That adorable baby in the photo is our first grandchild, born yesterday afternoon. Welcome to the world, Logan!!
It’s a good thing I got in about five hours of writing yesterday morning, because from the time we left for the hospital, my head has been a total muddle.
What do you do about your writing when life throws you a curveball? The entrance of a grandchild is a glorious, positive thing, but it does distract a bit from my intensity and focus on my novel. Getting bad news; a car accident, illness, death of a loved one, are even more distracting. If you are taken away from your project, it often feels impossible to find your way back into it.
First things first – give the people you love the time and attention they deserve. If you are caring for a sick child, or a terminally ill parent, that’s where your energy and heart goes. If it’s a joyful distraction, like a new baby, same thing, though in my experience, it’s easier to stay connected to creative work during the happy times than the sad.
That being said, try to keep a window into your creative soul open. You might hear lines of poetry in your head. Drawing might soothe you. If you have enough concentration, look at a small piece of your work-in-progress. Just a chapter, or maybe a scene. Polish it; add some detail, trim the dialog, make sure your transitions are solid. The key is to stay connected with your work in a small and consistent manner.
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”
Today’s prompt: Look at the photo of a newborn (say, for example, that incredibly handsome and intelligent fellow above) and write a list of possibilities for his life. Instead of the “what ifs” you’re writing “what could bes.”
Then take a baby photo of someone you know well, someone whose life story you are familiar with. Pick one or two of the possibilities you already listed, and freewrite about how that possibility did or did not develop for the person you know. Don’t feel compelled to stick to the facts at hand; if your imagination takes off and invents a fictional character, run with it.
Scribble… scribble… scribble…
Causes Laurie Anderson Supports
American Library Association