by Guest Blogger Rachel Brady
My children are still young and need me for many things—urgently, it seems, if they’ve seen me sit down with the laptop. A heaping serving of Mom Guilt is spooned out every time I say, “After I read this message” or “When I finish this scene.”
Messages related to revisions and promotions are “work e-mails” in my mind, even though I read them from my home computer. I take them as seriously as I do the e-mails I receive at my day job, but my kids don’t see me at the office so they don’t understand the nuances between Fun Mommy and Focused Mommy. Fun Mommy plays Trouble, fills water balloons, and colors with magic markers. Focused Mommy is usually in a bad mood because she can’t finish this paragraph while you’re carrying on about the Hannah Montana eraser your sister just stole out of your backpack.
Don’t get me wrong. Real life, especially with little kids, is great fun and these days with them will be the crowning jewel of my short time on the planet. But as a writer I confess I’m often torn. Don’t tell my son, but Dora the Explorer frankly doesn’t interest me, so when I’m snuggled up on the couch with him, I’m secretly working out plot points.
And the mental multi-tasking doesn’t stop there.
I think about writing while driving, when I’m working out, during boring meetings, and even when people are talking to me. That last bit sounds rude, I know, but let me explain. The truth is, the funnier and more interesting I find you, the more likely I am to be thinking about writing while talking to you. I’m stealing your material. But don’t worry. You won’t recognize it when I’m finished.
My point is near.
Sometimes I imagine a utopian scenario in which I get to spend full days with my laptop in a quiet house with no distractions. That’d be great for a while, but eventually what would I write about?
Much as I long for more solitude to write, I sometimes think that life getting in my way is paradoxical serendipity. Real life and its quirky people and bizarre dramas are part of what make a convincing story. So I think as writers, when life gets in our way, once in a while we should step back and take comfort in knowing that somehow, it’s all sinking in. The next time we get a quiet moment at the keyboard, real life is what will brighten the page.
Rachel Brady’s debut suspense novel, Final Approach, was released in August. She works as a biomedical engineer at NASA and lives outside of Houston, Texas, with her husband and their three children. Visit her on-line at www.RachelBrady.net or read about her experiences as a new author at her blog, Write It Anyway. Fellow internet junkies can follow her on Twitter or add her as a friend on Goodreads.
If you’re in Houston, please join Rachel at Murder by the Book next Saturday, October 10th at 4:30 for the launch of Final Approach.