Have you ever been invaded?
It happens to me every summer for at least three weeks but it can last as long as nine weeks. It’s usually a lot of fun – trips to the beach, Mackinac Island, the drive-in movie, wine tours, bonfires. What’s not to love, right?
Here’s the honest truth though: I love 90% of the summertime invasion. That other 10%, however, can stress me out. I thrive in structure, and nothing destroys that structure like two nephews, a niece, a sister, a mom, an aunt, and anyone else who pops in for a quick visit. All combined, those “quick visits” can total three months of interruptions, unusual noises, and extra chores.
Maybe you’re one of those people who can focus amidst that kind of chaos, or maybe you know how to work in 10-minute chunks of time, but I haven’t yet mastered those skills. For me, these beach days often yield almost no writing in my new manuscripts. It’s not uncommon for me to stop writing entirely for 8-12 weeks.
Who wants to do that?
Not me, that’s who!
Instead, I pour a cup of coffee, turn on my favorite writing music, plop down in my comfiest arm chair, and run after my inspiration!
Don’t get me wrong. Inspiration is amazing but more often than not real writing happens when you sit down and write. I can try to encourage myself by re-reading The Little Engine That Could or looking up inspirational quotes from Stephen King and Anne Lamott, but let’s not forget this one:
Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
There is no perfect opportunity to write. I’d love nothing more than a room overlooking a lake with my feet propped up and a football game on the TV. It’d be amazing to live the Richard Castle-lifestyle of doing nothing but writing all day! If I waited for those conditions, though, I’d never write.
That’s why I did something different this summer. Not exactly different, but old school. Something I haven’t done wince my senior year in high school. This summer, I picked up a pen and notebook, and I wrote. I didn’t type, I wrote.
It wasn’t fast. It wasn’t my preferred technique. But guess what? It put words on the page.
It worked because I worked.
Creating is an artistic endeavor, there’s no doubting that, but you can’t create anything if you don’t do the work. Landscapes don’t paint themselves. Arias don’t compose themselves. Novels don’t write themselves. Behind all of these masterpieces are artists who worked. It’s nice that I get to work on the beach under my umbrella with a black-and-white composition notebook in hand, but it’s still work. It’s getting up every day, ignoring the distractions, and getting to work.
Work, work, work.
But it’s still the best job I’ve ever had.
If you could do anything as your day job, what would you do? Where would you do it?
Karin Beery – Writer. Editor. Novelist. Karin writes contemporary fiction with a healthy dose of romance. Represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at WordWise Media, her debut novel, Summer Plans and Other Disasters, released September 15, 2018.
When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing through her business, Write Now Editing. And when she’s not doing either of those, she teaches Substantive Editing for Fiction and Romance Editing through the PEN Institute. Karin is also the Managing Editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, where they publish stories that entertain, encourage, inspire, and enlighten.