Writer’s write, but is that all they should do? It’s a question I haven’t asked myself in quite a while. I’ve been so caught up in getting my podcast going, my Fantasy novel edited and new story ideas generated that I forgot to slow down.
I haven’t exactly been neglecting my friends and family, but I do think I’ve been running on autopilot to some extent. I’m not sure what clued me in but I have realized that in order to write about people and the lives they lead, I need to appreciate the life I have too.
That’s not to say that I shouldn’t think about writing or actually sit down and do the writing. It simply means that I need to be more aware of what’s going on around me.
Take yesterday for example. My son was racing his Cub Car at our weekly Cub Scouts meeting. For those of you who haven’t ever experienced this, picture forty boys aged 8 – 10 racing their homemade cars down a track soap-box style. The boys have, for the most part, built and painted the cars themselves. The cars are small with a maximum weight of 142 grams (5 ounces) and are propelled purely by gravity. The excitement in the school gymnasium where we meet was palpable.
My son didn’t win the races and it was watching him that I realized just how much he has grown up. If I hadn’t been paying attention I know I would have missed it. Was he disappointed? No doubt. Did he handle himself with maturity and grace? Absolutely. I couldn’t have been more proud. And because I took the time to pay attention, I know my son better today than I did yesterday. I also have a clearer understanding of how he is growing up.
I don’t want to cheapen the moment by saying it will make good fodder for a story. Will I use the experience in my writing? Almost definitely, but I’ll try to do it to pay homage to the man he is becoming, not as some cheap trick to pull out of my bag.
And that’s not all. If I’ve been missing that with my son, what about my daughter? She’s a teenager now and I know has good days and bad. I tried talking to her as an adult, not as a father dictating to his child. Surprise of surprises, it worked. Maybe in my automatic state I’ve forgotten to grow up with my kids.
It’s a mistake I won’t make again.
My family has always been there to support me in everything I do and I’ve tried to reciprocate in kind. I just never completely realized how truly terrific they all are. Time to stop just writing about life and start appreciating it more.
As I said earlier, I don’t know what made me finally see this. There was no great revelation or clap of thunder. Just the realization that I was somehow missing something. If I can do it justice, I might just create some characters you’ll remember.
For those of you who haven’t listened to the podcast, I can only ask “Why not?”. Also, I can tell you I’ve got a full manuscript out in front of a publisher. Cautious optimism is the order of the day.
I’m also considering doing script frenzy (starting today, no less). If you want to join me, please drop me a line and we can do it together.
Have a great week!