By Nicole Seitz
If you're a writer, you understand the obsession, the focus, the TIME that the writing life takes out of you. I'm talking....writing around the clock, some of your best ideas in the shower, thinking of characters when you're at the park or the beach, listening to the cadence of the elderly or the slang of youth just so you can use it in some future book as dialogue that "works." Sound familiar? Oh yeah, baby, you're a real writer.
I've written books, characters, plot lines, scenes that breathed themselves to life through me. It's amazing. Humbling. Awe-inspiring to experience it. The more authentic the experience, the better is comes through on the paper and the more people are touched when they read your writing. But if we're talking about writing struggles, I think we've covered the fact that it's hard to write. It's hard NOT to write. Hard all around. But you know what's harder? Figuring out the life-writing balance.
My fifth novel will come out in February. In the last several years I have gleaned that writing is something I have to do, been gifted with, charged with. But what about everything else in my life? I have also learned the difficult juggling act between writing and family. I had an unexpected hospital stay this year, and you know what I thought about while lying there, unable to attend the SC Book Festival? Books? No. Family. My family.
Here's what I've learned (as if I didn't know it before): Family trumps writing every time. Yes. I do feel the Good Lord gives me the words and allows me to touch people through my writing, and I don't discount the importance of that--but I have experienced first-hand the seductive pull of writing. Don't be fooled. It is addicting, yes, because writing allows you to tap into something much larger than yourself--STORY. You think about it every waking moment, don't you? My personal favorite is in bed when I'm about to fall asleep. Some people count sheep. Me? I say my prayers, then get into my character's heads and see where they might take me tomorrow, struggling to remember so I can write it all down at a decent hour.
But alas, for me, I have also been blessed with a family, a husband and children who need me to be fully present--with them. Story people or real people? I'll admit, it always hasn't been an easy balance. But my stories are in my head. My family is made up a real people--put in MY charge.
In this crazy roller coaster ride from book 1 to book 5, I've learned plenty about writing. What I did not expect is how much I would learn about life itself. We live each day as if it's a gift. We treat each person in our life as if they are treasure. After all that, if we have carved out time aside for it, we open ourselves up to Divine inspiration and work ourselves 150 percent so that other wonderful lives might be touched by ours.
The struggle for me has not been the writing per se, although it goes without saying, that hasn't been easy. The struggle for me has been how to live the rest of my life with that same sense of passion and overdrive that my writing life demands of me. Day by day, I take it. Each day, each story, each moment with family--is a gift.
May God bless your own journey.