Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Write to Life

by Rebecca Talley

I was once asked by an interviewer if I listened to music while I write. The answer is: not on purpose. Does that mean I write only when there's silence? Ha. Far from it.

I write to Sesame Street, Dora The Explorer, nursery rhymes, Rascal Flatts, Tae Bo, radio stations, countless kid videos, bickering kids, and teenage drama. The truth is, my house is never quiet--not even in the middle of the night. Between kids who talk in their sleep and yelping coyotes outside my window, there always seems to be commotion.

I've had to learn to focus. In fact, sometimes I focus so well when I'm in the groove of a story, that my kids stand at my computer and chant my name until I look up. I suppose that's a bad thing, yet in my house, it's been a coping mechanism to get things done. I'd never complete a YW lesson, read my scriptures, balance my checkbook, pay bills, clean my house, fold laundry, cook, or do family history if my family's organized chaos constantly distracted me.

I've also developed a keen ability to pick up on that which truly needs my attention. Even if I'm in the "zone" while writing, I can hear a child crying, respond to an important request, or take care of an immediate need. I can even answer the telephone. I think all of us who write with children still at home have this innate ability. I call it a mom writer's 6th sense: the ability to discern between immediate needs and that which can wait until after a chapter is finished.

Since I have such a large family that always seems to be in motion, I've learned that if I want to write, I have to make it all work. I've honed my focus skills and I've learned to use time in the shower, time driving my kids to appointments and extracurricular activities, and time waiting at the dentist or doctor to think through my story so that when I do have a minute at the computer, I can use it effectively.

I also write snippets of stories on the backs of deposit slips, post it notes, and grocery lists. Whatever works.

So, no, I don't write to music, I write to life.


Danyelle Ferguson said...

Rebecca - Mama-Writers world-wide are shouting a great big, AMEN!

It's so true. I've actually gotten to the point that I write better with all the noise and chaos than I do when it's peaceful and quiet. Which is kinda sad, because I'd love to just go away for a weekend alone and write away . . . but I'm afraid I'd spend the money, then come down with a case of writer's block from all the quiet. :)

Laurie LC Lewis said...

I love that you write to life! What a great realization. Good luck with this book. I'd love to win a copy, but if not, I think this is one I'd have to buy! Way too cute!

Cathy Witbeck said...

How would we ever get anything done if we had to write when there was nothing going on. When exactly does that happen. Sometimes I think the chaos adds to the writing. Scary, eh.

Nichole Giles said...

Yeah, I second that amen. A mother's home is never quiet. Maybe that's why we create fictional worlds in which we can escape. Either that, or we're bordering on insanity.

Whichever it is, I'm there with you.