Do you have healthy attitude about your writing? Now, if you ask me what I mean by healthy attitude, I’ve no idea. I was hoping you’d know.
Here’s the thing. I’ve crossed a line. Drunk the koolaid. Swallowed the hook, the line, and the sinker. Whatever–but do any of these things sound healthy to you? Let me know if they do.
But in this writing madness I do happen to be a mom. Please, for the love of all that you hold holy, do not label me a mom-writer. It makes me break out in issues. Mom issues. Mother guilt. Mom rage. Breaking out in mom-issues is worse than breaking out in hives. At least if you show with hives people say, “Try this ointment.” Break out in issues and people say, “Change your attitude.” Ointment is cheaper and easier to apply and can be applied without the help of a therapist.
Nobody goes around calling men, “Dad writers.” Men have their own issues–and having been raised by a single dad, I know several of them, but really, there is no men’s fiction. There is fiction, and there is women’s fiction. I have yet to figure out exactly what that means beyond–men don’t read me fiction. And this is not to say that women’s fiction is bad. I’m not talking about the content of the book but the label. The bloody label. Labels are really good for wine–less good for novels. Or maybe…hmmm…wine…
Take this wine bottle I just pulled off our shelf–Clayhouse Vineyard Adobe Red 2005
41% Zinfindel, 26% Petite Syrah, 18% Syrah, 10% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
I could write a label for my novel like that–The Labyrinth House: A Novel 2008
39% love, 35% absent father, 9% supernatural, 10% friendship, 7% mother/daughter tension.
I’m going to have to work on those numbers, but you get the idea.
Back to that crossed line. On one side of the line is normal life. On the other is the writing life. I had Friday off–kid and student free!–and I spent it writing. By 3 o’clock I was hungry, but I ate chips, a tomato, and a popsicle. Fixing more than that means writing less than I did, and I don’t get a day off to eat. Or to wash dishes. Or to remember birthdays. Or whatever happens back on the other side of the line.
I’m not saying this is right. It’s just that one day, I’d like for someone to pick my book up off the shelf, read it, and have it mean something to them. Why this matters to me, I don’t know. Character motivation is a much more pressing concern.
That Friday night was my turn to put our son to bed. We did the usual routine, and after I read him stories and tucked him in, I stayed in the room with him. This must be a bad habit, but he doesn’t like to fall asleep alone and we’re suckers. So he and I made a deal (because I was obsessed with a scene). When all was quiet and he was beginning doze, I could write in his room. There next to his bed I tapped away on my laptop. I ended up in there an hour after he’d fallen soundly asleep. I written a few decent paragraphs too. Maybe my son dreams of typing and the computer light.
And maybe one day that reader of mine will say, “Gosh, she’s a good writer.” For the only person who can decide if I’m a good mom is my son.