One Writer's Motivation
By Jim Driesen

"Dad," said the small voice behind me. "Could you watch Simpson's with me?"

My 9-year-old knows not to interrupt me when I'm in my office, but he has his priorities. I not only write here, I'm self-employed and run a business, squeezed in between umping at Pony League games, Cub Scout meetings, school events and other assorted distractions. The business side of the ten-by-ten cell I call my office, heaped with papers and files and general disorder, is the income without a soul. The writing side is the soul without the income. Combined, it's a life.

The writing books advise setting aside a specific time of day to write. It doesn't happen. Life just keeps getting in the way. The dog barking at a delivery truck, the unexpected client phone call, the pipe bursting in the laundry room, kids in general. Yet without all these distractions, what would I have to write about? Everything is fodder for the story. The story about being team umpire in t-ball won recognition at a writer's conference. The one about his 6th birthday party disaster made it into the Times. The one saying farewell to an old friend who died too soon found it's way into a literary journal. A difficult client wound up in a story in a trade journal. Life is what writing is all about. When do I do it? In and around all the rest. Before sunrise sometimes, during lunch others. Quite often in the middle of the night. I have the same 24 hours a day everyone else has. I just live it in a mish-mash of five-minute increments. A sort of life chaos. It looks like my office. But I have my priorities.

"I'll be right up," I say. Time to watch Homer.

© 1999, Jim Driesen, All Rights Reserved

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