Writing takes discipline. You have to put your butt in the seat and fill the pages with words. If you don’t do it, no one else will. And since more often than not a writer is self-employed, there isn’t a boss looking over your shoulder threatening to make you work late if you don’t get that day’s job done. Writing requires a personality that can sit down, self-motivate and type day after day until the story is done.
When I’m writing, I always set a daily goal. Sometimes I hit the goal. Some days I miss it. But regardless of whether I hit the goal or not, I make sure that each and every day I write.
Unfortunately, sometimes no matter how disciplined the writer or how dedicated one is to the project at hand life intrudes. This week life intruded for me. Monday night, I got a call from my mother telling me that a man who watched me grow from my childhood self into an adult woman died unexpectedly. Not that death is ever expected, but still. This man wasn’t sick. He showed no signs of being anything other than vital and healthy and strong. One minute he was laughing with his family. The next he was gone leaving a whole in our hearts that can never be filled.
So this week, despite the desire to sit down and write I found myself unable to put words on the page. I cried with his family. I looked through pictures. I attended his wake and his funeral and shared the memory and impact of his life with those who loved him.
Some times life intrudes on our desire to be productive. We might not like it, but it is important for us to recognize when we can and cannot write. This week, life kicked me and this man’s friends and family in the ass. We all fell down, got up and did what we had to do to get through. The road in front of his family is long and hard. I know what they feel and will take as much time as needed away from my own work to make sure they have the support they need to survive. And tomorrow I will start writing again because it is what I do—what I have to do—what he was so proud of me for. And while the holidays will take time away from the work we all want to do, I cannot stress enough that we should all give life permission to intrude. Our families, our friends and the memories we make every day are the reasons we all can do what we do.