A few weeks ago, I sat at my desk and picked up the phone. It was not that coveted call from an editor, but a call that made me break out in a cold sweat and my heart bungee jump to my stomach. In a split second, my world and all its priorities changed. When a family member’s life lies in the balance, nothing else matters.
Through life-saving surgery and the day-to-day uncertainty of recovery, our family pulled together; we are doing what needs to be done, and celebrating the small victories: our loved one’s smile, her ability to speak, stand and walk, feed herself. We often say in my family that it could have been worse. And it always can. We are deeply grateful she is on the road to recovery.
Now that the flames of crisis have been tamped down to hot coals, and though my day to day routine is drastically altered, it’s at least possible to think about writing issues, like my now postponed book deadline (thank you, compassionate editor!), and how to get my mind back into the story, in whatever way I can, knowing that my sweet all day writing schedule has been truncated for the time being because of new family responsibilities.
We all know authors aren’t exempt from tragedies and rough times. How do we squeeze in productive writing times, knowing that our concentration level, physical and emotional energy is low, but that story must be written? How do we stay healthy when obligations trump self-care?
Mercy of the Moon was written in bits and pieces and many revisions in a hospital room, where I stayed while my husband underwent treatments for leukemia. It was an escape and a blessing to have the story weaving through my mind. I believe it is a richer, deeper story because of our experience. Hopefully soon, when the stress dust settles, I will feel the same about this one, that eventually the trauma and exhaustion will transform into pearls of deeper meaning and heightened perception.
For now, I will grab the time that is given to me to write, read my notes, assess my plot, write the story sentence by sentence, and let my amplified emotions enrich the story. I will do what I can with the energy that I have, and not feel guilty for what doesn’t get done.
In a time where others must come first above all else, I will do my best and turn to my music for moments of respite and soul comfort. Today for a few minutes, I walk the hills of Scotland with Capercaillie, and their song, “To the Moon.”
How do you, fellow writers, integrate your writing into less than perfect circumstances? Perhaps we can help each other by sharing our insights, experiences, wisdom. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe I’ll write about it next month.
We’re all in this together. Thank you for your support.
She spent her childhood running wild on an Idaho mountainside. Although she’s lived across the U.S., she is still an Idahoan at heart and a notorious potato pusher. She has a degree in Human Services and worked as a roofer, a hoofer, a computer data entry operator and a stay-at-home mom.
Music has ruled Jennifer’s world since birth. She shimmied out of the womb with a bad case of Boogie Fever, but soon fell in love with the lyrics, how the words fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. Jennifer has dreamt of writing romances since reading Wuthering Heights at the tender age of twelve, and now lives that dream, using music on a daily basis to uplift and inspire her writing. It’s no coincidence that Ian, the hero in Mercy of the Moon, uses music to win heroine Maggie’s heart.
She lives in rural Florida with her husband and Great Dane puppy, and enjoys frequent visits from her three grandchildren and three grown children. She feverishly lobbies for the return of breeches and would really love to see her husband of thirty-five years in a pair. Jennifer can be found online at: JenniferTaylorWrites.com