Here I am again, talking to you somewhere between writing life and real life. And that’s what I want to talk about today. How do you live in both worlds peaceably?
Writing life: I just came back from the Society of Adventist Communicators in Columbia, Maryland. Before I left, I told a woman at church I was nervous about flying because I didn’t travel much these days. She was surprised, because as a writer, she saw me as a “celebrity” and thought I was traveling all the time. My writing life goes from highs to lows and back again. High: winning an award at SAC for a feature article I wrote in a local magazine. Low: seeing sales on Amazon dip to a new low. High: being nominated for a regional Emmy for a film project we did here at my school. Low: having to give up a writing project after a hundred pages in because of lack of interest, both by readers and by me. High: getting excited about a new book project I’ll be starting with NaNoWriMo come next week (November!!!).
I’m up and I’m down. Such is the life of a writer.
And then there’s real life. Reality check.
My wife listens to me when I talk about writing. Well, sometimes. Often I could tell she’d rather be washing dishes than hear me talking about plot complications or issues with character development. She graciously lets me read my book manuscripts aloud to her, which helps me find typos, and she gives me honest feedback. But I know that if I am a hero in her eyes, it’s not because of what I write. It’s because of who I am.
Same goes for my kids. I’ve written 22 books. My daughter has read one of them, I think my son has read two of them. I don’t think it’s because I’ve done something to offend them. And they’re proud of me when I get an award or sell a book to a publisher. But that’s not why they love me.
It’s a reality check that I need. Life is not writing, as much as I love the craft. If I win that Emmy, or go on to win a Pulitzer, I will still have to mow my lawn, talk to my classes and take my dogs for their daily walk. That’s life.
And I don’t think I would have it any other way.