I loved playing with Barbies when I was little, okay, even when I wasn’t so little, but in my defense, I had little sisters so…anyway…moving on.
It was always fun and exciting to pull out my dolls, dress them up, do their hair and act out a story that had been brewing in my head, but I could only do this after all my homework and chores were done. Even if all I wanted to do when I came home from school was get out my ‘Magic Moves’ Barbie doll and pretend that she was traveling to Paris for a modeling shoot, I had to work first and play later –Mom’s rules.
Recently, I realized that Mom’s rules are still ingrained in my brain and for me writing my novel is the adult equivalent of playing ‘Barbies’. I’ve been writing my novel in my head for years. While I’m running, vacuuming, showering or falling asleep, I pull out my main character, dress her up and act out scenes with her. But making time to sit down and write out the scenes has been a struggle because I keep thinking – work now and play later.
There’s just always something more important to do than write my book because writing my book is fun! I feel guilty spending time on my novel when there are chores to be done –Mom’s rules.
Only, wait. I’m the Mom now and I can change the rules. It’s okay to write my book if the laundry isn’t done and the floor needs mopped. I’m an adult now and my characters are real in a way that my Barbies weren’t. My characters can speak and other people can hear them; if I stop thinking of writing as just playing around. My characters have free will and a life of their own. Even if I know exactly what I want my main character to say in a certain scene, she sometimes defies me and says something out of the blue, which fits the scene better. It’s kind of spooky the way she does it.
I don’t want to take the fun out of writing by labeling it ‘work’ but I don’t want to keep shoving it aside as ‘play’. There’s got to be a happy medium; l just need to find it. Until I do, this Mom is making a new rule: write now, work later, and don’t forget to play whenever possible.