I haven't posted in a while. It is a failing of mine whenever I try to be a blogger. I just don't have that much to say outside of the novels I write. When I started to write this post I knew what I wanted to share and why. It should have been easy to just lay it out. It hasn't been mostly because of the title of the post, Things More Important Than Writing kept drawing me astray. That's one of the great problems of writing at my level. There are so many time sucks and distractions, competing needs and guilts that horn in on your time it is easy to think of them as more important. They aren't. Those things are the angry conservative at a political debate, demanding attention by volume rather than merit. When I started writing this post I wandered into distractions when I really wanted to talk about values.
For the most part I write daily. The timing varies and I don't sweat the days when I accomplish little because my system is one of averages. I set monthly and weekly goals that I track with daily word count. I can lose an entire day and keep up my 2000 word a day average for the week by small increases through the rest of the week or one good day of 4000 words. 2000 words is a low but sustainable goal that maintains my pace. I don't hold myself down to that, it's my minimum. By passing it consistently I have room to keep up the average and deal with the time sucks. So my process has shock absorbers built in to deal with the distractions that are not really more important than writing, just more demanding of attention.
Most of the writers I know will tell you that they would write even without pay or readers. Most of us spend a considerable amount of time doing just that. Writing is a part of our personal definition along with family and friends. Oddly enough, it is something we tend to sacrifice for love of those others. That brings me to what's more important than writing- People, Family- Life.
I haven't been writing for a couple of weeks now and it has been upsetting me. I have things to finish and new stories to begin. I actually have readers who have become fans and I love the feeling of connecting to them and I want to give them my writing. That's the dream. The reality is, two deaths in the family, my son-in-law off at boot camp and my daughter and grandson living with me, their car breaking down, all my daughters fighting with their mother, (that's a whole story on it's own) a sister looking at job loss and money, always money. As much as I want to hunker down and write people need me and I can't let that be just a distraction.
We scraped up the money for a plane ticket and I went to Oregon for just a couple of days to say farewell to the husband of my oldest sister. He was a wonderful person and I would not have missed it for the world. There were people there that I see only every several years and these days only for deaths. I met children, great nieces and nephews, second and third cousins. One nephew was married to a woman with a child last time I was there. This time the child was getting ready for high school, my nephew had since divorced, come out, and remarried to his same sex partner. The things you miss.
I took the opportunity to speak about family at the memorial service. I spent time with two of my three sisters. I met family I didn't know I had. Back home I bought groceries and paid bills to keep my grandson warm and fed and happy. There will be another memorial service. There will be more squabbles and hugs to make up. More life and family. These things are more important than the time I spend writing. It's good to be needed. But important or not, writing is my refuge from need. Fore me there is writing, the distractions, and the things more important, but I can't dwell happily in any of them entirely. I've decided the one thing more important than writing is the balance in life that gives me writing while I give time to family.