You know that stereotype of the muttering, hunched, wild-haired writer locked up in the attic with a notebook and well-chewed nub of a pencil? Or how about the Marquis de Sade in his oubliette?
Well, I’m starting to think it’s not too far off.
I was pretty happy when I started on my new routine of 1000 words a day as a solid goal. I felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of each block of work, and none of the guilt I usually feel going off and doing something flighty after attaining it. I knew that 1000 words a day was a good chunk and most days I did at least 1500. It was nice to have a few hundred in reserve in case the next day went slowly and badly. I found though that I could always get another 1000 done.
However I have just been told by someone near and dear to me that I was in a bad mood for almost all of the time. In vain, I tried to explain that it was focus and concentration and a sort of scary single-mindedness. I mean I quite probably was mumbling under my breath. I’ve written before about inhabiting the story, and it’s true that I get so wrapped up in my characters and plot that the rest of my life feels a bit mundane and ordinary. Colors don’t pop as vibrantly, conversations aren’t as snappy, and of course adventure and and danger are usually absent. There’s a high followed by a low in completing a book which reminds me of the euphoria and blues which come during and after child-birth. It takes a few days to find my balance again outside the pages of the manuscript.
I love my life. I love that I spend most of my days with my two kids and my husband and whatever WIP I have going. I don’t love painting my house or filling out forms very much but that’s mostly done with now. I am grateful that this is the life that I get to lead. Most people are not lucky enough to be able to do what they enjoy doing, and there is a sort of chaoticness, wonder, and primal joy wrapped up in spending hours communicating with people under the age of ten. It reminds me what is important.
I spend a lot of time inside my head. Usually I don’t think about the face I present to the rest of the world. But I have to live among others, and it’s probably something I should think about.