Saturday, November 13, 2010

Feed your writing soul

If you're like most writers, you have two lives.

Mild-mannered fusion physicist by day... sf writer by night!
Fun-loving graphic designer... and fantasy writer!
Nurturing mom... and sf/f writer!

If you're at all like this, you may find it difficult to balance these two sides. There are times when the demands of your "day job" (and yes, mother/homemaker counts) completely overwhelm you to the point that your creativity may feel blocked by sheer exhaustion. Sometimes you'll experience a period of high demand from your mild-mannered alter ego, and writing will get pushed to the side.

This happens to me a lot, and I find that after an extended period of this, I need to feed my writing soul. There are many ways that I do this. Sometimes all I can do is find a really good book to read, to help me feel inspired. Sometimes I call a writing friend and have a good chat about story ideas, story structure, rewriting, etc. When I can, I try to find a convention that I can attend, even if it's only for one day.

I occasionally do this crazy thing where I fly to a nearby convention, stay for a day, and then fly back without spending the night. Yes, I know it's nuts - but it's something I know I can do, and when the convention is close enough, it's worth the trouble. I save money by not staying in the hotel, and I get a few good hours of solid time where I can be a writer - shed the alter ego and be the superhero just for a little while. It tires me, yet energizes me at the same time.

I'm going to be flying down to Los Angeles for a day at LosCon on November 27th. Even just knowing the plan is in place has made me feel more energized to do my writing, and I know that being there will help me even more.

For all of you who may occasionally (or more than occasionally) feel trapped behind the mild-mannered alter ego, I encourage you to look around for things to feed your writing soul. Even the small things. Even the things that seem a little nuts. Keeping yourself inspired as a writer is really important to keeping that alter ego happy. Even though I do my mothering while I'm not writing, I know that I'm a better mother when I'm feeling strong and energized in my writing, because I feel like a whole and happy person. So making sure to care for your inner writer-superhero can make every part of your life better.


  1. Okay, I think you're crazy, but popping down to a convention for just a day both makes sense and exhausts me just thinking about it. When my creative energies are tapped, I read non-fiction. The type doesn't seem to matter much. The Economist works as well as a book on 18th century agriculture.

  2. My husband would second you on the Economist, Margaret. Thanks for the good wishes!

  3. My "day job" involves being on the road 24/10, so when I get home for a few days off, it's into my cozy den, glass of wine soft music, and the voice recorder where I've stored idea's and story lines.
    Would be nice sometimes, to have another writer's view point, but this is what is available to me.
    The thought of flying to and from a same day convention sounds like "work" to me, and that's what I want to get away from when I get home.

  4. I love what you wrote about mothering/writing. I feel the same way too. The world opens up its synchronicities to me (or at least I'm more aware of them) when I'm writing.

    I went to my first conference last weekend and stayed in the hotel. It was expensive but I had time to write with no mom-sponsibilities and the best part was the networking in the hotel bar Saturday night.

  5. DeBrandt, good point. I think in fact that it's a departure from the usual routine that can help us. So if travel is the routine, then perhaps that's not the best solution for a writer like you!

    Otter, sounds like fun! It's good for us moms to get out and have a little down-time/professional time.