. Laundry needing redone
    4. Kitchen needing cleaned
    5. Twitter (gah!)

    I feel ya, good lady. I feel ya.

  4. Well, you know I don’t write. But I hear what you’re saying. And as for what I do … generally I tend to implode. And then, of course, I daintily pick up my pieces and readjust my expectations.

    Seriously, I am astonished and amazed at all you manage to do. Superwoman!

  5. I have learned to live with tiredness so that I can reclaim the hours after Wife and V2.0 both head off to bed. So 10pm to 2am are MINE!
    But, then I must actually turn off the internet. Off. really off. Otherwise I am distracted by shiny social media and wikipedia bunnytrails.
    In fact, after this I’m clicking offline for the night. gotta get some writing done!

  6. I love the snow. it makes me happy. and your kids they make me happy too! I’m glad you’re putting forth all that effort to write when it would be easier not to. you’re one heck of an emample to me.
    (and I’ve stopped correcting typo’s they just make it more fun.)

  7. Years ago when my long-legged darlings were little enough, they climbed into the dryer, like I see the little one doing in your pic, and they shut the door. (The dryer does not turn on mind you, until you hit the on button-they do that for a reason!) but the screaming that ensured from the depths of the dryer cave! I had been writing-they were supposed to be playing quietly in the play room. I ran in and couldn’t find them…until I focused the location source of said screams. I had a slight heart attack, did not get back to writing, and said tomorrow’s another day. It is not easy, I completely get it. With all you go through, I have no excuses, except in my own head. Keep the mojo going!

  8. By the way, in case any ladies here are currently stabbing Ken Wood voodoo dolls (I’ve had a terrible headache all day), please know that I was kidding.

    There is definitely no cowboy in me.

  9. Jeremy, I do NOT appreciate staff training day. At all. Ever.

    Nisa-*singsong* Illegal!

    Ken-Your perfectionism will totally screw you over. But you already know what I think about that. 😉

    Matt-Like thinking that you’re going to win our (now lazy) contest?

    Ray-I smile bitterly at people who think writing is just sitting around and playing all day.

    Simon-A flooding basement?! AUGH! What a nightmare!

    Everything that you do is dainty, Rachel. You are such an exquisite lady.

    Mason-I’m struggling with that right now. I usually stay up, too, in order to get the solitude that I need, but I’m exhausted. Suddenly I’m writing bizarro.

    Riley-Just you wait until you’ve had a couple of snow-filled days with the kids! Bwa ha ha! >:)

    Aaron-Your stove talks to you, too?

    Cate-I totally have fantasies about finding a hidey hole of my very own.

    Jenn-My son is obsessed with the dryer! My husband made him a washer and dryer cake for his fifth birthday, and it was really fantastic. He’s amazingly careful, which is a relief, since we refer to the laundry room as his Playroom.

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