Remember on the Gilmore Girls, how Rory always carried a book wherever she went? Had to wait for the bus? Pulled out her book. Waiting for someone to get done somewhere? Got in a chapter or two. I love that. And I subscribe to that. I try to keep a book in my purse or in my car, because you never know when you’ll get the opportunity to read for a few minutes.
That’s the reader me. The writer me always carries a story around as well. Except that it’s in my head. And lately, my brain is flipping back and forth between three different stories. It might sound weird if you aren’t a writer. Distracting, to say the least. But it’s really not. It’s just…me.
Part of my brain is always disengaged from my current surroundings. Sometimes that’s a tiny part, or sometimes, like when I’m nearing the end of a book, it’s huge. A part of me crying out to get back to my “other” family, the world of my own creation. I see that light at the end of the tunnel, getting bigger and brighter. A little voice whispers “You’re so close – don’t stop now!”
Last night I was at the casino, celebrating a friend’s birthday. A huge group of us were sitting at a table at the buffet and I wonder how many of them realized that in my head, I was writing. Today I have so many things on my list of chores, that it would take a miracle to be able to sit down and work on my book. But I’ll be thinking about it. Part of me will be spending the day with my characters. Because I’m SO close.
Tomorrow morning, hubby will take the kids to school. I’ll sit down with a cup of coffee (and a couple of Hershey’s kisses – don’t judge!) and breath a sigh of relief. Because I’m home. I made it through our time apart and now we can continue our journey. There are people in my life that worry about me. And that’s fine for them. Writers are a different breed. I’ve accepted that. No, I’ve embraced that. It’s what I do. It’s what I am. And I love it.
Some of you are going to be able to relate, nodding your heads and going “Exactly!”. The rest of you are going to be weirded out, and probably more than a little scared. But this is what being a writer is like. We’re a bit different than most people.
I hear voices. No, they’re not dead people. They are very much alive – in my mind. They hold conversations that have absolutely nothing to do with me. I feel like I’m eavesdropping in my own head. And nine times out of ten, they start talking when I’m not ready to sit at the keyboard and get it all down. Usually when I’m just falling asleep or just waking up for the day. Or in the car while I’m running errands. They love to visit me in the shower.
Now here’s a dilemma that is fairly recent. I have multiple projects vying to have their stories written, and they all think they should go first. I’m in the middle of book one in a new trilogy. Not only are the characters from the first book helping me write the current scene I’m working on, but they’ve jumped to other parts of the book that I’m not even ready for yet. Then there are the other two leading ladies from books two and three. They think it’s helpful to drop little tidbits about their backstories and what they’d like to see coming up in their own books. I can work with that. The other day I figured out who I would write my monthly short story (exclusive to newsletter readers) about. Yesterday was all about catching the zippy dialogue between the hero and heroine.
I’m taking a course on strategic planning. I had mapped out a course of action that involved setting work hours. Okay, toss THAT out the window! I may set work hours. And I may work those hours. But this writer brain doesn’t turn off–ever. I have notebooks all over the house. In the car. A waterproof one in the shower (no joke!). I have a little notebook in a fanny pack (don’t judge!) for when I’m walking around the neighborhood or to get the kids at school and the gem of an idea strikes. Because if I don’t write it down the second it comes to me, it’s gone.
Bottom line: I feel like I’m paying rent in my own brain. It’s mine. But it’s really not. Isn’t there a saying about pets and homes? “It’s their house, they just let me live there.”
If you need me, I’ll be slaving away at my keyboard, racing to finish one book before the next one comes along. And btw, if you can relate, drop me a comment and commiserate. Because, while this is a pretty cool problem to have, it is EXHAUSTING.