What Non-Writer’s Don’t Get

Me~ By Abigail Owen

I’m tired. Can I just take a second to say that?

We decided recently to relocate our family from California to Texas to be closer to our extended families. We’re taking on this challenge this summer (including selling a house, buying a house, selling old stuff, packing, moving, and on and on and on). This is on top of raising kids and working. In the meantime, I have a 4-book series that I’m getting ready to release simultaneously and I’m starting the first draft on the fourth book of another series. Add in holidays and other responsibilities and I’ve hit full on crazy.

All of this means that I’m burning the candle at both ends to try to get everything done on a daily basis. Friends and family will hear this and say, “Why don’t you put the books on hold for a little bit?” Because they see books as a hobby or a frivolity in my life. That’s because it’s something they wouldn’t prioritize like I do.

What non-writers don’t get is that the writing/books stuff is not just a job or a task—it’s my escape, my downtime, the way I recharge. At the end of the day, after I’ve fulfilled as many responsibilities as I can, I prop myself up in bed and I get to escape completely into the worlds in my head. Other people run, or work out, or go out with friends, or host parties, or travel, or get into photography. For me, it’s writing.

Similar to how I feel about my gorgeous/adorable/brilliant kids, writing is hard, and frustrating, and incredible, and inspiring, and wretched, and tremendous, and worth every second.

Don’t get me wrong. Many a night I stare at a blank page and think, “I’ve got nothing.” And there are tons of nights where I slog through it, putting words to page that will just get rewritten later. But then there are those moments… You know the ones fellow writers.

…That moment when you finish a scene and you sigh with satisfaction because you KNOW you got that part of the book just right.

…That moment when an idea sparks—one that gets you out of the hole you’ve been trying for weeks to write yourself out of.

…That moment when the words just flow and you discover that you just wrote some crazy number of pages without realizing it.

…That moment when you connect with a character and feel you know them as well as you know yourself.

…That moment when you write “the end”.

…That moment when you write the first sentence of your next book.

…That moment when…

What’s your moment?

Award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

20 thoughts on “What Non-Writer’s Don’t Get”

  1. Can I share your statement: Can I just say I’m tired?

    Because I’m tired, too. It’s hard to get writing in when working full time and taking care of a family. I also garden to grow much of our own food, and am helping my daughter plan her wedding while trying to keep my 13 year old from driving me nuts from “summer-itis.”

    But we do it because we love it, and it is NOT the first thing we cut back on when things get tight time-wise!

    1. Phew! Sounds like you’re having a crazy summer too. 🙂 And it’s definitely not the first thing cut. I’d go crazy without it. More crazy than I go with it added to everything else. I guess that’s the test?

  2. Tracey Livesay

    Great post! I love comparing writing to our kids. LOL When you’re a writer, you have to write. No matter how frustrated you are, how stressed, no matter how much easier your life would be if you didn’t. I could no more not write my books, then I could not raise my children. Good luck with your move. 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh. You totally hit the nail on the head. You’re absolutely write about the escape and the way I recharge. This was one of the best ways I’ve heard it put.

    Thanks so much for this post. I loved reading it.

    1. I do love that moment. Or the one where you were laying breadcrumbs all along the way, and when you pull it together, those breadcrumbs work perfectly! Hooray!

  4. I feel you 100%.
    Writing is our escape. It is our therapy.
    BUT–when you write under contract, writing is so much ‘more than a hobby’. It is a job and a real responsibility. We’re just lucky enough that our obligations allow that escape.
    Good luck on the move!

    1. Lol. Mine notices the work. He tolerates the distracted periods and obsessive periods. But I wouldn’t say he gets it. 🙂 Thank heavens he’s so supportive even if he doesn’t get it!

  5. Abigail – you hit the nail on its proverbial head! 99% of my friends aren’t writers, so when I tell them I can’t do this or that because I’m on deadline or have an idea that is flying, I tend to think they feel I’m just making excuses. Not an y more – I’m going to Tweet this piece to them all! Thanks for making it easy for me. PJ

    1. I used to laugh off comments like that, but these days find it more frustrating. I don’t tell them to stop running/drinking wine/going out, do I? 🙂 But to them it would be “work” to write a book, so I get why they don’t understand. Or I try to get it.

  6. Abigail, awesome post. Most non-writers think it’s easy to turn our writing on and off – silly people!

    My moment is when I start a scene with a concrete way to end it, but then my brain takes a left turn and I come up with a different, dance around my office ending!

    1. I love those ah-ha moments when you brainstorm something even better! And then your brain goes down all the different ways you need to / could incorporate that angle. Most of the best parts of my books came out of those moments IMO.

  7. Sandra Dailey

    I have to outline my work, and then live from scene to scene.
    I understand what you’re going through. My mother moved in a few months ago, promising to run interference so I could write more. She’s become my biggest distraction. No matter how much I talk to her about it, the TV is blaring at full volume, she’s reading out loud, and constantly has something she wants me to see or hear. I could work easier with a two year old in the house. Most of my writing is being done between midnight and 4:00 AM. I have to be up at eight.

    1. Ah – a fellow scene writer! I also live out my books in scenes.

      And I absolutely get that extra hands would logically mean more time, but often means more work/time away. We’ll be living with my parents until we get our CA house sold and TX one bought (however long that takes). It will be interesting. 🙂

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