And I've another amazing author.
When Jane Eyre discovered Mr. Rochester's secret, she changed out of her wedding dress and sat down and thought. That's what I did. I took four months to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I made lists of everything I ever dreamed of doing and tried out a lot of them. I took a flying lesson and learned to skate well enough to do a waltz jump. I visited different parts of the country where I thought I might like to live. I researched different jobs and tried out a few as a temporary volunteer. In the end, what I decided was that, yes, I wanted to write.
Even with only working one job and no children at home, I struggled to find a regular time to write. Heck, I still do. Besides the pesky day job and normal non-writing obligations, there's the business of being a writer to contend with: submitting work for publication, networking with writers, and maintaining a presence on social networks. The worst distraction for me right now is promoting my memoir, Innocent, which came out last year. There seems to be no end to the promotional activities I could be doing.
What has helped the most is being part of a critique group. My small group of writers meets once a month, which makes a convenient deadline for me. With a chapter every month, new or revised, my memoir took shape much faster than I dreamed possible. The superb constructive criticism from my fellow writers also made it a better book than it would have been otherwise, and their vigorous encouragement kept me going through the tough spots.
Deadlines force me to make time to write, even if it's only on the weekends. I also limit other activities. I make time for friends, but try to schedule no more than two or three social activities a week. There's a kitchen timer next to my computer to remind me to stop playing on the internet.
I work four days a week; on those days I exercise after work, pet the cat, eat dinner, and spend a few hours on promotion, ending with perhaps an hour of television and a chapter or two of the book I'm reading. On the weekends, I write in the morning, do errands and exercise in the afternoon, and usually some kind of social activity in the evening. Of course, sometimes life intervenes, but that' s my basic schedule. Every now and then, I treat myself to what my friend, Paul, calls a PJ Day. I settle in with a good book or two and pots of tea. My cat loves those days the best! And I appreciation the rest and rejuvenation that comes from taking a day off.
One of the silly things I did during my thinking time was to consult an astrologer. She said that instead of pampering myself, I should nurture myself. Making time for writing nurtures me in a deep and lasting way.
B. Morrison, author of the memoir Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother, speaks about her own experiences to dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings about those living in poverty. Now a writer and engineer, she also conducts poetry and memoir workshops and speaks on women's and poverty-related issues. She is the author of a poetry collection, Here at Least, and her award-winning work has been published in anthologies and magazines. She has maintained her Monday Morning Books blog since 2006 and tweets regularly about poetry @bmorrison9. For information about upcoming appearances visit her website and blog at bmorrison.com.