Yvonne Navarro has written more than 20 novels and 100 short stories. Her novel deadrush is recognized as one of the most inventive takes on the zombie myth. She’s won more than 5 writing awards and been nominated for several others. Her short stories are frequently features in annual Year's Best Horror anthologies. She is a font of knowledge about writing, but in today’s blog she’s talking not about the craft of writing, but the life outside it.
Live in the Moment
So here I am, having agreed to write a blog (again) and with no concept of what to write about (again). I’m a writer, so I should write about writing, right? Please. I’m one of the Old Ones. No, I’m not ninety years old (although sometimes I feel like it) and banging this out on an antique Remington typewriter where I hear a ding! and have to use the carriage return lever at the end of every sentence. But there were no computer screens or Internet (::gasp!::) back then; I wrote on electric typewriters and submitted my work via the U.S. Mail with things called SASEs (self-addressed, stamped envelopes)-- the only way you got a reply from an editor. Writing about topics like How to Get Published or How to Find an Agent makes me feel like someone’s grandmother. Besides, despite what new writers think, you can look up all that stuff on the Internet and probably get better advice anyway.
Yes, I’m still working on the blog. When I started it I was at the computer in my office; now I’m in the backseat of my husband’s SUV and we’re on our way to Bisbee, taking one of his childhood friends on a little local tour. The trip goes right along with my theme for this blog-- Live in the Moment. I think it’s wonderful that The Husband (as I call him) is still in touch with a number of his earliest friends. I’ve lost touch with every person I went to school with except for one: my boyfriend from my freshman year in high school. Say what you will about Facebook but it reconnected us forty-some years after we last set eyes upon each other. Now we’re thousands of miles away and light years in different experiences, but it’s still very cool.
So back to what I’m supposed to be rambling about. I’m a writer and I’m always searching for time to write; as expected, life and its components always seem to be interfering. Phone calls, ringing doorbells, pets (kids, too, but ours are grown) fighting or banging on my elbow for attention, parents who call and ask, “Hey, want to go to [X] with me?” or friends who want to party. Writers, REAL writers, want to use every spare minute to write. I don’t say “real” to denigrate anyone who wants to be a writer, but there’s a big difference between a wannabe writer and a writer; that, however, is a subject for another blog.
For a “real” writer, it’s hard not to feel that ping of irritation every time something interrupts you. I’ve felt it for years. I still feel it, and often. The difference is that now, after decades of writing (just stop it-- it’s not polite to ask a woman her age), I don’t automatically surrender to aggravation. Now I pick and choose.
Yes: the windshield replacement guy who ignores my two, TWO, “No Soliciting” signs and rings my bell anyway.
Yes: the cute five-year-old Brownie selling Girl Scout cookies. Okay, just kidding. I said no thanks, but she was freaking adorable.
No: the Mom- and Dad-in-Law who come for Valentine’s weekend. We go touristing, we go picnicking, the Mom-in-Law and I go shopping. Unsupervised. Yes!
No: the friend or parent who wants to have lunch.
No: the old friend who calls out of the blue and wants to chat for a hour.
Yes: the Great Dane that poops in the house or makes off with my purse and chews up everything in it.
Bet you didn’t expect all those “no” answers, did you?
Sure, I want to write (or try to write) every spare minute. But at this point in my life-- okay, I’m in my fifites-- every time I answer the phone, there’s a microsecond of memories that process in my brain. That’s followed by a dozen or a hundred wishes that will never come true.
I wish it was my Dad asking if I want to go to lunch. He died in late 2014.
I wish it was my Mom, calling to chat. She died over a decade ago.
I wish it was my friend Adrienne, who passed away a couple of years ago and who I hadn’t talked to in about five years before she left this world.
I wish it was my biological father, whose birthday call I missed and who never got the chance to call me back.
And that nudge on my elbow? How I wish it was my precious Lily, our first rescue deaf Dane, who used to offer me a ridiculously oversized orange tennis ball and hope I would play with her.
Or my sweet deaf Ghostie, who was burned as a puppy by her original owners but still never met a person she didn’t love.
I think you get the idea now.
It’s all about time management, and that doesn’t meaning always turning away. Yes, you love your writing and you covet time away from everything so you can be uninterrupted so you can be in the moment with those fictional characters, in that make-believe world. But remember that there may come a day--no, months, years-- that your time has become just that: uninterrupted. And not for the best of reasons.
So manage your time wisely. Enjoy your family members and your friends and those pets you love so much. Budget the time for your writing but don’t be such a Scrooge that you leave none for the wonderful people and things in life that won’t always be there.
Live in the moment.
Yvonne Navarro is an award-winning author with more than 20 novels to her credit, including AfterAge, deadrush, Final Impact, Dead Times, and Mirror Me. Five of her novels are titles in the Buffyverse. Her most recent works Highborn and Concrete Savior are part of The Dark Redemption Series. She also has more than 100 short stories in various magazines and anthologies. Yvonne lives in Arizona her husband, author Weston Ochse, and their rescued Great Danes. You can follow her on her website/blog, and through Facebook and Twitter. To pick up her books, check her Amazon page.