An MFRW Author Post – And check out the other blogs on the hop!
It’s funny that this prompt should show up in November. Years ago, when I was a young lassie of fifteen (Okay, but I was joking and then I did the math and it’s not so funny…) I was embarking upon National Novel Writing Month. National Novel Writing Month, for those who don’t know, is when writers try to complete a 50,000-word manuscript or section of a manuscript in just 30 days. It is now a fairly well-known element of the writing world, but more than a decade ago, my attempt predated Facebook frames and cool t-shirts and a general knowledge of what NaNoWriMo was.
For historical context, I was completing my masterpiece on an orange Apple laptop. Yeah, you remember them.
It was the end of the month, maybe a week until December, and I was very, very behind on my word count. Instead of holing up for the night, however, my parents decided it would be great fun for us to traipse down to Asbury Park and see a woman’s roller derby competition. (Yes, I know my folks are cool now, at the time I didn’t know that.)
Suffice to say, I was all teenage angst and writer angst rolled into one lump of surly blonde. Asbury Park was a far drive, hours in both directions, and it was cold as a witch’s tit outside on the beach in November. In fact, one of the distinct memories I have of the night–other than working on my book on my shared family laptop in a Jersey diner booth–was standing on the rocks near the edge of the water, with a darkness so acute stretching out before me that I felt like I could have fallen right off the edge of the world.
Somehow, someway, my whole family survived that night and I completed National Novel Writing Month with, perhaps, minutes to spare. Year after year, my parents learned to let me be at the end of November and we all lived happily ever after.
I come from a family of artists–visual artists, performing artists, writers, designers, creatives of every ilk. In my family, a simple, “let’s talk about this later, I’m working” is a sufficient way to get time alone to complete whatever project may be on deck–and I’m very lucky for it.
But it goes deeper than that. Because my family doesn’t just put up with my writing, as they were forced to do all those years ago in Asbury Park. They are an invaluable aid in finding the very best story, character or setting possible. I’m the type of person who has to talk through my plots. Sometimes I do this with my cat or dog and sometimes I’ll bounce ideas off my folks or my partner. (I’m told that in coding this is referred to as rubber ducking, working through your problems out loud until you find the solution.)
And the same in return. I had the honor of editing my mom’s last collection of poetry, which was a fun and unique experience. Because I know her voice and her intentions so well, I was able to help her communicate them clearly, while never losing sight of the meaning of the work. (Poetry is super hard to edit and I probably wouldn’t do it for anyone else, but she’s my mom!) My dad and I actually have a company together, and there’s nothing so exciting as when we get together to discuss big ideas and changes. In fact, he’s responsible for my business cards, freebies and a lot of other artwork.
I’m incredibly lucky to have this support system and I know it. My family has been there for me at every step of the way and, while I do believe I could have done it regardless, I’m damn glad they’re here by my side. Writing is a solitary sport, but it feels so good when there’s someone to share the joy with.