by Crystal Laine Miller
What do you do with your time?
“I work, eat, sleep, clean, drive, talk, cook, shop, groom, feed the dog/cat/horse/kids/spouse, eat (oh, wait, I said that,)” ….what else? I read. I write. Sounds simple, hey? Yeah, simple as opening a vein. We know that cliché.
I’ve heard my fellow writers complain how real world people don’t understand that when they are writing, and they don’t have time to do other things in this quest. This usually gives a real world person an invitation to impose or request on your time. If you are a writer, have you heard any of these comments/questions?
“Oh, you’re not doing anything. Could you pick up my child at school and keep him a few hours?”
“You keep writing all these articles. When are you going to publish a book and be a real writer and quit wasting your time?”
“Since you’re not doing anything, you can head up the chili supper.”
And the beat goes on. Writers get no respect for their time.
Writers have to commit to a rigorous schedule and even when a writer is “doing nothing,” he is writing–picking up a bit of dialogue, working out a plot point, building a hero. Time is all good to a writer and even the bad day isn’t wasted on him.
I’m reminded of how Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn wrote his story, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (published in 1962.) Solzhenitsn lived the life of his character, Ivan, in the Gulag, a Soviet labor camp system. I read it in high school. It affected me the same way that Anne Frank’s diary had. But it was Aleksandr’s own life that really touched me. He was sent to hard labor in the Gulag because of something he wrote. He paid for that writing, but he never stopped “writing” even though he didn’t have ideal conditions to write and it stayed only in his head at that point. When he was finally released, he had to write in the dark of the night, and bury his writing each and every day to keep his writing from being destroyed.
He said, “During all the years until 1961, not only was I convinced I should never see a single line of mine in print in my lifetime, but, also, I scarcely dared allow any of my close acquaintances to read anything I had written because I feared this would become known.” (From his speech when he accepted the Nobel Prize.)
It is scary to write–whether you are writing a 600-word article, 150-word book review, a 400-page novel, a query to the editor. Writing requires you to reveal something about yourself. You are at risk somehow. In light of Aleksandr’s road to being published, maybe we can gather courage in this process. Maybe the hardest thing to do of all is to show that writing to a reader. If you write it down, it begs to be read.
If you are a writer, you are brave. Don’t hesitate. Go write.
Crystal Laine Miller has written and published over 1000 book reviews in magazines and columns, as well as written book/manuscript reports and evaluations for agents and publishers. She writes in the dark of night. She’s married to an ER doc with four grown sons and two dogs. Visit Crystal at http://www.christianbookscout.blogspot.com