Writing in the Midst of Life


I’m grouchy.
I just bought a week’s pass at the Medical Center parking deck.
My MIL has been sick, in and out of ICU, finally back to a rehab place, but in ER twice this week. Probably will go back before the end of the week, hence the week’s pass.

Yes and no.
When life gives you lemons make lemonade?
Yes and no.

In the midst of life, in all its glory and despair, how do writers write?
Set small goals. I’ve tried to do small things while I’m at the hospital. They DO have great internet connections, so I’ve answered email, read blogs, done research on issues for a story.

Edit. I find it easier to edit something for grammar. So many comings and goings of medical staff, it’s hard to concentrate on substantive revisions. But I can edit a paragraph, stop, then pick it back up easily.

Allow yourself NOT to write.
Some of that has happened this month, too. It’s okay to not write for a day, if life is pressing.

Get time away. It also helped to just leave town for three days, leaving things in the capable hands of other family members. I rested, I thought about a project for an hour straight–maybe more, and I worked, at a hotel, at a coffee shop. Had long hours to think and work! Sent out a mss. Came back refreshed and ready for the hospital again.

At least school visits are over, and I have no speaking things for a month or so. Writing and life–somehow, we manage both of these, don’t we?

  • Stacy S. Jensen
    May 12, 2011

    Thanks for sharing that. Good point to allow yourself NOT to write. Hope your mother-in-law stabilizes.

  • Kristin
    May 12, 2011

    Hugs, Darcy. I hope that your MIL improves soon. This must be very hard.

    For the most part, I do try to write through the difficult times. I agree that it’s much easier to edit and finetune.

    But when my husband went through a long recovery after neck surgery, I found myself in the very odd place of not wanting to work with my characters at all. Typically, I’m the person who goes into an almost physical kind of writing withdrawal when vacationing with family. But the day he went back to work is the day that I went back to my writing.

  • Judith Merrow
    May 14, 2011

    Thanks for sharing you ways of keeping up with the business of writing when faced with family crises. In recent years there have been many hospital vigils with aging parents and other dear ones. I’ve often brought my journal to the hospital, and have found journal writing a way to stay sane, honest and present in the midst of these fearful times. Though not my goal, some of these entries have turned up in the lives of my story characters.

  • Ruth Donnelly
    May 14, 2011

    Hope your MIL’s condition will soon improve. I admire you for getting AnYTHING done. Hang in there!
    P.S. Didn’t comment, but loved the Emily Dickinson tweet post.