The price of life is higher than magic

So, I was reading through this post by Sarah A. Hoyt “Lay Down Your Bets.”  In it, she discusses the price we pay as writers in order to develop our craft, as well as several other things.

The idea of a “price of magic”, of course, is something integral to most fantasy worlds (and something that Orson Scott Card covered in his 1990 book on writing science fiction and fantasy, so it’s something I’ve been thinking about for 20 years now.) Nothing’s free. There’s always a cost in energy, time, skill, or pain.

There’s definitely a “price of writing” too, though.

I was thinking about that today, actually, since I haven’t had a moment to sit down at the computer since I woke up this morning at 6:30. I was either driving somewhere, caring for the two little boys, driving somewhere else, feeding the boys, working on homeschooling stuff while the 3 year old shrieked and demanded attention, driving yet somewhere else, shopping for necessities, wandering through the mall as the boys tried to escape, driving, shopping for food, driving . . . you get the picture.

All of my writing time has to be crammed in with the requirements of being a mommy, too. Sometimes, I can get away with locking the door, letting my daughter care for the boys, and just pounding out a few thousand words or editing a couple chapters.

Those are good productive days.

This week is not going to have many of those days. There are too many days where my daughter has college classes, where there are appointments to go to, or where I’m just going to be stuck driving more than I’d like.

Still, I have to get some work done, so I’ll be cutting out my evening tv and computer time, just to carve a couple hours out where I can work. It’s not the best writing time, since everyone is home and 8 people in a house make a lot of noise, especially with the televisions going and the boys jumping around like frogs on speed. But it’s what I’ve got this week. I’ll put on my “mood music” and try to ignore the chaos long enough to edit a chapter or two. If I’m lucky, I’ll be uninterrupted.

Who are we kidding? I’m never that lucky. 😉

There’s something that we lose, though, in order to get that writing done. I could be working in the weedy garden, playing with my new chicks, or spending time with one or two or more of my kids. There’s untold numbers of things that need to be cleaned and repaired. Laundry, as always, is like K-2. But mostly, I miss time with the boys while they’re still little. I get absorbed in my work and I don’t really hear their little questions and complaints. I refer them on to their siblings, their father, anyone in the house . . . just let me be, I’m WORKING.

And I regret that. I do. I know that there’s only so many hours in a day, and only so much time. It’s a hard choice to choose between your kids and your work. It’s a choice that has to be made sometimes. If there’s a real emergency, the book is SOL. The kids have my undivided attention. But day to day . . . ? Sometimes, I just have to choose my work and have someone else do the caretaking.

You don’t get a second chance, though. I’m glad I finished my first novel. I didn’t want to say, at the end of my life, that I’d never finished a book. But I DID lose things, in its production. I missed football games and storytime and bubble baths and afternoons at the park. Even though those all get forgotten, I still passed up the opportunity to have fun, just so I could type another chunk of made-up story. Silly, really, spending that much time with figments of your own imagination.

But here I am, opening Word and Spotify and getting a pot of tea ready, ignoring the kid who is asking me to get a knot out of a piece of string for him. I suck at that anyway, so he’s not really missing out on my mad string untying skillz. Maybe Dad can do it, I suggest . . . .

I have a book to edit.

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About endurancemom

Writer of fantasy and historical fantasy fiction, mother of 6, former nurse, Catholic convert, wife of 24 years, and general all-around geek. Warning: Do not attempt this at home. View all posts by endurancemom

4 responses to “The price of life is higher than magic

  • Monolith Books

    I have to say you have done a great job here of summing things up. I have been spending a lot of time lately struggling with other commitments versus getting the writing done.

    • martibooker

      The other things just never end, do they? I spent all morning sitting in a doctor’s office with a bouncy 5 year old. NO writing can be done in that situation! 🙂 Hope you find your “balance” soon. I sure haven’t found mine yet!

  • Keri Peardon

    I know your pain. I decided back in March that I had too much on my plate and I needed to pare down (http://keripeardon.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/what-to-do-when-youre-too-creative/).

    Even my pared-down list was too ambitious. The gardening and home improvement projects went out the window. The exercise has been hit-or-miss (I’m still trying, though), and I slacked off on my conversion when the rabbi gave me a hard project and I had to finish my edits (but that’s back on after the High Holy Days).

    In other words, writing has pretty much taken up all of my free time. And I’m going to have to forgo my re-enacting for another year or two until I can get to the point where I write full-time and get my free time back.

    • martibooker

      It’s a struggle to let all those other ideas sit untouched, isn’t it? It’s good that you narrowed things down to the most important things, though. I really need to be more strict with myself and not let myself just sit around idly during my free time when I could be exercising or writing or something productive. Thanks for giving me that little nudge! (I’ll make sure and take a walk tonight!)

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