(Post originally appeared June 2013 on author Tali Nay’s blog here.)
I rolled out of bed while the house was still quiet to work on this brain child that I keep obsessing over. (Why won’t characters leave you alone once you get them down on paper?) I avoided the squeaky floorboard in the hallway. Maybe I could have a few minutes alone. I swear the 3-year old has built-in radar that alerts her when I’m awake. I started typing when she appeared in front of me.
“It’s morning,” she pointed out the window. “Cereal?” Fair enough.
I spent some time answering emails and other boring stuff. A task that was supposed to take a few minutes grew to three hours. (When I found the immunization record I was trying to track down, half the page was ripped and missing. Was someone hungry? For paper?)
My husband called needing a book and could I please bring it to him since he had a lunch meeting. I’m proud of the fact that we love books. But I considered downsizing today.
“What does it look like?” I asked.
“I’m not sure, but it’s 8 ½ x 11.”
“You know the size but not the color? Is it green? I’m picturing green.”
Pause. “Yeah maybe.”
Lunchtime rolled around later than normal. I’d been avoiding grocery shopping. Food schmood. So I dug through the bare cupboards until I found enough food to fake it. A package of six crackers, two fruit roll ups, and a bag of carrots. If I cut the roll ups in half then they can each have one. Desperation leads to genius in my opinion.
After lunch my youngest curled up to me with a book in her hand. I kept getting a whiff of something funky. Sure sign it’s time for a bath. But first I had to clean the tub.
I got around to getting myself ready for the day which meant I could deliver the book to my husband. Then realizing we had nothing for dinner I stopped at the store. I got home just in time to make dinner, get my oldest boys fed, and send them off to swim lessons. My husband took them tonight so I could get some writing done. He’s a gem that one.
I sat down in front of the laptop. I made the mistake of looking up. Dirty dishes on the counter. I’ll just do them really fast. Then my 5-year old offered to help. I’m not about to squelch an interest in chores.
By the time we were done my 7- and 8-year olds came in needing showers and then it was bedtime. Brush teeth, use the bathroom, get pajamas on, tuck in and smooch kids, turn off lights.
At last I sat down in front of the computer. Footsteps on the stairs. My toddler. I wasn’t going up the stairs again if I could help it. I let her curl up next to me.
I’ve been fighting since waking up this morning to write. There’s finally time tonight. It’s quiet. Everyone’s asleep. My youngest is sprawled on the couch next to me while I type, breathing soft snores.
I recently finished my roughest of all rough drafts. It was agonizing. It was amazing. Not the draft. The draft is garbage. But the process is magic, like delivering a baby without the blood and tears. Even if it’s ugly, the kid is still mine.
I let my oldest read part of it. He’s eight. That’s where my courage was.
“You wrote this? It’s awesome!”
I tried to play it cool, “It still needs lots of work.”
“Yeah but Mom, you’re going to be a famous author! Kids in my class would read this!”
His enthusiasm was sweet and I won’t lie, the praise is nice regardless of the age of the source. But the proudest moment for me was when he grabbed his own notebook, sat on the other end of the couch and got to work on his own story.
He gets it.
Crystal, I am so proud of you. This was so fun to read and so utterly believable. I could have been listening to my daughters describe their day. You are so correct, setting a model for your child is the most important thing you’ll ever do. I hope you are submitting your stories to magazines.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear your voice encouraging me along. It’s always kind of there in the background with other motivating and inspiring teachers I’ve had!
Crystal – I applaud you! As an aspiring write, myself (for like the last 30 years) I could feel your pain, but also your pride. Congratulations on the website – wishing you much continued success!
It’s great to meet another writer! Stay tuned. I’m working on a post on the craft of writing and I’d love to have your input in the comments on your experiences!
This is fun! Keep writing and I’ll keep reading. I am so proud of you. Can’t wait to read your book.