2010 was a difficult year for my family. Each of my daughters spent time in the hospital for various, serious ailments. Thankfully, they all took turns. Still, things became complicated when my in-laws went into an assisted living facility and my mother-in-law did not want to sell her house. Then my father-in-law, who had broken his hip the previous year, fractured his pelvis at the beginning of December. Finally, right before Christmas, my father fell and broke his hip.
There have been times during all this chaos when writing became impossible—and it’s not that I didn’t have ideas but there were days when I didn’t have the heart or the time, and many more days when I didn’t have the energy. (I still have a "real" job.) I often felt as if I was under siege—being bombarded by doctors’ acronyms.
So what did I do while the enemy was scaling the walls of the castle? I tried a few ways to keep my mind on writing--even if I wasn't writing. Here are some of my ideas. If you have any to add, please add a comment. I would love to know what works for other writers, too.
1. Remember this won’t last forever or as my father always says, “This, too, shall pass.” In the meantime, I asked for help when I could. I am not Superwoman.
2. I kept a pen and paper handy. I wrote blog ideas. I took notes about what the doctor said. I scribbled down a few in-depth character studies. (There are lots of characters in a hospital.) These might be useful later on.
3. I read The Sea Wolf, by Jack London. That's a far cry from the usual romances I enjoy. However, when Dad wasn’t ready to read or even listen to me read to him, my paraphrased version of the plot held his attention.
4. I re-read my last draft from the beginning and I edited it. It's only 29 pages, but that doesn't matter.
5. I made plans to go to a writers’ conference when the siege is over.