***You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection." Buddha***
Recently I was speaking with a person I consider one of the best Arabian Horse artists in the world. She had just returned from the Arabian Horse Nationals, and she commented how much she loved going to events since she could concentrate on her art and the people who appreciate it. She gets a lot of work done while sitting in her booth, or in her motel room at night. Once she’s home, she’s generally too busy being a wife, a homeowner, and someone with far too much responsibility.
I had one of those epiphany moments that do come to me once in a while when I realized I was hearing from her what I’ve said to myself so many times in the past. I just never seem to have enough time to get anything finished since I’m doing so many other things at once. So I dash from emergency to emergency, and somehow the last thing on my schedule is what I should have attacked first, my writing. As though I am seeing everything else as more important than what should be the most important.
I’ve learned some great tricks lately to get the most use from the limited number of hours available to us. One is the digital timer suggestion I learned from Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She sets her timer for two hours, and writes for that period of time. If she leaves the keyboard, she turns off the time. For me it works a bit differently. I set the clock for an hour, and write for that hour. Instead of thinking I must write a full hour, my takes seems to be I have only an hour to write, and getting to the last fifteen minutes the words pour onto the page.
But for that hour, I am writing. Period. Not fixing a cup of coffee, not answering the phone and not not not checking my e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. Not. Well, sort of not. When I do I lie to myself about how I just need to check, to be very sure the world hasn’t come to an end while I was creating great works of fiction. When in fact I’m allowing my mind to wander into the realm of “I’m not really a writer, how dare I think this hour of writing is more important than the outside world.”
And we get back to the crux of the matter, and the topic of my phone conversation. Whenever I let the doubts slide in, whenever I lose respect for what I’m doing, then I’ve let the doubting side of me overcome the creating side of me. We can call it left brain/right brain, or give it any fancy title we want. Fact is, when we lose respect for ourselves and our craft, we give permission to others not to have that same respect. And they will take advantage of our lack. Not necessarily with malice, maybe they think it’s for our own good since obviously we don’t really think we’re writers if we aren’t fighting for time to create.
My friend has taken the timer pledge, and I’m going to indulge myself in a few days to ensure she stays on the path to self respect. She’s too darned good to fall off road. So am I. And so are all of us.
Mona Karel is the writing alter ego of Monica Stoner, who wrote Beatles fan fiction and terribly earnest (read just not very good) Gothics in her teen years. She set aside writing while working with horses and dogs all over the US, until she discovered used book stores and Silhouette Romances. Shortly after that she also discovered jobs that paid her for more than her ability to do a good scissors finish on a terrier, and moved into the “real” working world. Right around then she wrote her first full length book. It only took her twenty seven years to be published. She writes looking out the window at the high plains of New Mexico, with her Saluki dogs sprawled at her feet. Distraction much? ? Sometimes these silly dogs take over her life, but there is always room for one more set of characters in one more bookhttp://mona-karel.com/