Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Not How You Feel that Matters by Laurie Alice Eakes

Laurie Alice Eakes
Writing has nothing to do with how you feel. When I see people talking about having to be in the right mood, having the exact music or silence or pile of dark chocolate M&Ms to write, I shake my head and smile. I was there once, too. Since those days, I have written in the back of a car on a cross-country move from Virginia, to Texas, while my father-in-law and husband played singer-song-writer music in the front of the SUV. I have written in a hotel suite while waiting for my home to be ready for moving in, and I have written in the middle of a sea of boxes I couldn’t even find my keyboard and the desk hadn’t arrived yet, because I had no choice—deadlines don’t care if you have the right conditions to suit your muse.

In the past fifteen months, despite two moves—one of 240 miles and another over 300 miles, getting to know a new city, and having to pack and unpack twice, I have written a novella and three books. Now I have more deadlines and a new distraction. . .

Two weeks ago today, my mother went home to Jesus. Even writing that closes up my throat and brings tears to my eyes. We didn’t always get along. Mom raised me to be a strong and independent woman because she was a strong and independent woman. That is a combination that creates clashes. Yet despite those clashes, two things about her always shone like beacons to me: She prayed for me every day and she was one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known.

Though she had only lived in her tiny town in Virginia for two years, eighty families showed up for her memorial service she made such an impact on their lives in that short period of time. She was smart and talented and, despite the cancer that took her life, gave generously to others until she grew too weak.

That wasn’t because her life was so easy. She suffered many tragedies from being a single mom with two blind daughters, to the deaths of her own parents, to the death of my stepfather, and many things in-between. Yet she kept going, got herself out of bed, went to work, baked a batch of cupcakes for a grieving family, worked harder so I could graduate from college without debt, and, I learned at her memorial, performed myriad tasks for her neighbors and others she never mentioned to anyone. She has left a huge hole in the world, and most definitely in my life, but my writing schedule has no holes in it.

On the contrary, my writing schedule at the moment is bulging with tasks big and small that have deadlines attached to them, and I am not in the mood to write, to be creative, to keep my mouth shut when I think an editor is out of line in a comment. I don’t want to tweet and Facebook or perform all those marketing responsibilities despite a book releasing this week. I want to curl up with an afghan, hot cocoa, and a good book to push the sadness out of my heart. I cannot write about people being happy and madly in love.

Yet I must. My deadlines and career cannot suffer because my heart, my world, has had a meat cleaver taken to it. Writing, if we want to be a professional author, is not connected to how we feel. Writing is sitting down at our work station, whether that is an antique desk in an office with a fabulous view, or a corner of the kitchen table amongst dirty dishes and another meal needing to be made. Being a professional writer is writing when the muse, the mood, and everything else that inspires us has disappeared like morning mist and we want to seek out the largest carton of Haagen-Dazs we can find and eat it instead. We don’t make excuses for being late on deadlines because we aren’t late on deadlines.

That seems to take the romance out of the profession. It seems businesslike and calculated. Here’s a difficult truth: Writing to deadline, or even writing with the eye to selling, isn’t romantic. It’s hard work. It’s dedication and commitment and determination not to let down the one who called us to write.

That afghan and good book have now been augmented by a cat, an additional temptation to give up and check out of the real world for a while, and my computer reminds me that I have work to finish today. I remind myself that my mother didn’t give up and take the easy road when she found herself single the first, nor the second time in her life. To honor her determination to be a woman serving with the gifts the Lord gave her gives me the strength to meet my deadlines without a complaint.

Click to Tweet
It's not how you feel that matters. Click to Tweet
My deadlines can't suffer because my heart has been cut in two.  Click to Tweet
The Lord gives me the strength to meet my deadlines. Click to Tweet
Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic times of  bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author. To date, she has sixteen books in print with five more under contract for release over the next two years. Eight of her books have been published in large print editions, one as a Crossings Bookclub hardcover edition, and one book has been put into Braille.

A graduate of Asbury University with a degree in English and French, and Seton Hill University, with a masters degree in Writing Popular Fiction, she also writes articles in writers publications, teaches writing workshops, and gives inspirational talks.

The Professor's Heart
by Laurie Alice Eakes
She lives in Texas with her husband, dogs, and cats. She enjoys long walks, all too rare rainy days, and knitting—rather badly—while watching movies or listening to music.
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurieAEakes
Read excerpts from her books at: http://www.lauriealiceeakes.com

The Professor's Heart
Mia Roper has what she always wanted, independence, career and a home back East. But when a train wreck strands her in Hillsdale, Michigan, the town she once called home, Mia begins to wonder if she made the right choice to leave Hillsdale—and her true love—behind. Rescuing injured passengers, Professor Ayden Goswell can't believe his eyes. Could that really be Mia, the woman who once owned his heart, emerging from the wreckage? Long ago, Mia and Ayden chose their careers over love. But God, it seems, may have other plans for them ...

9 comments:

  1. Laurie Alice, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. You're so right. Many people think writing is romantic and easy; that we just sit in a chair and write, and the story magically appears on a page. Writing requires self-discipline and grit, especially when your world feels like it's crumbling around you. Rejoice in the sweet memories of your mother, and congrats on The Professor's Heart. It looks great!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My heart goes out to you during this time of mourning. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman. Thank you, too, for shedding light on the truth about writing. Bless you this Christmas season!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you, ladies, for your kind words.I knew losing Mom would be hard, and this is worse than I imagined it would be, though I take comfort in knowing all is well with her soul.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lauire Alice, you have my heart, hugs, and prayers at such a terrible loss. I always like to think that losing somebody this time of year means another lovely voice in the Heavenly Choir in Christmas eve. And congrats on The Professor's Heart. What a glorious cover and intriguing excerpt! May God hold you closer than ever these days.god hol

    ReplyDelete
  5. Laurie Alice, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. it sounds like she was a wonderful, caring, and inspiring woman.

    Thanks for the kick in the "bottom" today. I needed it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm so sorry about your mom, Laurie Alice. It's hard to lose family.

    I enjoyed your article and the reminder of the reality of the writing life.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tanya, that's a great way to think about it. I've lost friends and family around this time and it's always so hard to get in the "Christmas spirit." I have to start my Advent devotions earlier each year so that I'm in the right frame of mind for Christmas.

    Dawn, this post kicked me in the patootie, too! :)

    Sandy, I know that you know what it's like to lose family. Laurie Alice's post really hit home, didn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A bit, Angie. It would be especially difficult having a deadline to work through at the time.

      Delete
  8. Sandra, I am so sorry about your brother. That must have been rough for you.

    Writing despite life isn't easy. I am fighting with myself every day. And I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing right now.

    And, yes, Mom always had a beautiful singing voice on this earth. How stunning it must be in that heavenly choir.

    ReplyDelete

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!