I remember reading how Ann Landers (or was it her sister Abby?) commented how she wrote through all sorts of trials and problems, including the death of a parent. Granted, she (whichever one) had a contract/job, and had to keep writing in order to maintain her job.
Ten days ago, my father had a mild heart attack and was sent to the hospital, a four hour’s drive from me. He was transported to two nursing homes after his hospital stay. I transported him in our van from one home to another. He rode by ambulance to the first one. I was down there for three days and two nights. I had my laptop with me, of course, but only opened it for a few minutes on my last morning there. My emotions were pretty raw. I couldn’t get “into” my NaNo story. I thought about giving it all up. Then, as my father’s health stabilized, I left home for Michigan (yesterday). On the drive on nearly completely interstate highway, I spent an hour safely following a semi-truck through fog without passing anyone else, nor anyone passing us. The fog was mysterious, enticing, causing me much wonder. I thought about stopping, but knew I had two more hours of driving due west and just might slip past the cover if I continued on. During the white drive, I finally got back “into” my NaNo story — giving it a chapter which takes place in the fog. My two hours following the semi’s pale red back lights simply flew past.
The interesting thing about all this is that now — with a three-day break from writing and getting back to it — I have a much clearer sense of what is going on with the story and with the characters.
The NaNoWriMo challenge is good. A break from it is even better, at least it was for me. Now, to get back on that NaNo horse and gallop to the end of the race. Will I come out a “winner,” making the 50,000 word count by November 30? I seriously can’t answer that. But this I know — driving through the fog and seeing only bits and pieces of objects and not knowing what they were until I was upon them, paralleled my writing of this story. Certain things were foggy. Now they are clear.
The time I spent with my father, I could concentrate on nothing else but him, as it should have been. I couldn’t think about my writing, nor did I care to. But as he got better, so I was freed to pursue my writing. So, although I’m quite far behind in my word count, I’m back to the writing of this particular story I have chosen for my NaNoWriMo challenge.
I wonder how other writers deal with crisis in their writing lives.