Monday, March 7, 2011

Writer Mom Series: Open Windows

This wasn't a post I'd planned on writing, but after reading many of your similar comments on my FRIDAY POST I felt the need to share.

Doors open and close throughout our lives. We established that. What we do and how we react to those doorways is what makes us who we are as people, as communities, as a world. We have a choice. That's empowering. But how often we forget we have that power.
As a mom of children approaching adulthood, it's hard to see my choices at times. Living in the muck and goop of the busy life of a family of six is trying at times. There's laundry, dishes, food, and the dreaded grocery shopping which will surely put us in the poor house soon. When they were younger, there was reading bedtime stories, baking cookies, and playing pass with the baseball outside.

Now, there's homework--tons, and some is college material seeing how our oldest takes AP courses--dating troubles, and sibling bickering fueled by way too much testosterone. It's scary. And fuel, don't even get me started on the price of gas. Our oldest drives and is forever asking for gas money even though he has a job. With all of this, it's no wonder I forget sometimes that I'm in control.  

The same philosophy can be applied to our writing. When we first sit down to write a new story, ideas are scattered. Sometimes there are so many, we find ourselves chasing our tails desperate to find a beginning. We are the ones driving this road of creation yet we forget that. Then, a character appears. We hope, although not yet sure what their features and characteristics are.

We breathe, and a window opens. In one blink of our eye, we see curtains added to the window, blowing in the breeze; in the next, the window is bare. We look closer and the outer facade of the character blots clearer. We ponder, right there and then, the character's hair and eyes, the way he/she stands, what clothes is worn, and how it makes them who they are. We bask in the moment of discovering someone new.

Another glance shows us beautiful scenery through the grates of the window; but the next shows destruction and heartache. The inner workings of the character and story are taking form. Our writer sense--yes, you have it--narrows and we begin to believe there's something there. We think. Light peers through that window. A plot emerges, then sub plots, roadways and ultimately an outline or synopsis is born. We are in the moment. And there's nothing like it.

A lot of your comments on Friday were understanding and sympathetic. You understood where I was coming from as a mom/parent as well as a writer. And like me, you're hoping to use your struggles as a parent to fuel your writing. I wanted to share part of a comment that was left on Friday. It hit home with me and I think it will with all of you.

...I do know where you're coming from. Life has taught me a lot of lessons, the most important being don't get so caught up in the past and future-you forget about today. Live for each and every day...

Thanks, Ellie, for sharing such wisdom with us. I'm sure a lot of us know this on a subconsciously level. But how often do we need to be reminded...

How do you LIVE for today? 


  1. Great post! I need to go and read Friday's post now ... Um, yeah, I try to live every day the best I can. Sometimes it's hard to not think about the future, considering most of what I do is to achive something in the future, but anyway, I do still try to ENJOY the process. Sometimes we just have to take a step back and remember WHY we are doing things. Once you establish the why, it becomes easier to focus on the NOW :o) xoxo

  2. I love your description of the open window and the earliest beginnings of a story! That feels very true to me -- especially the chasing part -- and those glimpses of the scene between the flapping curtains. Yeah, I'm there right now.

  3. Great comment. It is so hard to forget to enjoy the day with how hectic life becomes. But especially with our kids, they grow up SO fast and we need to enjoy all our experiences with them. I am so realizing this as my daughter is about to start high school next fall. 4 more years and then she'll be out of the house. Yikes. Share more how to handle all those AP courses and stress to help your kid get into a good college.

  4. Great post. Sometimes it's hard to reconcile the two- mom and writer. But without the organisation and anti-stress skills I've learned (been forced to learn) through momhood, I wouldn't survive long in the querying process and wouldn't have had the patience to finish my first project!

  5. I admit I have trouble living in the moment. I would rather write than play Candyland 60 times in a row. But I also know that the best way to keep my 4 year old happy is to promise him some play time together and then to keep that promise right then and there. Luckily, he only has the patience for 2 or 3 games. And whenever he says he wants a hug, he gets one.

  6. We can't forget about today. I constantly remind myself that my children are here for a brief spell in their lives and I want to give them everything I have (within reason) :)

  7. Another lovely, inspiring post, Sheri. Thanks :)

  8. Happy belated birthday. I'm sorry I missed Friday's post. I just read it and cried. My kids are just about to start their schooling career so I'm no where near the teenage years yet, but I get what you mean. I'm not sure what the answer is and this post has brought so much inspiration. It's true we must live everyday--forget about the past and the future. Treasure each day because you never know what can happen.
    Hang in there and thanks.

  9. Thanks for the reminder. I have to do laundry today.

    A few more years and I'll be facing similar teenage situations. As if the non-testosterone battles weren't enough. Groan. And the dating. Not looking forward to that. My 7 yo is already flirting with her gymnastics coach. Grrrr.

    Love the inspirational writing philosophy.

  10. If there's one silver lining we can find in every difficult situation, it's that it's fodder for our writing--the good, the bad, the philosophies of life, the precious.

    Great post. And more hugs!

  11. This post really has me choked up. What you say is so true, and so real! It's easy to feel out of control in life and in writing, but we have to be strong enough to step back, take a breath, and search for that open window. Thanks!

  12. Great post! Love the analogy.

  13. Thank you for this today! Now I'm off to pick up one six year old from school and give him a great big HUG!

  14. I kept saying, uh huh, uh huh, throughout your whole POST! I can relate to both the teenagers, homework, money, etc. and with the writing. I need to be reminded sometimes that I control what happens in my own story (personally and the ones I write). Thanks, Sheri!

  15. Good analogy. Writing starts from the chaos, and we strive to turn it into polish.

    Love Liar Society your hair. It's nearly purple!

  16. I don't have experience as a mom, but I can totally relate to this post. And the "live for today" idea is so important with writing. I'm always looking to the future, where I want this book to go, that I don't sit back and just enjoy it. I mean, that's why I do it.

    Great post!


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