It's not easy being a writer. When I tell people what I do for a living, their eyes light up with curiosity. They ask how many novels I've published or if MGM is going to buy the screen rights to my script. When I confess that none of this has happened yet, their interest quickly turns to leaky rain gutter solutions or the inflated price of ham hocks.
Fortunately, I have a family who understands the writing life. While they're mostly supportive of my efforts, there are times when my career interrupts the household harmony we've worked so hard to establish. They remember the organized woman with the color-coded calendars and an alphabetized spice rack. I was always the first mom in the school car loop and the first to volunteer for every committee conceivable.
I wrote when I could, filling notebooks with plot outlines, dialogue and character sketches drawn from an overzealous imagination. But over time, the notebooks ended up orphaned and unfinished under my bed, home to dust bunnies and wayward socks.
Once the kids graduated from school, my carpool and P.T.A. meeting days ended. I pulled out the dusty notebooks and woke my dormant muse.
I've been hooked ever since. Writing is my addiction. There's an adrenaline rush after each publication and I wake every day needing a new fix. My family understands this. If I miss an appointment or the mortgage payment, it's because my mind is engaged in a new plot twist.
My husband remembers a house that was once tidy and clean, even when we had several toddlers at home. Nowadays I forget that there are crusty dishes the height of Mount Rushmore in the sink, an overloaded trash can that smells like a skunk convention and dirty clothes multiplying like rabbits in the laundry room.
There are also days when I forget to shower and shave, and my husband mistakes me for a winter sasquatch. I hole up in my office and live on granola bars until someone offers to cook me a wholesome meal that doesn't include oats, nuts and twigs.
Lack of sleep is another issue I deal with as a writer. Between bouts of insomnia and a hyperactive muse, I've become a nocturnal creature, related to the animals who think clearest at night. If I'm struck with writer's block, or worse, rejection, the family suffers right alongside me. I become as moody as a prepubescent teen and have been known to shovel donuts in my mouth to stimulate my lackluster imagination.
Despite a few dry spells, I never lose faith that inspiration will return and crank up the sluggish gears in my brain to feed the creative spirit.
Once I write the final sentence and hit the “post” button, the adrenaline rush starts again. A fresh page and a world of possibilities await my imagination.
This is the life of a writer, and I wouldn't trade it for all the donuts and clean laundry in the world.
***Want more Meno Mama? This week you can find me discussing what really bugs me (and several other bloggers!) on Sisterwives Speak: http://sisterwivesspeak.com/2014/10/28/whats-bugging-you-she-said/