chuckled when I saw the name of this column: “Author by Night.” I’m a
public relations professional by day, five days a week, sometimes six
or seven. I have two semi-adult children living in my house, along with
three cats and a tank full of fish, and a husband who would
occasionally like to be the focus of my undivided attention. So, I’m
really an author by whenever-I-can-slap-two-minutes-together.
Prepublished authors with small
children have asked me how I find the time to write. My response is to
ask: How badly do you want it? How badly do you want to hold that book
in your hands and see your name on the cover? Several years ago I
turned forty-five and I asked myself those questions. I had two
children in middle school. (Do you remember the middle school years?
The my-hair-is-frizzy-today-I-can’t-go-to-school years. The years of
first school dances and basketball tryouts and trying to remember
locker combinations.) Couple that with a cat with gall bladder problems
followed by full-blown diabetes. Then factor in the day job.
Still, I wanted the dream
badly―badly enough to make it work; badly enough to get up at five
thirty every morning and make it into the office by six thirty, which
gives me an hour and fifteen minutes to write before my time belongs to
my day job. From eleven to noon, I wolf down a frozen dinner and write
for another hour. Sometimes I feel like I’m living a double life.
Mild-mannered PR Manager Kelly Irvin closes the door to her office,
rips off the two-piece business suit and becomes . . . Writer Woman! At
the end of the hour, off comes the cape and out walks mild-mannered PR
Manager. After that it’s nights like tonight: I’m sweaty from running
on the treadmill, my eyes are scratchy, and my fingers fumbling, but my
behind is in the seat and my hands are on the keys.
published novels all found their way to daylight in this manner. I used
to be a newspaper journalist. I worked on deadline every day. That’s
the way I treat my fiction writing time. I sit down, put my fingers on
the keys, and I go. No waiting for inspiration, no musing, no whining
about writer’s block. I have no problem turning it on. I have, however,
been known to have problems turning it off. That means pawing through
compartment for a piece of paper in rush hour traffic or
pulling over at a stop sign to get that last bit of dialogue out of my
head or turning off the treadmill fifteen minutes early to write this
column. It has on occasion—and I can admit it because there’s no hiding
it from God—meant writing a tidbit on a church bulletin. Not that I
write in church, it’s just sometimes my pastor says something that
coincides with the spiritual theme of the book.
So, to the prepublished authors
wondering how to lasso your dreams: Don your Writer Woman (or Man)
cape; slap your behind in the chair, and put your fingers on the
keyboard. Ready, set, go!