Thursday, August 16, 2012

The (less than) glamorous life of a writer

I know, I know. You all thought that I woke up every morning at dawn, sipped coffee sitting in the breakfast nook near the french doors while watching the sun rise, contemplating the day's first deep thoughts. Then when I'm fully prepared I sit down in front of the computer and answer all my fan mail--individually of course. After two or three hours of correspondence, I then turn my attention to my newest WIP and write without hestitation for another four to six hours, composing a flawless first draft. Meanwhile I get calls from the media, my agent, and my stock broker (telling me that--of course--my stocks are up). I keep typing with one hand while doing all of this. I do have to break briefly once to decide which account my newest royalty checks are going to be deposited in, what clause I want included in the newest publishing contract, and--of course--how to spend the money from the latest timely sales of stocks. I knock off for the day just as my brilliant children walk through the door (of a spotless house cleaned by a maid service), prepare a sumptuous feast for my hard working husband (who only works for the emotional fulfillment), and go to bed, happily secure in the knowledge that my latest novel makes total strangers cry.

Yeah. I know. But it was fun for a minute wasn't it?  In truth:

1) I don't have any french doors. And my breakfast nook is currently known as "Jeremiah's Room" aka "college kid who moved out, announcing that he was never returning again except to visit, but changed his mind after his younger brother had renamed their formerly shared space as 'Daniel's room. No visitors allowed. No roommates wanted.' "

2) The deepest thought I have at dawn is, "Where's the coffee. There's the coffee. Make the coffee. Drink the coffee."

3) The only correspondence I typically reply to in the morning involves bill collectors. And I don't think any of them are fans. (Apparently signed copies of my book aren't good bartering tools).

4)  I am generally called away from my computer an average of ten times a morning while trying to write. Dogs wanting in and out. Cats wanting in and out. Boys wanting food, rides to places, rides home from places, help finding things. There's a garden to be tended to, groceries to be bought, and a house that, in the absence of a maid, (try as I might) cannot seem to get the hang of cleaning itself. My first drafts are halting, inexpert collections of sentences that must be deleted and rewritten ten times before I'm sure I'm saying what I  want to say. And sometimes it turns out later that I should have been saying something else and I have to go back and rewrite them again.

5) The only phone calls I typically take are from a) telemarketers (lately political campaigns), bill collectors (who have yet to offer me any money), and my mother.

6) No publishing contacts. And the only thing I get to decide to do with money is how to pay everybody enough to keep them happy and still get to feed our family.

7) My children are still brilliant and my husband is hard working (but he'd be thrilled if he didn't have to anymore). However I think they'd have to ask if they were in the right place if they ever walked in the front door and found the place spotless.

8) I prepare serviceable food that everyone eats lots of and I go off to sleep at night with a small dog  tucked behind my knees, another snoring in her kennel, my arms around my sleeping husband, secure in the knowledge that tomorrow I have to get up and do it all over again.

And I'm okay with that. It's not glamorous, but it's my life. And it's good.


Katy Huth Jones said...

Brilliantly written. :)

spence said...

Sounds like you are well grounded, here in the "real" world.

Hal Johnson said...

Great post. Yep, I often joke that I'd write more if I just had a staff at home.

Sammie said...

Hmmm...fair enough. I was hoping you could break the chain of reality that seems to bind us both, as I seem to have had mornings pretty close to that myself. However, as your mother I do like the fact that we can lovingly commiserate with clear vision. I just could have wished for those lovely mornings for you, since it would mean that you had comfortably ensconced your mother in a nifty cottage, where no pipes leak or floors creak. We shall, therefore, cling to hope, since your talent, it appears, continues to erupt. :)

Mary O. Paddock said...

Hi Kathy! And welcome. Thank you for coming by. I hope to see you again. :)

Spence--Grounded? More like in the slimy grip of reality.

Hi Hal. I'd settle for a maid. And a cook. And a dog walker . . .

Hi Mom. :) Don't give up just yet.

Diana said...

Hopping over from IWSG!I, too, also dream about the ideal writers life. Except mine also includes fresh pizza for lunch every day. ;)

Mary O. Paddock said...

Hi Diana! Welcome aboard. :) You know, I might just need to amend my fantasy to include pizza.