Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Lesson from Howie the Fish

Writing... Writing... Writing...

There! I did it. I wrote today. Now I can get over the guilt that this week I haven't put ANY effort into writing. Want to know what I did today? I (barely) got out of bed this morning, I helped my adorable- albeit forgetful- hubby find his work keys (NOT an easy feat!), got him out the door, made the boys oatmeal, and decided to take them to the pet store. WHHYYYY?? Oh, I don't know. In my pure exhaustion I thought picking them up a Betta fish would be a good idea. A distraction, if you will, so maaaybe I could get work done.

We got home and it was time for lunch and naps... But not for me, of course. I was going to devote my quiet time to my manuscript that I'm so excited about. However, I didn't think my almost-3yr old would kick, scream, and cause PURE PANIC in mi casa all because he couldn't sleep with said fishy (ps, "said fishy" has a name. It's Howie...). But he did.

So, I fought with the kid for about an hour and a half, and just as I opened up my computer, my almost-5yr old was up. Urrggg!! But the truth is, there's not much I can do about any of the time I have lost. The mood is gone. I'd rather vent about all of this than write a children's story. Writing for children is the last thing I now want to do.

I've been staring at Howie for a while. We're letting the tap water get to room temperature, and then we'll transition him (in his bag from the store) to the water, and allow that water to adjust. Once it has, he can finally be set "free" in his lager environment. It's a looong process. Does he seem to care? Maybe I should ask him. But his tiny, beautiful body language appears unperturbed. Hmmm... See, I'd be in total panic mode!

I'm thinking there's a lesson in this...

I've been meeting a lot of writers lately. They are either one of two types:
    1. Published. Professional. Knowledgeable. Set in their ways.


    2. BRAND SPANKING NEW. Exhausted. Terrified. Unsure. Doubting that they have any skill.

But you know what the biggest difference is between these two types?
"Duh, Bethany," you say, "Experience!"
And, that might be. But I think the biggest difference is, Patience. Patience gives you the chance to relax. To let your story brew! It allows you, the writer, to be comfortable with who you are as the narrator to a child's imagination.

So, for me today, the guilt of not diving into my manuscript might be overwhelming, but the time I shared at the pet store helping my boys pick out their first fish, was worth it. It gave me patience, actually, because I was able to see the world through their eyes, and see their excitement when they were coming up with the perfect name for it. It took staring at the ever-patient Howie as he waited for his much larger home to become acceptable for his living conditions, for me to realize that good things truly DO come to those who wait.

I'll get back to my manuscript tonight... Or maybe tomorrow. Either way, I now know that patience to creating the perfect story idea, finding the time to jot down your thoughts, or actually writing out your story, is KEY.

After all, if Howie can be so chill, maybe I can be too.


  1. All I can say is, wow, your kids still have naps! My just-turned-five-year-old and my nearly-three-year-old both gave up naps by the time they turned two.

    It's difficult finding time to write with young kids; there's very rarely such a time as 'quiet time'. But it can be done. Sometimes it just means writing with them around and accepting you'll be interrupted half a dozen times. I've completed two NaNoWriMos with my kids and I have high hopes for completing 12 x 12 in 2012 this year (even though I'll be adding a third child to the mix in a month!)

    Good luck on getting your story done. I love your new patience mantra.

  2. Love this Bethany! Sooo true. The ideas will come and there will be time, when the timing is right. Love your pet store adventure. I need to try that some time!

  3. Perfect, Bethany! I had exactly the same thoughts, and just contributed it as a response to a wall post. Priorities first...the rest will work itself out if we are patient. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  4. So true, Bethany! Keep at it. It will all work out :) And BTW, there's another kind of author: published and still doubting they have any skill because published once or twice does not mean published every time by any stretch of the imagination! There's always room for doubt and insecurity - so you just have to let Howie's graceful motion soothe you and keep on trying ;)

  5. I agree! Thanks for sharing your little adventure Bethany. It made me think of my two girls. Only one still takes a nap though.

    Best of luck with finding time to write :)

  6. You know, writing for children is HARD (I took a class on it once... yeah) and raising them is even harder. I have a sister who juggles a 4- and 2-year old whilst trying to finish a book. Good luck with the family and the writing!

  7. Boy, I hate days like that. You look forward to that small amount of time during the day to accomplish something for yourself -- then kiddos don't cooperate. Good things came of it though -- I loved reading your post.

    Thanks for following me on Twitter. Looking forward to the 12 x 12!

  8. Nice post! I hope Howie had a good weekend...and you as well! ;0)

  9. Writing happens :-) - Nice to meet you!