Writers and Their Many Lives
By Natalie Bright
As I waited for our Dairy Queen order, I checked my iPhone calendar. Today, Monday, deliver lunch to my husband who was tending to cattle. I’ll hop a ride with him while he makes his afternoon rounds keeping watch for spring photo opportunities.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, it’s back to the day job office. I’d wear my best speaker suit and heels for a lunch at an exclusive dinner club in downtown Amarillo to talk about children’s literature with a group of retired educators. I am looking forward to what I feel sure will be a lively discussion.
What a contrast. Today I watched a newborn calf on wobbly legs take his first taste of warm milk. Tomorrow I’d be peering down at the streets of the city from the 30th floor of a high rise office building.
A Writer’s Path
A friend and author of 37 books, Jodi Thomas, warned me that if I took the writer’s path I’d be living several lives. I realize now that she didn’t just mean the stories inside my head.
The writing part of your life is nothing like the living part of your life, although there are some who seem to manage the chaos. For most of us families and day jobs are detached from prose and publishing. Add to that marketing, promotion, social media, conferences, networking, and whatever else it takes to achieve our dreams of becoming a successful author. Families have no idea what we do.
There too is the world inside our heads. On some days I feel like the stories choose me and I am powerless to control the process. To successfully convey that world on to a blank page, writers must immerse them selves in the fictional existence of our imagination. If it’s believable and real to us, we hope it will be the same for our readers.
My life seems so jammed packed, and when I can’t imagine taking on one more task, I’ll say yes to chairing a committee or volunteering for the book fair at my son’s school. When I’m busiest shuttling kids and juggling appointments, a new character will shoot in my brain like a firework and I’m scrambling to find a blank page and a pen.
Live in the Moment
As I jotted notes for this blog on a crumpled piece of paper, I paused to watch a jumble of calves run away at the sound of the feed truck. They bumped and tottered across the pasture, stopping to catch their breath only to realize their mommas were nowhere close. They turned and made a beeline back towards the herd. We laughed at their shaky legs and cute faces. Today was full of greasy burgers and cloudy skies and endless pastures. New life running full tilt.
Tomorrow will be completely different.
“They’re thinking it’s a great day to be in the world,” my husband said.
Yes. It certainly is. It’s a great day to be in the world, no matter how many worlds or lives or careers you might have. We make it through whatever this day might bring, and then we can be somebody totally different tomorrow. And the cool part is we can write about it all.
Being a writer is never dull.