Friday, October 1, 2010

I Sat Down to Write the Other Day...

Thank you Rachael Harrie for the Crusade.

I sat down to write the other day when my doorbell rang. Something inside me was telling me not to answer it but just last week the neighbor’s kid drank a toxic amount of cough syrup and so what if it was an emergency? I thought to myself.

“Hey Jim, what’s up?” I asked but really didn’t care because if I took in his story with more than a blank stare I was going to lose that little bit of story I created right before I sat down to write.

“The flu must be going around because J.T. and Lila are both throwing up at my house. Hey, do you have a flat head screwdriver I can borrow?” He just stood there un-phased by what he just said.

Ugh! Seriously? Why? Why would anyone in their right mind come over to tell me their kids were barfing? I didn’t want to, but I let him follow me to the garage where he got the screwdriver he was supposedly looking for. I still think he was of the philosophy that when the flu was out he must spread it around so the whole neighborhood could be done and over it at the same time. But what if I could fend it off for a couple of days and then hear about the flu in passing from someone else who heard that Jim’s kids were home sick? At least then I would have time to process the info and prepare myself for disease to hit my household of five. I know, I know, it’s the flu and I have three kids and live in a neighborhood with thirty kids between the ages of two and ten; I’m bound to get the flu regardless. Still, this just threw my whole day off.

Now psychosomatically affected by the flu, I sat back down to my computer with a can of 7up and a bowl of crackers. Now where was I with my story? I thought, reading back through my WIP.

My writing goal for the day was 1700 words, a lofty goal, but November first wasn’t far away and I needed to practice for NaNoWriMo. The writing was going quite well. I was actually more excited about this practice writing project than the idea I had for NaNo but then it was already 11:15am and I only had five minutes left before I had to pick up my kindergartner from school. I hated Wednesdays. My days were already fragmented but throwing a weekly minimum day into the public school system just really made me angry. To top it off, minimum day for half-day kindergarten just didn’t make sense.

Luckily, I was able to get my son to sit right down and do his worksheets without too much of a fuss. And then off he went to play and I sat back down to write. Okay, my story was really getting good at this point; I was in the zone.

“Mom, there are ants on the counter,” Nolan, said when he went to get a cup for water.

“Okay, okay. I’ll get it, just a minute.” And off he went to play again. The ants were there, in the back of my mind, but with creativity flowing out of me at 90 words per minute I didn’t want to stop. Now, if he had said flies or cockroaches were all over the counter, I would’ve jumped, but we just had a heat wave over the weekend so a few ants were bound to come inside. Still, the ants were bothering me. My writing slowly ground to a halt, I looked over my shoulder and wished I hadn’t put it off for even a minute; there weren’t a few ants, it was a remake of Indiana Jones. They were everywhere.

I did what I could with the ants until I realized for the second time this day, that it was minimum day at school and I had my third grader to pick up, so I dashed out the door. My third grader hated to read. Can you imagine that? What kid doesn’t like to read? This was why I hated this time of day. I spent forty-five minutes arguing with my daughter to complete her twenty minutes of reading while I wiped and sprayed the newly formed grouping of ants in the kitchen. It was really an hour of arguing with my daughter but I turned on the wet vacuum and mopped the floor while she continued to argue and complain while I enjoyed the white noise of the vacuum. That last fifteen minutes of white noise must have calmed her down because she sat down to read quietly, giving me a few minutes to pound out some more words on the computer.

“Mom, can Nolan and I go over to Aunt Regina’s house while you pick up Fischer from preschool?” My daughter asked after she completed her reading.

Fischer! Would I have forgotten my three year old if Madeline hadn’t said anything? Nah. It was minimum day. I was still on track for picking him up regardless of how I remembered to do so.

I didn’t manage to get back to my computer again this day until eight o’clock at night, but I was able to write until midnight so in the end I was able to accomplish that 1700 words.

This is a story largely based on true events, though pieced together from different days and years. Every day is crazy with three kids in the mix but I’m driven, so I’m not worried about my productivity yet.


  1. I can relate to this. Except for the writing while the kids are around part. Can't do that one at all. :)

    Good for you for meeting your goal.

  2. Great story Patricia :) Thanks for taking part in my Crusader Challenge. Make sure you leave a comment in the Crusader post with a link to this article (and your points tally), so everyone can check it out :)

  3. I bet having three kids around can be really challenging. I'm suprised that you said this happened on a bunch of different days in different years. It all flows together really well and seems like it could have been just a normal day.

  4. Hi Crusader :-)
    I'm impressed by the 90 words per minute bit... My brain is way too stop-start for me to get that many words down in a minute!

  5. howdy fellow crusader. popped over from the link you left on rach's comment. Great story. wow, how you get anything done at all is amazing are you secretly wonder woman, and yeah 90 words a minute!! i have no children and only a part time job and i still cant muster that skill!! rock on tho! My post for the crusade is on the 6th!

  6. Hello crusaders! Thanks for coming by to comment.

    Writing around kids is hard, reserved for important thoughts that need to get written right then. I mostly write starting around 8pm until midnight or 1am.

    I type 90 wpm but can only think up story at that rate for about 20 minutes at a time. Then I sit and think, think, think. I can pump out story quite fast, at about NaNo's rate which is 50,000 words in 4 weeks. The revision is the killer. It takes me much longer to revise to the point of personal perfection.

  7. I love the part where the neighbor throws in a puking comment along with "can I borrow a screwdriver?" HA!

  8. Since I watch crime dramas (I need to stop doing that), I thought for a second you were going to have to fight the neighbour off with the screwdriver. I'm glad you did not.

  9. Ugh, I'm glad we don't have ants in Iceland. And I understand your business with your kids! I should probably be glad to have twins, who still follow the same program. I wonder what it'll be like when they start playing different sports...and when that new baby I want will be with us (still haven't decided when to have it - husband says now, but I'm still too drained after only four hours with my three year olds).

  10. Seriously, ants? Who needs them?

    And the neighbor with the barfing kids can go into the same category.

    Hard to see how work can be done under such trying circumstances and still you got your 1700 words done. All I can say is Congratulations!

  11. I like 'remake of Indiana Jones'...Three occupations, three children, and this - no mean feat. Well done!