I haven’t always been like this. For 18 years I was a fully functioning member of my family. I was always present, always a part of what was going on. Wherever my family was – in the living room, on the back patio, downstairs playing ping-pong – there was I. I went with my wife to the grocery store. I cleaned out the garage. I once washed the car in the driveway. I stood in the cul-de-sac and chatted with the neighbors. Time was easily spent, my attention was never split, and my mind was always on the task at hand.
On February 25th, 2010 this changed. I began writing every day.
Now some part of my brain is always working on the writing. I’ve fallen out of touch with my neighbors and my garage is a shameful mess.
I spend a lot of time alone. Every day I spend some significant part of my prime time alone, off in my study in a carefully procured silence. Because of this, my wife spends a lot of time alone as well. She gives me up to my craft. She does this willingly, and when people do things for us willingly it is easy to take such acts for granted.
Each of us has a Supporting Character*. We have someone who pays the price with us. Someone – likely the person you share a bed with – that deals with the often distant and distracted person that is you, the writer.
So as you spend another mid-winter pulling text from your core, pause and recognize that while it may look to the casual observer to be the case, you don’t work alone.
*Supporting Character is a word which here means that one who supports us who writes.