Friday, May 22, 2009

I Know It Is Time But For What--Guest Post!

Please Welcome Mona! From Mona's Musings. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with us!

I am the writer of the production “With Mine Own Hand: The Musical Account of Nephi” which was staged at BYU during Campus Education Week last summer and has a 2 CD set in distribution. I have also had pieces published in the Orlando Sentinel and the Ensign.

I Know It Is Time But For What

Journal entry from the Year 2000

As I dusted around it, I couldn’t help but draw something symbolic from the dust. It was pretty thick. No one had touched this desk, this keyboard, this stack of books and notes for a long time. Of course, no one would but me. Funny that I thought the auspicious moving of the desk to the front entryway would make any difference. Just because it’s in plain sight doesn’t mean I’ll have any more time than normal to write.

It’s hopeless.

This little corner of literary inactivity will only turn out to be a monument to what I really do, and that does not include being a writer. It does include a million trillion little things like helping with an English paper, sending a card, picking up forgotten shoes, wiping down the bathroom sink. And they just won’t go away. No matter how I try to whittle down the list that lords over me, I wake up the next morning and it has somehow replenished itself like the shoes made by elves, or Elijah’s jar of oil.

To become a writer, to finish my book, I would have to be alone on a mountain in Tibet for a solid year. Not only is there very little chance of that happening, I don’t think I’d like it very much. And my deep-deep self tells me that my royalties after coming down that mountain would never come close to the royalties I’ll enjoy in the next life if I just keep on with the million trillion little things.

I don’t know whether to cry or not, or whether to feel relieved, or whether to give up my dream. All I want is to become a writer. All I am is a caregiver. Which is which, what is what, when is when. I wish I knew.

Blog Entry from Today 2009

The desk has moved again, this time across the country: new house, new neighborhood, new life at 50. The kids have left me – “free” that is – to do the writing thing at last.

Then why or why does my writing computer (the one with no internet sitting in the living room corner) keep glaring at me, challenging me to a duel, monitor and keyboard itching for a fight.

It’s got to be jealous. The kitchen computer gets plenty of attention: email, chat, surf and does it all…but that living room computer – the one grandly dubbed “Mom’s Writing Computer” - still gathers dust.

The poor thing must be questioning its worth. It can plainly see that there are no more diapers, no more toys, no more Cub Scouts, no more homeschool. For years that machine has been patient, waiting for the “someday” I promised. “Someday” is obviously here, yet there are a million trillion little things that “have” to be done before I can sit down and tap and slap and punch and prattle on paper. What is up with that?!

It’s my blog’s fault. Begun as a writing exercise and because the kids said it would be “fun” for me, now I’m locked into a promised weekly post for hundreds of eager readers. I love those followers; they have given me permission to call myself “a writer” and believe it. But by the time each post is crafted, I’ve spent a lot of writing energy so that there’s not much left over for “The Book”.

What do my fellow ink-fiends think I should do?

I’ve considered letting go of the blog, and focus on “The Book”, a summer hiatus if you will, but then I hate to lose the momentum the blog has gained. When I receive such positive responses over and over, affirming the good my writing is doing in blogosphere, I think, I can’t let go of this, even for a few months.

On the other hand, I can’t let go of “The Book”. Literally years have been spent in research. Several three-inch binders are busting with literature, notes, and correspondence gathered in the best historical-fiction fashion. Truth be known, the thought of reacquainting myself with all that information is a little overwhelming; reason enough for my rare ventures to the living room. However, I know the heart of the story: the people and their drama, is not in the notebooks. They are all right beside me, twenty-four seven, clamoring for a chance at the keyboard.

Here’s the window: the kids are all busy, independent, employed this summer; one grandbaby at present, but he lives on the opposite side of the country; hubby travels for work; other than caring for my adult daughter who is disabled, my head is my own. I know it is time, but for what? Shall I pick up the pen to be Novelist or Bloggist, or is there a way to do both?


  1. Ah - the eternal battle between blog and book! It is, indeed, a familiar refrain.

    Here's my suggestion to all who suffer this quandry:

    Work on ONE computer. If the kitchen computer is where you spend your time - then use it, write with it, make it earn it's keep for all the time you spend on it doing other things! When you're already there, it makes it that much easier to open the writing file - and you never know when something on the net might just spark that creative flame. When that happens, don't even get out of the chair, just pull up the book and write, right then!

  2. Your entry really touched my heart. I've always wanted to be a writer, but have spent the past 23 years of married life being a mother to two disabled boys, a wife to a husband that is seldom home and a business partner to a man (also my husband) who had the dream of owning his own restaurant. Every spare moment was spent building that business and making it a priority, sometimes even over family.

    I was told once by a friend, that there is a season for everything. I held on to that concept, thinking that someday it would be my season to write. That maybe the business would be able to stand on its own and I would be able to cut the apron strings and pursue my dream of being a writer. After 23 years, I'd almost given up.

    Last fall, we had a string of events (flooded our kitchen, car accident, sickness, etc.) that kept me home for over a month and guess what? The business survived without me. This was a big wake up call to my husband, because during that time I spent it writing and finishing the first draft of my book. He saw how serious I was about it and how much the dream meant to me, something he honestly hadn't realized before.

    When it came time for me to return to work, my husband put his foot down and declared it "My Turn."

    It is my season, and perhaps this is yours, too. Make it a priority. There's no reason why you can't do the blog AND your book. Be creative. Ask some of your writing buddies to be guest bloggers once or twice a month. That would free you up to work on your book. Whatever you do, don't give up. This is your time to fulfill your dream. Just do it!!

  3. Mona, I am not in the same season of life as you. But I am in the same situation of all the million of little things getting in between me and my novel. And it can be very hard when everything is pulling you in different directions. Make this your books summer, I know you will find a way.

  4. Ooh, I love the "my head is my own" idea. That totally resonated with me. These people I live with are always wanting my body, but my mind? I can choose when they can have that! That's SO liberating! THANK YOU!

  5. Sweet post, Mona. I, too, am battling the passion of writing a book and the passion of being a mom, knee-deep in the daily to do's of life.

    I blog because it's instant gratification for me. And in the comments and blog discussions, its that communication with other adults that I also crave.

    I strive to blog about weighty matters that I plan to fold into my novel(s) in some way, shape or form.

    I write my ongoing novel (perhaps a series, I don't know yet) because it's more a long term love...a different flame, a different feeling. But my passion is in both, as well as in my family and four young children, full time.

    At times I feel schizophrenic, but enjoy reading blog posts like yours because I know I'm not alone. And that makes all the difference.

    I say (my 2009 personal motto): "Live the dream. Write the book."

  6. You know, Mona, I remember when I was a teenager I used to think, "when I'm an adult I'll have so much more time to study the scriptures and clean the house, because adults don't have lives and they have time for all that boring stuff that teenagers don't want to do." LOL I know, brilliant, right? Well, I'm an adult and, you guessed it, more busy than I ever was as a teenager. I agree that there is a season for everything, but I also think that we can make time for the things that bring us happiness and fulfillment. It's amazing what thirty minutes a day on an MS can accomplish. Make time for yourself. Fulfill the dream you've been dreaming of for years. And your post has inspired me. The writing is brilliant and I loved it.

  7. Mona, great post! I feel like everything in life is a balancing act--from every season down to every moment. The trick is finding the combination of balancing that keeps you happy and then go with it. Good luck!

  8. It's quite nice, although I liked and not all pictures.
    But as a whole they...
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