Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, September 27, 2007

To Write or Not to Write

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I had a writing dilemma yesterday.

I am attempting to finish another novel, but I was having trouble wrapping the story up and working with an aspect of my hero’s POV. It just hadn’t been flowing no matter how much I tried and I was getting frustrated. Then, yesterday, I had an epiphany and the story just started to flow. The answer to my POV question had come and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner.

Unfortunately, almost as soon as the ideas entered my head, the doorbell rang. I briefly thought of not answering it because my fingers were itching to type what I’d just thought of, but I didn’t dare not answer it in case it was an emergency of some sort. (Yes, we’ve had those in the past.) It happened to be a friend that had just flown in from New York that I hadn’t seen for a year. I was happy to see her and we had a wonderful visit, but I have to admit, part of me was still with my story. When our visit was over, it was time to go pick up kids from school, and run to the store for a YM/YW activity we had that night. The scenes were running through my head at a rapid pace as I shopped and I couldn’t wait to sit down at the computer to type them out. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I had it all planned so that we would get home with just enough time for me to start dinner and get it in the oven and I would have a half an hour on the computer before we all had to leave for Mutual.

I walked in the door with a smile on my face, my secret joy shining through at having planned so well. I set the grocery bags down and my teenaged daughter covered the mouthpiece of the phone she was talking into and said, "Mom, I think I forgot to tell you it’s Parent/Teacher Conferences today."

I didn’t groan. I didn’t moan. I did roll my eyes so far back into my head I got to see a part of my own brain explode, however. Parent/Teacher Conferences at our high school are something to be endured. It is crowded and noisy and there’s generally an organized chaos. Not to mention that I usually go early to avoid that, but with the surprise announcement, I was going to be in the thick of everything.

Why did I even go you ask? What could the teachers possibly have to say since the kids have only been in school for a little over a month? Good question. I go because I want to meet the people that are teaching my children. I want them to know I care about my child’s education. And I go because I used to be a teacher and know how incredibly important it is to show your child that you care about their education and are willing to put yourself through Parent/Teacher Conferences.

This year, I have two children in high school so that meant I was going to be seeing sixteen teachers. Dinner wasn’t on the table and we had to leave in an hour and a half for a YM/YW activity. My perfectly planned scenario disappeared before my eyes. No typing time. My story was still floating in my head. My epiphany, my Writer’s Muse, had finally come and I couldn’t do anything about it.

I know what you’re thinking. If you insist on going to Parent/Teacher conferences, just take a piece of paper and write while you’re in line waiting, it’s the perfect solution right? Yeah, I tried that once. It’s really hard to do when you’re standing in line in a crowded room with people asking every two seconds if you are in line and then when you nod your head, they say, "What are you writing?" And people are so friendly, if you tell them what you are writing, then they want to know about the whole story, how long you’ve been published, what your name is, the whole nine yards. So, while I love talking to people and have a lot of fun chatting, the thing I wanted to write never gets written. (On the plus side, though, I love talking to other parents because you can find out all about the teachers and experiences others have had with them. It can be very enlightening).

I only made it to fourteen teachers before I had to leave and go to the YM/YW activity that I had been asked to help with. I got home late and helped my husband put the last of the kids to bed before I dropped into bed myself.

I hadn’t written a darn thing.

I still haven’t written what came to me yesterday. I wanted to. Should I have? I was excited about it. But the opportunity just wasn’t there. Or rather, I had other obligations that came before my writing.

Case in point: I’m writing this blog instead of working on my novel. What does that say?


At 9/27/2007 2:05 PM, Blogger Christine Kersey said...

It's difficult when life gets in the way - of course daily life is what gives us fodder for our stories. We always hear that we need to make time to write, but some days there are so many obligations that it just isn't going to happen.

Hopefully that excitement to write that next scene will stay with you.

At 9/27/2007 6:57 PM, Blogger Michele Holmes said...

LOVED this blog---and I so needed it today. We're in the same boat, Julie.
Though I'm sorry for your frustration, it was nice to know I'm not alone in my largely unfulfilled desire to escape for a few moments of writing. I kept thinking September would bring more time, since the kids were back in school. Unfortunately it seems the opposite has been true.

Hope it gets better for both of us soon.

At 9/27/2007 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michele, I am SO glad that someone else feels this way! I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one. I thought the exact same thing about September, too. LOL

Christine, the excitement did stay, it was just a matter of trying to remember everything that had gone through my head. Does that ever happen to you? :)

Thanks for your comments ladies!


At 9/27/2007 9:57 PM, Blogger Josi said...

September has been absolutely nuts here too. Like you guys I thought school starting, and my baby being in kindergarten, would open up these seemingly obvious portals of time. But I'm as busy as ever.

you're a good mom, Julie. I know I'd have ditched on the PTC. It's especially hard to give up putting those ideas down when, like you said, you've spent a long period of time trying to find that muse in the first place.

Better luck tomorrow--

At 9/28/2007 12:49 AM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

Hope you get the muse back soon. I get so frustrated when life gets in the way of the writing. Happens more often than not, though. I keep deluding myself into believing that October might get better.

At 9/29/2007 8:12 AM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

I can relate. At least when people ask you, what you're writing you, can refer to your published works. I have to endure the glassy stare of the unasked question. "You actually think you're going to be published?"

I do hate being somewhere with no paper and suddenly the solution presents itself. People think I'm not listening to them as I work through the cause and effect of my solution. When I answer their question with a question relating to my solution and having nothing to do with what I was asked, They are convinced I have lost my mind.

As always, Great blog Julie.


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