In a word: everything. I went into this knowing nothing about how being between permanent addresses would affect my writing. Since we are getting ever closer to getting to the next permanent address, hopefully in the near future, here are a few things I’ve learned from this experience.
- It’s hard. Writing rituals, routines, or schedules? Buh-bye. Gone. Not there anymore. It’s uncomfortable and disorienting, and feels like adding insult to injury, when the questions of the day include things like “where are we sleeping tonight?” and “are we eating?” Writing fiction doesn’t seem like an important thing when basic needs are on a case by case basis,k especialy in the not-wanting-people-to-know stage.
- Writing groups/dates and memberships in professional organizsations may lapse. Conferences may be off the table, especially in this time of social isolation, because getting food on the talbe and a table upon which on can place that food, is top priority. There will be days when a write can’t. This does not, by the way, indicate failure.
2) It’s necessary. I have stories inside me, and they want to get out. They need to get out. For a long time, when our vagabond days just started, the only writing I had brain for was journaling. Oh so much journaling. I depleted the stash of notebooks I had on hand and went back into storage for more. Brain dumps, no filter, whatever was in my brain went on the page. I still do that, but I did that before, and I don’t see it going away any time soon. It primes the pump and clears the brain space for actual writing-writing things. (Fiction counts as writing-writing, for me.) Some screaming into the void, bits and pieces of my much-beloved, much-neglected historical and contemporary romances, sometimes all of the above at the same time. It happens.
Besides fiction, my own blog, and my still-feels-new position as head gal in charge of Buried Under Romance all suffered greatly, adn I am not okay with that, but I would also be the first person to tell somebody else not to feel guilty, so something to think about there. That’s the worst of it, really, the wanting desperately to connect with the works in progress, and not…quite…reaching. Sometimes it was because getting to pen and paper was an issue, or because I didn’t have enough me left in me to do that kind of thinking. Some times, the closest I could come to productivity was to remember. Remember that scene? Remember when that character did that thing? Or what I intended to write when they would do that thing? sometimes that’s enough.
3) It’s essential, which is not the same as necessary. I say this for me. I am not saying that any writer going through any kind of big life change absolutely must write, because that is not the case. If putting a thing aside is what yo need to do to be okay, absolutely do that. For me, writing in general, and writing romance in particular, has been a lifeline. Not only does the romance genre remind me that every story in this genre has a happy ending, no matter how dark the black moment may be, and that love (platonic and family as well as romantic; pick the ones you like and leave the rest) it’s that immersing myself in a good story, whether I am the one reading it or the one writing it, allows me to not escape, but gain respite.
Reading or writing fiction is a place I can go when I don’t want to be where I am. Yes, I did just quote my own character, Dominic, in Chasing Prince Charming, and when I do have to put down book or tablet or pen and paper and deal with things in the everyday world, I’m stronger.
There’s more to it, of course. This isn’t a one and done sort of topic, and I don’t want to be a downer here, but, in the words of Sir Elton John, I’m still Standing, and those of Ms. Gloria Gaynor, I will survive. I shall close out with the wise words from Mr. Elvis Costello…every day, every day, every day, every day, I write the book.