Thursday, October 11, 2007

Use It Or Lose It?

Maven Lacey KayeMy day job has been pretty intense lately. It seems every minute I'm either rushing off to another meeting or preparing for one, and when I finally get around to answering one of the emails piling up in my inbox, the only thing I seem to accomplish is to generate three more in its place.

This is true, too, of communications from my online buddies, who all seem to be under supplied with Laceyisms lately. Entire conversations flash by and I barely get a chance to archive them, let alone go back and read them. And the preparation for my guests who're coming, oh, hm... /gets out calendar, sees the date, and then drops dead next week are just a little behind, considering at the rate I'm accomplishing the To Do list they'll be somewhere in the afterlife by the time I get everything done.

Bills. Phone calls. 5lbs that seem to come on and then blissfully disappear, only to reshow themselves somewhere lower and harder to cover up. Furniture I can't seem to give away, sitting in the way of furniture I had to go out and buy. Don't even get me started about my pantry. My parents are going to be horrified.

Are you seeing a trend here? A theme, I mean?

Right. There's no writing. Plenty of emotion -- stress, mostly -- but no writing. No blogs. No communities of practice (Beau Monde, PRO, Aspiring Romance -- they all go directly into the archives) or scenes to share or even edit. And it's starting to get me a little down.

Then I remember all the little things I'm supposed to be doing and am not. Like returning this coupon thing to Bed Bath & Beyond. Washing my car. Vacuuming my carpet (and steam cleaning it, yikes!). And I think why write? Why worry about something that can always be put off just a little longer? The scenes I write feel flat, anyway. Maybe I should wait until I'm in a better place to write those highly intense, character-driven moments I loved so much in DTD.

My point here is, emotions aren't just about what's on the page. They are part of you, the writer. The mother. The accountant. The lawyer. The aunt. The babysitter. Whatever you are, wherever you are in your life, most likely, that is coming out in your writing somehow. Either your writing is your escape, and you're able to float out of reality for a few minutes a day, or writing is your cross. The albatross around your neck. (I never understood that phrase. If I just used it wrong, please let me know. I promise not to cry.) Or maybe your writing is somewhere in between, or something more to you than you ever realized.

Only you (or me) can decide if you're going to let your real life affect your writing, or if you're going to take a stand against real-life interruptus. What can you do to rediscover passion when life seems to be a circling grind? What have you heard? What do you know? Help me out!


Courtney Milan said...

There are some things that I have to deal with in my day job that really take my desire to write right out of me. I mean, just suck it out and leave me with no desire to do it.

I've decided that's okay. I'm allowed to feel that way. I would be inhuman not to. I just have to get over it. I give myself a little time to get over it, and then I make myself go on. In the process of making myself go on, I wrote 20 pages of crap last time that I have only now managed to replace.

You can't be inhuman. Give yourself time to respond to things that happen--and then go on. Chances are, you'll find the groove again.

lacey kaye said...

Thanks. It helps to know I'm not the only one... And also to hear it's ok to breathe.



(side note: you snuck in while I was editing. This post is going down until the real Thursday, which over here isn't for another 2.5 hours)

Hellie Sinclair said...

Soccermomosis. The need to do everything ALL the time because it "must" be done. You have no time to do writing, if it even makes the list.

Just because you have the right to do it all, doesn't really mean you HAVE to do it all. Is vacuuming really more important than writing?

I think writing happens in cycles. I think there are months where you really don't feel like writing, period, and making yourself write is akin to putting yourself on the rack. That's fine--that happens...and you'll find your groove again.

But you might still take some time to go over your list and figure out why vacuuming is so important. You probably need to let something go--and I wouldn't suggest the writing because there is something so soulful about writing that puts you back in touch with yourself. The more out of touch you are with yourself, the more stressed and unhappy you'll be with everything else. Whereas if you are in touch with yourself (I don't mean that quite as badly as that sounds), you'll find you're still happy--even if your dishes aren't done. And you never vacuum again.

lacey kaye said...

What is this??! Vacuuming is not a priority? Blaspheme!

hmmm... You may be onto something. I do find it hard to concentrate when the house is not clean (esp the more stressed I am), but OTOH I am the only customer of that supplier, so maybe I need to learn to live with things a little messy. EEeeenteresting.

Jackie Barbosa said...

I think we all struggle to achieve that balance between the "need to do's" in life and the "want to do's." And let's face it, unless you've got a contract and deadline, writing is a "want to do." There are times, to be sure, when writing FEELS LIKE a need (to me, at any rate), but that's not always the case, especially if the muse is buried under the guilt and/or panic produced by all the "need to's."

Because I have a family and a full-time job, there are times when the writing just HAS TO take a backseat to other obligations. Like today, when I have about a million errands to do to get ready for a camping trip this weekend. I never expect to get any writing done on the weekends, whether we're camping or not, although I do sometimes manage to sneak some in. And sometimes, the day job eats up the whole day (like yesterday, when I fielded panicked phone calls from a desperate client for hours).

I've learned to accept that this is okay. Sometimes, life DOESN'T let me write. But if I allow myself take care of those "need to's" before they reach crisis proportions (which they will if I keep putting them off), the muse if more productive when I get back to writing.

J Perry Stone said...


Sometimes you just have to stop at the writing plateau and rest. How else are you going to find the energy/creativity/motivation to reach the next peak?

Also, it seems to me you're having a “them” vs. “me” moment. I'm always having these. They suck because every which way you turn is poisoned with guilt.

Should I: put my family first and clean the environment they live in, or should I write, for me, because it feeds my soul (and then I'd be a happier mom/wife/friend and possibly make some good dough which can go into the kids' college accounts)??

I don't have any answers either.

I do, however, have a very important question to ask you: what are you going to ask your mom to cook for you this weekend??

lacey kaye said...

So part of it is very much what CM touched on, which is how you can come home and ignore the laundry and the vacuuming and the eating healthy because you just don't want to do anything, and being creative definitely tops that list. And part of it is the me vs. them, only in my case, there is no them -- only me. Snicker. Although, work could count as a them, but in the case of work I give 100% of myself as much as I possibly can because they pay me to be there even when I don't feel like it.

In this case, I would definitely say it's not so much about housework and chores, etc as it is simply about feeling drained. I'm hoping my autumn visitors WILL revitalize me. But cook for me? Nah. There's too many restaurants we have to see in the short time they will be here!

Besides, remember the pantry point? I don't even have sugar. Or eggs. Or salt. I am not in favor of devirginizing my kitchen, although Maven Darcy apparently intends to pop the cherry on the oven...OVEN RAPE!!

lacey kaye said...

And to respond to myself (Maven Erica loves to respond to herself, so I'm just being one of the cool kids) again, it's not that the need to have everything perfect isn't NOT helping. It sure isn't, nope nope nope. But I think (like someone said on my personal blog) that being stressed sort of makes the perfect a requirement, which in turn forces back more stress? When the stress was really coming from some other place, like a very busy yet fulfilling day at work.

Am I making sense or should I just give up? :-P

Darcy Burke said...

Lacey. Lacey! You have put into words what has been weighing me down the last week or two. Wow. Might be the best post ever.

And I'm so raping your oven next month. Erica, you'll help, right? Uh oh, that means it's a gang rape.

I have serious guilt about not having time to make writing and writing-related tasks a priority right now. I absolutely see it as my "job" (one that I adore, mind you, and that doesn't pay the bills - at least not yet). I want very much for this to be my career and when I can't focus on it for a couple of days at a time, I feel like I'm shirking like if I had a job I went to and was paid for. Weird, but true.

lacey kaye said...

Hehe. Maybe we should make a jelly roll.

Celeste said...

Nothing stops my creativity up like visiting relatives. It's not that I don't like the company - I do - it just seems impossible to keep up a writing schedule with houseguests. I haven't found a way around it either. But I definitely don't sit in front of the computer screen trying to write when I know I won't be able to. That's just asking for trouble if you ask me. Unless you can escape to Barnes and Noble for a few hours (away from the guests and mess and other demands), just sit tight.

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens