Thursday, May 16, 2013

Writing at a Moving Target

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Life is a moving target.” If nothing else, it’s been made pretty famous by a store of a certain name. I wish, though, that it wasn’t moving so fast. I wish it would stop, especially when it comes to my writing.

For a brief time, I thought I had a handle on this whole writing lifestyle. Then my oldest daughter was born five years ago today and she threw my life on its head.

I eventually found a new, though slightly more difficult rhythm. (I’m not a morning person, so those 5 a.m. writing sessions were a real bear.) After a matter of a few months, a combination of morning sickness and other ill health again threw things off-kilter. I can’t say I’ll never recover, but I haven’t yet.

I also can’t say I haven’t written anything. As editor of a weekly paper, I routinely write interviews and other features. As a writer, though, my heart and soul have always belonged to fiction. I haven’t touched that since months before the birth of my 21-month-old son. That’s too long.

I wouldn’t trade my children for anything, not even Stephen King’s career. Now, as I write this post, though, I try to block out the movie my five-year-old is watching (The Sword in the Stone if anyone’s interested)…and my toddler’s insistent (try throwing an empty bowl at my head) request for a fifth Cutie…and my two-month-old’s increasingly strident cries. I try to focus and wonder when the target will quit moving. Then I have to face the fact that it never will.

The target will never stop moving. Life will never be perfect. The kids will grow up and something else will happen to take my attention. So, if I want to be a writer, I have to become a sharpshooter and try to hit that target no matter how fast it’s moving or how much it zigzags. I just have to figure out how.

How do you write when your life is a moving target?

Some of the things that keep my life a moving target.