In the world of writing, there are a select few who, for whatever reason, are able to dedicate their days (and perhaps their nights as well) to writing. They wake in the morning knowing that all they have to focus on is the first draft they started last week, a final polish on a manuscript, or the rewrites their editor has requested for their next book.
But for most of us, at least most of the writers I know, we wear many hats. We are mums and dads and partners and teachers, accountants and lawyers, business owners, journalists, librarians, nurses, shop attendants, pilots…The list could go on forever. For most of us, writing doesn’t pay the rent, at least not yet, and while we wait for that elusive blockbuster to enter our minds and flow effortlessly into the computer, we have to keep our day jobs.
For me, my many hats include wife, mother, speech pathologist (in both a private and public capacity) and writer. This means that my days consist of a constantly shifting mind-set. I find myself driving my children to school while thinking of the kids I’ll be working with later in the day, and in the back of my mind, also muddling out who this secondary character is who popped into my latest story. It means taking my laptop to piano lessons and editing a manuscript to the sound of a broken rendition of Fur Elise. It means jotting down story ideas in the car while I’m waiting for my kids to get out of school, and taking a hard copy of a story to a speech pathology conference to re-read in a break between sessions.
At times, working like this can be very disruptive. I may find that I read a sentence or a paragraph over several times without noticing the misuse of the word their, or the missing full stop at the end of a sentence. I may make changes to a manuscript that I later look at and say to myself “What was I thinking?” and change it back to the original. But at other times it can be inspirational. Ideas emerge from observing real life and mixing it with a healthy dose of imagination, and real life is going on where ever I am. I see what kids are doing, I hear what they are saying and how they are acting. And there’s always the question…What if?
Perhaps one day I will happen upon THE story. The one that everyone loves and everyone wants to read, and I will make the move to writing full-time. But in the meantime, I live in my constantly changing hats, and love it.