I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Life gets in the way” before. I used to consider it a cop-out. A popular maxim among those looking for an excuse to explain away an unfinished project, missed opportunity, or forgotten task. The idea that everyday life could be blamed for a person’s procrastination or negligence didn’t sit well with me.
As a father of three however, I’ve changed my tune on the legitimacy of the expression. Six weeks ago today, my son Matthew was born. And just over six weeks ago today, was the last time I devoted any of what is left of my mental capabilities to my manuscript. Why? Well, I suppose life has gotten in the way just a bit.
This morning, while tidying up a few things here at The Wordslinger, I came upon the page I had created especially for updates on my novel. There was that cute little cartoon potato, slaving over his desk and cranking out page after page of narrative gold. Funny thing is, that little spud has been lying to you guys for quite some time. If you’ve been checking in on my progress, you probably already knew that; seeing as how the word count hasn’t changed for what seems like an eternity.
Was it possible that I had simply been searching for the next perfect word for over a month? Considering my penchant for over-analyzing this first draft, I suppose that scenario was plausible, though unlikely. No, the truth is, I have been neglecting my novel now for some time. What can I say, life gets in the way.
I’ve visited many blogs by aspiring authors such as myself, and the overwhelming mantra seems to be, “write every day, no matter what.” While I respect that diligent mindset, I also believe that life provides us moments that aren’t worth missing just for the chance to add a couple hundred more words to the tally. Sure, if I devoted an hour or so each day to my novel there is a good chance I’d complete it quicker than my current pace. But what would I miss in that hour?
Playing Candyland with Iz and the Jakester?
Rocking Matthew to sleep while he coos in my arms?
Hearing Izzy recap her first days of preschool?
These things are just too important to let slip by in order to introduce a new secondary character or add eight more lines of dialogue. Writing has become my passion, but my children are my life.
That being said, I refuse to go all Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing and put my manuscript in the corner. It has life to it, a story that deserves to be told before it’s swept away into the autumn breeze. This book will get written because I believe in it and because people like you, my loyal readers, believe in me.
So in the very near future I plan to increase that word count and continue on the path I started many months ago. Our cold but intriguing protagonist Ben, has much to tell and in my mind his story has only just begun. The paper beckons to be fed, and feed it I shall. I hope you will continue to hang in there with me because I truly believe it will be worth the wait. Thank you again for your continued support of me and my family. Now it’s time to get back to what The Wordslinger does best – sling some words!