Guest Post – Karen Frisch – Prioritize This

Once again we welcome to Let’s Talk Romance, the wonderful Karen Frisch, whose historical romance What’s in a Name will be released by Avalon in December 2011. She is the author of Lady Delphinia’s Deception, published by ImaJinn, and Murder Most Civil, published by Mainly Murder Press. Both are available through the publisher or on Amazon.

Prioritize This
Writers are unique.We believe. We happily sacrifice every spare moment just to lose ourselves in the imaginary worlds we’ve created,hoping someday our stories might become a source of income. We’re willing to wait as long as it takes to achieve our goal.
But the idea of a writer working peacefully in a garret is pure fiction. Whether we sell our stories or not, we have to fit writing time into lives that include children, jobs, and other responsibilities. We don’t complain when all our free time gets spent on writing. It’s what we love. It’s who we are.
Remember the movie Analyze This? I don’t need to analyze my life to know I’m being pulled in too many directions. The calendar reminds me there is soccer practice, doctors’ appointments, church-related promises, and after-school activities. The paying part-time jobs have value, so they’re a priority. They are not the real work of the heart, but they help pay the bills.
Things are good, but they are not always smooth. The problem arises when worlds collide. I could pick any week from this year. The collision of the imaginary with the real turns life into a whirlwind.
My daughter’s appointment with the orthopedist for her broken wrist is somehow scheduled three hours before game night at church, for which we also have to bake something.
The promotional packet of excerpts from my novels that I’ve put together for the upcoming conference I’m attending isn’t copying well. In fact, the big lines between sections of text are so bad I have to start over from square one.
And I have a blog due. Today. I could have written it yesterday, I suppose, before or after work.
Get the picture? It’s all too familiar, I know.It’s the things that aren’t on the calendar that make it a challenge.The dishes are piled so high on the counter I’m expecting a landslide any moment now. Clean clothes? Haven’t seen any for awhile.
I’m not technologically savvy. Certain computer functions take me longer to figure out than it would anyone else. (I write historicals, remember. I’m just visiting this time band.)
And then page proofs arrive. To the challenge of children’s activities,part-time jobs, and the conference, add a deadline. The arrival of a manuscript that needs final editing demands attention. Immediately.It’s my attention that is most in demand, and everyone is demanding it.
What happens when there are no clean clothes or dishes and no clean surfaces to work on? Life starts to grind to a halt.
I don’t want my children to look back and remember a mother who was always in motion but never in focus. It’s time to regain perspective.
We take a breath and stop to prioritize. We take time to laugh and to celebrate the milestones in our families’ lives. We rejoice with a friend who just had her first short story published. Sometimes happy moments need to be celebrated quickly so we can fit all the things that matter into our crowded lives.
As I get closer to deadline, miracles happen. Doctors’ appointments are kept. I even have a flash of insight into a character as I sit in the waiting room. Even if our families don’t know it, our minds are always on our characters.
My book of excerpts will get done. (Now if only people will read it.)My daughter comes to the rescue and bakes something for church. Each deadline I meet increases my faith that everything will turn out splendidly.
Still, the body can’t keep going without feeding the soul. That’s what writing is for.
We get past the doubts and struggles by taking a deep breath. We take a minute to focus, then we keep going. To paraphrase Nathan Bransford, the solution to all writing problems is to write.Life is the same. No excuses. No guilt. Stay positive, and just write.
For those of you caught in this whirlwind, for those plugging away at their writing careers or just starting out, you’ve taken on the world, but you’ll make it. Just write. Keep writing. And keep believing.

Thank you so much for being here, Karen. We’re glad to have you with us.

Ava Delany, author of The Beginnings series, A Librarian’s Desire, A Soldier’s Woman, and A Surprising Day (11-04-11) The Fetish Club series, Captivated, Dominated, and Fallen. And The Homecoming series, The Librarian’s Love, The Soldier’s Return, and The Wedding Night.


3 responses to “Guest Post – Karen Frisch – Prioritize This

  1. Karen,
    I could substitute elderly parents for children and be in the same boat with you. What we do to follow our dreams…

  2. Karen, I was under the same mistaken impression that writers sit in a garret room and write stories all day, and that the words flow freely and that books churn out (and made oodles of money) on a regular basis. This is a great post that pulls back the curtain on The Great and Powerful Oz (or in this case, The Great and Powerful Writer). Thanks for sharing. I don’t feel so bad only getting 150 words on paper yesterday! 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for coming over. I need to get back to the love of writing instead of the “I-don’t-have-time-for-everything”.

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