Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why Bother to Write? By Betty Hanawa

Originally Published in the Wild Rose Press Greenhouse

Why Bother to Write? By Betty Hanawa

The air is sweet with perfume of springtime blossoms. There's a cool breeze blowing no longer holding the sharp bite of winter. It's time to be enjoying the outside before Summer's heat and humidity makes everything miserable. The last thing you want to do right now is sit at a blasted keyboard and try to write a book.

Why bother?

On the other hand, you've dealt with cranky co-workers all day, came home to a family who has the audacity to demand supper and clean clothes. The last thing you have time for is to write on a book that odds say is never going to be published anyway. So why bother?

But wait! The Muse showed up with a perfect scene. You finish cleaning up the supper dishes and head to the keyboard. The words are flowing. But the youngest kid leans against your shoulder and you realize he's got a fever. The teenager screams from the family room that the dog just puked up all the corn chips the teenager thought it was fun to toss so the dog could catch them. Naturally, you have to clean it up because the teenager will puke herself if she attempts the job. Now you've got a headache. You might as well go to bed after taking care of all the family's needs. The Muse will be gone anyway.

Why bother to try to write?

Because you have to do something for yourself.

Everyone needs a creative aspect in their life to make their soul sing. You're reading this newsletter because your soul needs to write, whether it's a journal you keep for your own self-pleasure, articles for newsletters, or a story with characters you've created and love.

But how do you get time for yourself to create with the Muse?

There's not much you can do about the cranky co-workers and the day job, except to firmly remind yourself what happens at the job, stays at the job. You're not paid enough to worry about the dratted day job on your home time.

Household chores - a teenager and a spouse can each make a dinner meal once a week. A four year- old can set the table and help with clean-up. And, yes, teenagers and spouse can be introduced to Ms. Washer and Mr. Dryer and be responsible for laundry. Everyone lives there. Why are you the only one doing the household chores? The teenager made the dog sick, she can clean it up - then clean up her own mess.
Granted a feverish kid needs your attention. But once the kid is dosed up and put to bed, there's no reason for you to provide entertainment. A sick child needs sleep. Check on him once in awhile, but it's amazing how quickly a child gets well when bed rest and nothing but bed rest is enforced.

To fill your own creative need, you must get back to the Muse

Now here's the thing about the Muse. If you make the time to show up at the keyboard, the Muse shows up, too. It might take awhile. You might have to force yourself to write garbage for a while - which is really hard if you haven't discovered yet how to kill that stupid Internal Editor who sneers at any imperfection. But, if you write enough garbage, eventually the Muse gets curious, comes back, and says "Here, let me help."

The Muse always, always appears when you sit down to write. You've all heard of the tools to help you write while away from the computer. In addition to a laptop, there's the AlphaSmart and its companions The Neo and The Dana. If those are out of your price range, there's always the standard yellow tablet and pen or pencil.

The Muse needs the invitation to join you.

The invitation gets issued when you sit to write. If you deny your creative urge to write, you'll get frustrated, then resentful, and you become the cranky one your coworkers and family complain about.

For your own peace, for the peace of those who love you, take time from each day to write. They'll complain at the beginning, but don't give in. Your coworkers and boss need to learn that your time away from the office is your time, not theirs. Your family will not only learn to respect your private time, but gain their own self-respect by learning skills that will serve them in their own lives.

When you don't grant yourself the self-respect to value your writing, how do you expect respect from anyone else?

Spring is the time of new life. Give your writing a new life. Set writing goals of pages per week and make those goals despite all the distractions life throws at you. Be firm and make sure the family and friends respect your time for yourself. Getting them in the habit of leaving you alone now makes it handy when you're published and have unmovable deadlines.

And if the warm Spring breezes and blooming flowers are completely irresistible?

Take your writing tablet and pencil outside and invite the Muse to join you. Start writing and the Muse will come.

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