Thursday, August 16, 2018

Writing When the Sprinkler Goes Off by Beth K. Vogt | Guest Post

“People think authors sit outside on the lawn all day, relaxing. Writing. What they don’t realize is there are sprinklers going off.”

My 17-year-old daughter offered these words of comfort to me as I stood in my kitchen one day in late May … crying.

I’d missed my second deadline in a week – the deadline for this blog post. What you need to understand is I don’t miss deadlines … and somehow I’d missed two. Two!

Emilie here: Don't feel bad Beth, I clearly missed this deadline since it's now August. *hides face*

But when your computer turns against you, like mine has in the past week, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my writing life derailed.

My husband, who has a professional life of his own, had been in conversation with tech support multiple times a day trying to figure out why spam is multiplying in my inbox and why all my legit emails are being treated as junk or trash.

Right now? I’m basically locked out of my computer. Yeah, that works for an author, doesn’t it?

The sprinklers are on full-force right now and I feel like a sopping wet failure.

Which brings me to a question I’m often asked: What’s your writing schedule look like? I’ve learned to choke back any hysterical laughter and a “what schedule?” response, and offer my usual reply: I write in between the interruptions. 
(tweet this)

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve tried to have a schedule. I block out time each day in my Google calendar for writing. I’ve tried getting up early. Staying up late. Mornings. Middays. Afternoons. Evenings.

And no matter how I schedule my writing time, life happens. Or should I say, “Sprinklers go off.”

What kinds of interruptions douse my writing routine?

  • Disrupted sleep – I’ve dealt with ongoing chronic pain because of not one, but two frozen shoulders, among other things. Two different falls that disrupted two different deadlines. As a writer, you do what you’ve got to do and keep on writing.
  • A family or friend in need – There’s a delicate balance between real life and writing life. I write about fictional complicated relationships. Guess what? The people I know and love deal with tough things, too, and I choose to be available for them. To listen. To pray. To just give them a hug.
  • Regular life events – Just because I’m on deadline doesn’t mean I can push pause on my daughter’s school activities, sports events, “can we talk?” requests, date nights with your husband, or family get-togethers. Sometimes I have to say no to writing and say yes to them.
  • No words – I have the time. I have a quiet house. An empty schedule. No one interrupts. And then … the characters go silent on me.

A few days have passed since my stand-in-the-kitchen-and-cry moment. Is my computer fixed? No. I’m still managing my life around a wacky inbox—and my husband is still being a modern day knight in shining armor by trying to slay this spammy dragon.

Hey, I’m a writer. I work with word pictures, right?

This is my real writing life, where sometimes the sprinklers go off and sometimes the sun shines – and sometimes it all happens at the same time – and I get to do what I love in between the interruptions.

And I always, always try to find reasons to be thankful that I’m living my dream of being a writer.

What are your "sprinklers"? How do you push past to write? Share in the comments below!

Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A Christy Award winner, as well as an ACFW Carol Award winner, Beth’s first women’s fiction novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018.

Connect with Beth: website 

Things I Never Told You 
by Beth K. Vogt

It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.

But with her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

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