Thursday, March 27, 2008

Live or Let Live

Maven Lacey KayeThis post is a combination of Maven Darcy's topic yesterday about making characters feel like real people, Maven Carrie's post about making scenes feel like a real book, and the RWR's recent article on how much first-hand research is enough.

To give a brief history: When I first thought about writing a book, I had one genre in mind -- romance. I did have a choice between contemporary and historical, but at the time it didn't seem like much of a choice. I could either spend a LOT of time doing historical research or I could guess what it's like to be a young hot single struggling to find a date. (My experience with contemporary romance was limited to chick lit.) I knew nothing about the latter, so I delved into studying the former. While meeting my historical muse, however, my life changed. Suddenly facing tons of free time, with no outside restrictions, I decided to carpe diem and find out what the Dark Side had been doing all my life. I knew why I'd never tried being cosmopolitan: I was afraid of the unknown. Sneakers and sofas were as familiar to me as weekends spent planted in front of the tv. But I had a lot of friends with busy, hip, social calendars and I knew they would be more than happy to guide me through the perilous alleys of the social networks I wanted to explore. (Both literally and figuratively...Seattle has some cool clubs with alley entrances.)

Slowly but surely, I did get out of my house. I met people -- and found I liked people -- I otherwise would never have come into contact with. Through them, I discovered having a life is hella fun. But one day I had a tilting realization. For the first time,* my* life was more interesting than reading (or writing) about other people's imaginary lives. And that put a real damper on my motivation to find time to write.

It's a different problem than not having time to write. It's a willful disinterest in *making* time. I'm still adamant about keeping to my weekly schedule, but the shiny hasn't worn off the Friday night lights yet. I wonder if there are others out there experiencing the same problem, especially since my problem isn't limited to pure social activity. I have an alien, burning desire to become adept at snowboarding. I couldn't even tell you why, other than that I'm sick of having to turn down the annual trip to Whistler because it's not cost or time-effective. (And probably my recent foray into becoming more athletic has helped ease away the fear of "too physically difficult.")

This partying thing is a hard life, I'm telling you.

The good news is, all my experiences and experiments will help my geek lit when I finally have the patience to sit still again. No more need to adapt Sex and the City-isms to create my cosmo world...VHM will be first-hand, baby.

YOUR TURN: How do you deal with those days you'd rather be shopping or hanging with girlfriends? What do you tell your pals when they're creeping into your writing time? Do you read books for pleasure or do you always have a writing-related ulterior motive? What do you do when reality is more interesting than fiction?


Carrie Ryan said...

So funny that I went through the same thing! I couldn't bear doing the historical research necessary and I loved chick lit but didn't feel like I had the experience to write about it. So I went to law school planning on moving to a hip city and writing about it. Talk about taking the long view towards goal setting!

And what's ironic now is that because of my day job and writing, there just isn't time to have much of a social life. Plus I don't write chick lit! Haha!

But I do always find time for a good (or horrible) zombie flick. All in the name of research, of course!

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

I can't imagine NOT having a hundred different real life things pulling me away from writing!

Jody W.

Erica Ridley said...

As you know, I totally get where you're coming from. It's easy to choose writing over, say, exercise or errands or laundry. But it's hard to choose writing over sporting events and local festivals and girls night out. (In fact... I don't. Hmmm...)

Jackie Barbosa said...

I spent fifteen years having "a life" (read husband and children) before I finally found the time (and motivation) to write again. So I hear ya!

I have no answers for how you keep real life from interfering with your writing, though. I'll let you know if I figure it out!

lacey kaye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lacey kaye said...

Carrie, it's eerie how similar your story is to how I felt when I started out! I feel really relieved to know I'm not alone in wondering how one goes about turning chic. Location and vocation aren't enough (though certainly a good start, especially because it's not cheap to live glamourously :-/ ). It's something that starts from within. Coaching doesn't hurt, either. Definitely, having mentors helps.

E. I know.

Jody - LOL. You probably can't fathom how boring I used to be, either. I used to tell my ex that if there was no one to drag me out of the house I would simply never leave. It turned out to be true.

J, you have so many kid engagements to lure you back to reality, I almost don't even know how you ever find the willpower to write!

Keira Soleore said...

Lacey, if there ever is/was any one word to describe you, boring would be the last I'd choose.

Life has an indomitable way of taking up all the time you give it, until even your thoughts are no longer your own. However, that doesn't mean you don't live. Instead, you adapt. Rethink your goals. Change your master schedule.

With your formidable willpower, it's not a matter of social life owning you, it's a matter of you allowing social life to own you.

So, Saturday, hmm?

Darcy Burke said...

Wow, really thought-provoking post for me. I have to sheepishly admit that I think about writing far too much. We drove to the beach and back this week (almost two hours each way) and I often lapsed into silence while I was thinking about characters and plot for my next book. Drives Mr. Burke crazy. Not that I was thinking, but that I'm not talking to him and keeping him entertained. What can I say? I often drive around without the radio and just think. But with two kids, I enjoy the silence.

But I digress...I do keep a pretty decent social life, as much as I can with little kids (yes, play dates count!).

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens