Monday, June 1, 2009

Every Word Counts

I have two sons, under two. James, who is seven weeks old and Luke, who is 18 months old. Last week, while I was changing James’ nappy, Luke started screaming in the bathroom. I quickly slapped together James’ nappy, picked him up and raced into the bathroom to see what hell Luke was raising there. He was standing beside the bath tub. As soon as he saw me he stopped crying and pointed to the source of the problem. There was a rather bruised looking apple sitting on top of the plug hole. It was clear that he had been trying to push it down the drain.
“Luke,” I said tiredly. “You don’t push apples down the plug hole.”
He shook his head and pointed again.
“It’s not going to fit Luke.”
But again he squawked and pointed imperiously at the apple as if to say. “Yes it will. You do it.”
“I’m not going to push that apple down the hole.” I replied.
At which point he screamed in outrage. James seeing that my full attention had been stolen from him for twenty seconds also began to cry, swatting at my cheeks with his little fists. I bent and picked up the mangled apple. Luke followed me to the kitchen screaming at the top of his lungs the whole way.
“How about we eat an apple?” I suggested. “Not this one.” I tossed it in the bin. “But this beautiful, shiny, red juicy one with no bruises.” I picked up another apple out of the fruit bowl.
Like clouds parting to let in a ray of sunshine, Luke’s screwed up little face cleared and his lips stretched into an answering smile. Even James seemed somewhat pacified because he started sucking on his fist rather than swatting me with it. I placed the apple on the counter and put James down in his bassinet- which by lucky chance I had wheeled into the kitchen only thirty minutes earlier. Then I skinned the apple and cut it into quarters.
“Yum, yum.” I murmured encouragingly as Luke stood back watching me with rapt attention. His little neck bent back as far as it could go so he could make out what I was doing. He held up his hands and said, ”Dis.” Which I have learnt means, “Give it to me.”
“In a minute. in a minute.” I cut the apple into eighths, took a piece, knelt down and held it to his lips. In the blink of an eye, he whipped his head away, snatched the apple out of my hand and ran off full kilter back to the bathroom. His chubby little legs were barely able to keep up with the pace he had set. I sighed, realising that at last he had found a piece of apple that he would be able to push down the drain.
So what is the moral of this story and what does it have to do with my life as a writer. Well, I guess, I can some it up in two words. “Persistence pays.”
Writing takes patience, hard work and determination. You need a thick skin and the ability to get creative and I don’t mean just with words. I’ve had many different goals throughout my writing career, each one a challenge in itself. Finishing the manuscript, improving my craft, getting published, staying published, researching a setting.
At the moment it’s all about time management. It’s a struggle to manage motherhood and fit in writing as well. My goal is to write for fifteen minutes every day. Doesn’t seem like a very big goal but some days I barely achieve it, especially if my boys have anything to say about it.
But as my son, has demonstrated...
Persistence pays... and every word counts.


Elisabeth Rose said...

LOL Loretta. They're such gorgeous tiny tyrants at that age. I wonder what was going on in his little head.

There's no way I could have written a book at the stage you're in now. Fifteen minutes a day would have been absolutely impossible.

Beate Boeker said...

Great post, Loretta! I loved the way you described your boys and am impressed by the things you manage to do. When my girl was small, my best achievement was to go downstairs and look into the mailbox. Whenever I managed to do that, I had a successful day.
Yes, persistence . . . sometimes it's hard to stick to it, but life as a writer is all about waves - up and down all the time!

Carol Hutchens said...

Cute little boys! Wonderful advice, Loretta. Thank you!

Debby Mayne said...

Persistence is definitely the key to success as a writer! Excellent post, Loretta!

Christine Bush said...

How cute is that? He found a way to meet his goal. It brings to mind the old silly saying, "There's more than one way to skin a cat.." (yuk? How did that saying come to be?)Though it sure might not be a good idea to introduce him to THAT analogy!

Thanks for your post.

Here in Pennsylvania, I'm giggling about the word nappies..we call them diapers, pampers, pullups..I love hearing the differences.

Anonymous said...

Cute story and wise words Loretta.
All the best for the coming release of your book.