Writers are tough. They write when their hearts are breaking, they’re sick, they’re family members are in trouble. Writing is first for them at many levels.
I recently had a friend tell me she had three family members ill. And she didn’t know what she would do about her writing. I told her to put it aside. And I could tell that guilt was guiding her. She felt as if putting it down for even a few minutes was somehow not honoring the craft. It took some serious conversation to convince her it was all right to tackle the family issues first. Priorities—a tough juggle for writers.
Writing is the one craft that has your heart. You don’t clock in at nine and out at five. Your mind is forever dashing off the lines of a scene, the dialogue of a character. It isn’t something that turns off automatically when it’s time to make supper, do the dishes, wash a load of laundry.
You watch the news and a unique story starts to weave through your mind. All else must come to a screeching halt.
Writers get sick and immediately an idea perks. What if someone felt this way and had been poisoned. The writer snuggles under a couple quilts and wonders what being poisoned really would feel like. Or maybe a rare disease had finally made its way to the writer’s town and, alas, the writer had become the next victim. Enter a new scene and the CDC. Hazmat outfits rush through the front door.
Writers have to make choices for more folks than themselves. A sick child, parent, friend just as two lovers finally cross the abyss and discover each other. What to do?
I know of no other heartier folks in my acquaintance who are able to juggle so many daily chores, emergencies, and still manage to write the next page. Yessir, they are a tough, dedicated bunch.