I woke up at 6:30 with a start, remembering that I'd forgotten a student's housewarming party yesterday. Then another friend--a former student--just wrote to me and scolded me (lovingly, I hope) for not posting something meaty to my blog. (I'm a vegetarian--what can I say?) He wants something controversial.
Well, what's controversial in my life is how I'm hardly working on my novel. Brian (Mr. Focus) thinks I should be able to avoid everything--mostly email; "I haven't checked my email in three years!" he says--and write fiction and just not think about the rest.
Dennis Palumbo said email is the death of writers. YES! We think, What did I do without email? But I remember my focus of yesteryear, when email was not on my radar screen.
Okay, here's my day. I wake up early, feed the cats, feed the fish, and if it's early enough--6:30, say, before the sun glares--I go for a walk. Got to keep the bulge at bay, but so far it's winning.
Back at home, I make a cup of tea. I add a drop of soymilk. And then I deal with emails.
And then....there's my parttime gig editing the ASJA Monthly (www.asja.org), which I'm on deadline for. There's the 2007 ASJA conference, which I'm cochairing. There's my online students at Gotham, there's my two workshops I teach privately. There's my web site, that needs updating, and my radio show, which I book. There's, of course, updating my blog. And there's more.
And there's my son, my number one priority. He's 11. When gets up, forget about writing fiction.
Yesterday I told Brian I think I need to rent an office. A room empty except for a desk. NO INTERNET ACCESS, no email. Maybe have a computer that stays there and it's only for fiction.
Actually, this is something else I've been thinking about doing: Opening a Writers Room-type place where people rent time/space to write. Only write.
I use a dayplanner and meet my deadlines. Fiction tends to be the thing that suffers. Brenda Ueland said writers need idling time, time to dawdle, meander about. I had that once. And it was great. My life is different now. I don't have idling time. But I also enjoy what I do and feel grateful to be able to make a living writing and teaching.
Or maybe it's that I'm at the 300 page mark and am losing interest in my story.
I sound confused. That's enough about me. Tell me about your discipline and how you are able to write fiction in the midst of your busy lives.
(This meaty enough for you, J?)