Friday, August 20, 2010
Eat Pray Whine
By Deborah Sharp
Aspiring writers are always advised to bring balance to their fiction: A mix of action and narrative. Dialogue and description. Short, punchy sentences leavened with longer ones of a more leisurely pace.
Just finishing up my fourth book in this new career as a mystery writer, I have a pretty good handle on the balance issue. Okay, some might quibble I'm a bit heavy on dialogue and a bit light on description. But overall, I've learned pretty well the lesson on balance in writing.
So how come I've lost track of the balance between writing and life?
I usually try to be funny when I post here. But I don't feel funny today. I feel tired and stressed. Overwhelmed. Unsure how badly I want to keep racing along on this gerbil wheel that can be the writer's life. I know, I know. Some of you out there who dream of being published are tsk-tsking me about now.
''Oh, poor Deborah. She's on her fourth book, and her life is sooooo busy.''
Well, to you I say this: Be careful what you wish for.
I just saw Eat Pray Love today, so maybe I've got balance and self-fulfillment on the brain. Tomorrow, I may be sorry for this self-indulgent rant; ashamed of whining about a life that many unpublished writers yearn for.
Absolutely, seeing your work published is fantastic; a thrill like few others. But, honestly, a lot of the stuff that goes along with getting published can be a time-sucking pain in the rear. The blogging. The message boards. Keeping up on Facebook, and Linked In, and Good Reads and Book Tour. I've got so many different passwords, I feel like a high-security military installation. And then there's the travel, the press-release-writing. The showing up at a bookstore to a disappointing crowd; or, even worse, showing up with an encouragingly large crowd, only to discover the bookseller only ordered a few of your books.
Some of my author pals are superhuman dynamos. I watch all they accomplish, and wonder why doing less seems to take so much out of me.
Maybe I need some vitamins. Or more caffeine. Or better balance.
For the mortals out there, for the writers with kids, family obligations, full-time jobs, or health issues ... how do you decide where to draw the line between the writing life and the rest of life? Do you ever want to just disconnect from everything electronic, sit down someplace quiet with a pen and a journal and just write? Not for a blog. Not to post on Facebook. Not even for your contractually required next book.
How do you find your peace and quiet? Your time to think? Your time to breathe? How do you find your balance?