I am writing.
No, not writing. I am jamming (writer’s style).
I have my notes, I have my laptop, I have my coffee. There is an electric blanket in my lap (which allows me to stay cozy enough to create) and a cracked window beside me providing a constant cool breeze (that will keep me awake enough to actually get work done).
I am in the zone. I am three thousand words in, and tapping away at my keyboard…
My main character is about to stumble across a major plot point, forcing them to overcome an emotional trauma which echoes the overall message of my story…
And my alarm goes off.
It’s time to get back to my day job.
And then pick up my daughter.
Or possibly already unload the dishwasher.
And then take out the dog.
And I will growl and grumble to myself and get on with my day to day life.
Which I love.
And this, to me, is the writer’s struggle.
Or at least, my struggle- perhaps you can relate?
I am a very social, active person who loves people, loves my family, and who doesn’t want to miss a single minute of anything real.
I am a person with responsibilities— work and children and animals and friends who rely on me and an extremely temperamental stove top with a dial that only works correctly if I (and only I) hold it in just the right position.
I am also a person who wants to explore the world— I want to climb trails and hike mountains and swim in the ocean and see the night sky and jump with my friends from a hot tub into the freezing snow and then back again (I am an Alaskan after all).
I am also a writer and a storyteller— a person with eleven novels outlined and another knocking at my heart every other week; stories that have gotten tired living in my mind and are ready to be put on the page.
And there are weeks where I am only too happy to sit and swim in this part of me until I’ve found all the best bits to bring back to the shore of my computer screen and unscramble them into something readable, something relatable, something enjoyable— and maybe (with a little love and a lot of work) something inspiring.
I call it my inner world, and if you are a writer I’m sure you have one too.
So, as you can imagine (or have experienced yourself) living is a bittersweet game of alternation; a tearing of my soul as I jump from life to life.
There there are days I don’t want to write, forget to write, am sick at the very thought of writing.
And then there are days where all I want is the for the whole world to go away; days where all I want is to find a solitary place of refuge where I can store my body and let my mind wander back to my story (staying only connected to my physical form in order to make my fingers punch the appropriate keys).
Because while I love to live in the real world, I know that a piece of my heart and soul lives much more fully in my inner world— and that this inner life is as equally real and as equally important to me as my outer life.
Then again, what makes this inner world all the more special is that though right now it is mostly all mine (only occasionally visited by friends, family, and some truly amazing beta readers) there is the knowledge that one day these characters and places and stories of mine will be shared with others; that what is solitary will one day not be so at all, and that it will be filled and shared and experienced by the world and people I am so grateful to live amongst.
Which is why when I am found in my writing corner, hunched over my laptop and clicking away, about half the time I will cry out, “five more minutes!” (which my family knows me well enough at this point to know really means I might see you for dinner) and the other half of the time I will rise and rejoin the world.
And I will be happy to be there. Or at least strive to be.
Because while I may not get to choose when I live in each world, I at least have them both— and live all the more for these multiple worlds I imagine and create.
So right now, despite pursuing my goal of 50,000 words for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I will finish this article, leave my nook, and head out to lunch with a friend.
No more writing today— I will intentionally spend the day away from my computer and with the rest of the world.
I hope to see you out there…
…and maybe hear how your own inner world is going.
Lindsay Belle (or LB) Sobolik is a writer and artist with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a professional background in non-profit work, video-game journalism, and commercial investing. When not writing or painting, Lindsay Belle is also a yoga teacher, Waldorf parent, and enthusiastic hiker/forager who lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband, daughter, enormous rescue dog, and tiny rescue cat.