Friday, August 12, 2011

Vacuuming and the Muse

Vacuuming and the Muse
By Lea Schizas

“Whatsa doin?”
“Mommy’s writing, sweetie.”
“To make money to build an office.”
“For peace and quiet.”
“To finish her book.”
Why, why, why…wow, just got a great idea for another story.

As parents who decided to stay at home and write, we often curse that decision. Then again, as my example demonstrated, out of sheer nerves of steel, calmly answering questions from our little ones, ideas and our Muse actually do smack us across the face. The writing parents who allow themselves to be objective, understanding there will be times when family and outside commitments will interfere with the writing process, are the ones who progress at a faster pace. Why? Because they manage to lasso their anger and frustrations more often than the writing parents who believed they’d be writing all the time.

The Muse is funny. She hides under the dirt while vacuuming, and as you lift the corner of the carpet she decides to wallop you with a grand idea. With baby in one hand, vacuum in the other, you mentally pen and visualize your storyline. Fear grips you. What if you forget? Where’s that pen and notebook? It’s staring at you on the coffee table. Who or what do you drop to write your story? As a parent, you naturally drop the vacuum, reposition the little one, and off you go writing up a storm.

What does the little scenario prove? That serious writers who work at home understand writing is their passion and business, and don’t mind delaying vacuuming for a while. Dirt will enter the house in about an hour anyway when the rest of the clan come home. Right now, while the house is relatively quiet, you reach out and grab a hold of your Muse while she’s visiting.

For those who don’t understand this passion, just finish vacuuming. Kids are going to rush through that door shortly and craving some clean spots to dirty.


Jenna Storm said...

It's all true. You have to keep that notebook handy and be willing to let the house stuff slide. And be flexible. For example I started writing this comment five minutes ago then my 8yr old decided to come in and show me the dance moves she just made up!

MuseItUp Publishing said...

It took me a while to write this post because my two doggies decided they needed 'mommy's' attention, so one licked my toes while the other one ran off with my slipper. LOL

Roseanne Dowell said...

Ha, my kids are all grown and have kids of their own. Now it's hubby who needs attention. Of course the dogs demand my time too. Amazing how I can sit her and do nothing, play games on the computer, read email, or just watch TV. No one bothers me. Not hubby, not dogs, but let the muse hit and the minute I open my word program, someone needs something. Or hubby decides that's when he wants to talk. We can sit in silence for hours, but not when I open that laptop. LOL

Sue Perkins said...

Roseanne I know exactly how you feel. I have a husband like that too. Plus there's the other things. Today I was deep into the wip when I looked up and rainclouds had darkened the sky. Yipes the washing was on the line. One of many interruptions.

gail roughton branan said...

Warning to those who still have small children -- don't ever think when they grow up they leave. They come back. And they bring more! Folks who say, "I could write a novel if I wanted to. I'll do it after I get the kids grown up," -- well, hate to break it to 'em. They'll never write a book. 'Cause they ain't writers!To paraphrase Kipling: "If you can write when those about you are losing heads and blaming it on you -- THEN you're a writer!"

Wendy said...

I agree. This is the best way to incorporate writing into our daily life. Those loving, homely, writer-friendly scenes, from you, Lea, and the other Musers are a great source of writing material. I see a novel in these, or an anthology of short stories from the 50s to the present day. I think the experiences and attitudes would be interestingly different.

Unknown said...

It' so true. Ideas come from the strangest places and sometimes at the most inappropriate moments. I can only hope I live long enough to finish all the WIPS in my computer folder. :)

Lin said...

Nudge doesn't let me vacuum. She thinks that takes away from HER time. Both my children are adults, so I don't get the "why" routine. What I get is Nudge water torturing me awake when she wants supremacy.

NO, not like waterboaring, more like the drip, drip, drip of incessant annoyance until I give in grab for paper and time to turn on light and put glasses on...who needs to see?...and pray when I am REALLY awake I will be able to translate Nudge's channeling.

Vacuumining, laudry, dishes, taking trash to dumpster I have to sneak in when I head for the mail pedastal. (Two bags of trash per trip, two trips a day, that's four bags a day....we have kitties remember...lotsa heavy bags of used litter.)

Trips to the potty...that allows me to hand wash four light items of clothing per that I'm old and my pipes work worse than the ones in the commercials, figure minimum of three trips an hour, so that becomes 12 items of clothing. (Problem isn't so much washing them as having somewhere to hang them while they drip since we aren't allowed to hang them cut that back to maybe four pieces every two hours.)

Dishes and kitchen stuff...has to happen when the rest of me is too tired for the brain and Nudge to feed symbiotically off each other...three A.M. or later/earlier depending on the frame of reference you are attacking the clock from.

Nudge is a pain, but she gets the job done...actually that's not quite true...Nudge gives me the blueprint then I must fill in the geographic markers.

Would I want the challenge of little ones or not so little ones always wanting to know why Mom is "playing" on the computer? When my kids were little I spun entertaining stories for them from the top of my frazzled Mom-head. I probably should have kept a tape recorer close by. Maybe then I'd have some YA tales to sub. And Lea my capcha word is a doozy..."turdi" The bathroom seems to be a running theme.

Tanja said...

Jenna will be the first one to write up a storm. Meanwhile, unlined paper and pencils work best for me because I can write in the dark or upside down and it'll still be legible...a ballpoint might ket me down, and lines get in the way...

Heather Haven said...

I don't have kids, but I have two very spoiled cats, who insist on my attention every waking moment. However, on those rare occasions I vacuum, they follow it around as if it comes from another planet, tails in the way, whiskers twittering, until I'm done. Then we all troupe back to the computer when I try to write, while they drape themselves everywhere. I don't think any of us would have it any other way, in reality!

Anonymous said...

I started my writing career later in life...but I do contend with Grandchildren...and they do get their way around my house...most of the time.

Yea, sometimes it gets real hard to prioritize.

AND, I know I have way too high expectations for myself because I have so much I want to do in my writing career...sometimes it blinds me to anything else...and the inside of my house suffers the consequences. (tee-hee)

Rochelle Weber Author said...

I agree with Kipling. I got my degree in writing while working full time. I had to produce a MINIMUM of sixty pages of work per semester just to PASS my writing courses. I wrote during my lunch hour at work, on the subway, wherever and whenever I happened to be. Quite moments at home? I left the house at 6 a.m. and got home close to midnight four nights a week, and I had homework for other classes as well. Most semesters I produced upwards of ninety pages (including rewrites).

J.Q. Rose said...

What a delightful blog. I can visualize the scene, Lea, and all of you with kids at home. I didn't seriously write till I was an empty nester, so no little ones---But then the grandkids came along. So I do devote ALL my attention to them when they are here. Writing has to work in among the available cracks in the day.