Friday, July 16, 2010

What happens when Life Interrupts our Writing?

Life has this amazing ability and habit of interrupting and disrupting our writing schedules. For no fault of ours we find that we are unable to devote long stretches or even short  stretches of time to our WIP, as there are other important issues to tackle and problems to solve.

This interruption by life has been happening to me for  the past  two years with clockwork precision. Parental health issues are something I don’t grumble about, as health problems can crop up  anytime and for anyone, and also because   I do not want to add to the enormous guilt they lug around at disrupting their childrens’ schedules. It’s the emotional upheavel and anxiety that we ( children) find stressful and worrisome. But, other issues have me grumbling and cursing my bad writing luck.

 Now that I have started my job as a creative writing teacher in my college, my personal writing time has come down considerably. Add to that my twice a week blogging and writing for few Indian newspapers, and reading as many as 80 to  100 posts  a month, and posting comments, I  find myself struggling to stay afloat and balance it all. The stack of books:  a part of my  to be read pile is tottering dangerously; few books that have to be reviewed are sending nasty looks my way ( I have personally hated it when reviewers take their own time to review books). Perhaps this is God’s way of showing me that  I have to be more understanding and sympathetic.

But I have learnt to outsmart life. While life is busy throwing obstacles my way, I am learning to make the most and best use of these obstacles.  In every situation I look for the silver lining (I believe every situation teaches us something). Though I may not be devoting  huge chunks of my day to writing, I am learning from each situation and every person who I interact with.

From the informative posts my blogging friends write, I jot down points that I consider crucial to my growth: both as a writer, and now as a teacher. The people I interact  with on regular basis : earlier the staff in  the hospital, and now my students,  are rich sources of inspiration. I observe their mannerisms and traits for future character charts.

 Even If I am not actively writing I am constantly thinking of my book: plotting, mentally rewriting, visualizing scenes, adding unique character traits and personality quirks.  Maybe to make up for not being able to write for longer periods, my learning process has sharpened and I am able to absorb information quickly. Nowadays whatever little time I get for my own writing I am able to focus more and  with all the information and experiences  crammed inside my head,  my stories are getting  a little closer to reality and the characters  are shedding a little of their flatness.

Our writing deepens from  our growth and  experiences. Every small  incident  in our lives is filled with it’s unique experience that somehow  crawls into our stories.

What are the techniques you use, when life interrupts your writing? Please share, we all can learn lots from each others' experiences.        


  1. I didn't realize you are teaching writing! How nice! I think that would be awesome to do!
    I juggle when I need to and if life interrupts which it ALWAYS does, I go with it and pray I can get back on track soon.

  2. You're so cool! I love that you teach writing. I'm jealous!
    Even when life gets in the way, I often can't stop thinking about my WIP, just like you. Sooner or later, I wrestle some time back into my life so I can write. It's hard to deny a passion like writing.

  3. Life is VERY good at pushing it's way into writing time. I write late at night, when the kids are asleep. I've always been a night owl, might as well put it to good use! ;)
    Thank you so very much for your comment on my post.

  4. Life takes up most of my time :) I often wonder what it would be like if I didn't have to work and could devote more time to writing. Would I use my time wisely?

    As it is I've had to learn how to write 'on the fly' as they say. I try to keep my writing portable and grab every chance I get to work on it.

    That's so cool about your teaching writing!

  5. Terri, teaching is nice and my students are real darlings, eager to learn and try their hands at creativity.

    Lydia, don't be jealous. On mondays you teach us about medicines, so you are a doctor/teacher for that day.

    Alexis,I call myself the nightwatchman, as I am a night owl too. Life is not only pushing its way into my writing time, but dominating it.

    Rahma, nowadays I write when ever I can grab those precious moments from life.

  6. I've had some of these interrupted times lately and it can be frustrating. I try and write in small pockets of time, which works well. I also carry a notebook with me wherever I go, to capture ideas so I don't forget them.
    Happy weekend,
    Karen :)

  7. I write anyway! The tragedy in that is it's usually no good, but it does keep me in the mode to keep going. Besides, that's what edits are for. ;)

  8. It's hard to keep up with everything, isn't it? I've found that I've learned just a ton from blogging, but if I have to cut back on something, then that's the area I sacrifice. It's hard, because I can't keep up with everyone the way I'd always like to.

  9. Wow Rachna! Wow! I thought that I was busy. Sounds like you have a full and fun life?