I Really Should Stay Home and Write!

“I really should stay home and write.” I utter these words time and time again when my husband takes my children to the local baseball stadium, the movies, or the mall. I’m always looking to carve out some alone time so I can sit at my computer, uninterrupted, and actually finish a thought. As a result, I miss out on doing some fun things.

Today (Sunday) my family was in charge of lunch preparation at The Lunch Box, a local facility that provides free meals to the poor and homeless of the area. I took the lead, making phone calls and sending e-mails to obtain the necessary food donations and kitchen help. My children love volunteering at The Lunch Box. I routinely donate food but to date have never worked a meal.

As of last night everything was confirmed. I coordinated a good crew, didn’t really need to go. The house would be quiet from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. “I really should stay home and write.”

But no. Not today. Today I wanted to join my family in a volunteer project that means a great deal to us. I wanted to show up, be present, and help. And I did. I lost a chunk of valuable writing time, but I gained togetherness with my family and a feeling I did a small part to make the day better for someone less fortunate.

As writers we need to be careful not to get so caught up in our characters’ lives that we forget to live our own.

What pulls you from the computer when you really should stay home and write? And what are you willing to forgo for a few extra hours at the keyboard?

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19 Comments

  • Jen
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    What a cute blog! Must have Romance… oh yeah, definitely sticking around! So I suppose I'd be a new follower now!

    I had no idea that The Lunch Box was for the poor and homeless area, I'm definitely looking into this. I love that your children are so into it and how special for you to go!!!

    I have to say I'm learning to stay home when my husband has his night out with the boys. I've been distant with my friends, but they understand. Writing right now is more important.


  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

    Welcome, Jen! Great to have you as a new follower! The Lunch Box is the name of one of our local (here in NY) lunch sites for the poor. Not sure what they'd be called in your area but it's worthwhile to investigate!


  • Taryn Kincaid
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    Nice.

    Today, Labor Day, not doing nuttin'


  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Hey Taryn!
    I must have been posting on your blog at the same time you were posting on mine! And you are not doing nuttin'….you have what…something like ten books you're in various stages of reading?


  • Regina Richards
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    I always tell myself that participating in various activities is "writing" in the sense that I'm out in the world gathering images of places, people, events, etc to draw on when I do sit down at the keyboard. That's my story anyway, and I'm stickin' to it.

    The Lunchbox sounds like a great endeavor!


  • Shelley Sly
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    This is an excellent reminder! In my life, I used to worry about getting too caught up in a day job and not having time to write. Lately I've been letting that go and just started working a busy but very rewarding job. I'll make the time to write; right now, I feel great working hard at my other job.


  • Christine
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

    I think it is important to spend time doing things with my family and friends. It feeds my soul. I'm so glad you got to do a worthwhile thing with your family. Those hours might translate into another story idea later on.

    I love the LUNCHBOX endeavor, too!


  • abbi
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Wendy,

    I would've gone with my family as well. My goal is to be published, but not at cost of my family.

    BTW, you have great blog posts. You need to be my blog post consultant.

    Abbi 🙂


  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    Hi Regina!
    So true! Your post about your visit for a haircut (by a potentially intoxicated hairstylist) was a hoot!

    Hi Shelley!
    Good luck with the new job. Hard work, no matter what you're doing, is its own reward. (Does that sound like something you'd read in a fortune cookie?)

    Hi Christine!
    Seems like you and Regina have the same idea. Great minds and all!!!

    Hi Abbi!
    Thanks! I hope they keep you coming back. And feel free to expand on any of them on your own blog. Just link back to me. (Which you're very good about!)


  • jenniferprobst
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:05 PM | Permalink

    HI Wendy,
    I can relate to this post – it is like you are living my life! I told my husband to take the boys to the park today so I can work a bit, but the weather was beautiful and the park was calling so we all went together. I don't regret a second – you did the right thing by going. I am so impressed by exposing your family to such a wonderful cause. You are a great mom.
    My motto in life is balance. Feed the soul – sometimes it is the work, sometimes it is the family, and sometimes it is just alone time.


  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Jen!
    I've spent my life always putting my family first. Sometimes writing seems like a guilty pleasure. But I'm determined to turn it into something more. Whether I have to do it after 10:00 p.m., before 7:00 a.m., or during a professional baseball game I didn't want to see anyway. But no matter what, I will always attend my childrens' soccer games, volunteer at their schools, and be there when they really need me!


  • Jen FitzGerald
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    Yep…spent Saturday afternoon/evening at Dallas Cowboys Stadium volunteering on behalf of my son's band booster. I would have much rather told the band teacher, "sorry, no". The house was empty that afternoon as everyone else was gone as well. But for the boy and his high school band experience, I gave up precious writing time.

    I am up every weekday morning at 5 to get in the quiet time that is mine and mine alone. On weekends I sleep till 6. Yesterday, (Labor Day), said boy was up at 7 infringing on my quiet time, but he's a high schooler now and I know those moments he wants to snuggle and talk to me will grow fewer and farther between, so I gladly put the laptop aside until he was ready to move on with his day.


  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    Hi Jen!
    Enjoy the snuggling while you can. Now that my son (now 16) has Xbox and a laptop in his room, we hardly see him!


  • Jen FitzGerald
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    Ah, well, xBox stays in the living room at our house. We all use it. And as of yet he does not have his own laptop (or cell phone).

    And I do and will enjoy the snuggling!


  • charmainegordon author
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

    Chelle Cordero sent this to the Vanilla Heart gang and I'm sending it along to you.

    "L'Shana Tova Tikatevu Vetechatemu Le'Altar Lechayim Tovim ul'Shalom"
    (May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year, for a good life and for peace) – Happy New Year.


  • JL Walters
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    My thing when I neglect my writing is always family. Children and grandchildren.


  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:39 PM | Permalink

    Hi Jen!
    Hold off as long as you can!

    Hi Charmaine!
    Thank you!

    Hi Janet!
    Family must always come first.


  • Hello. My name is Elizabeth.
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    Hi, Wendy!

    I think it's great that you're volunteering your time to help others less fortunate. One of the best things you can do for your writing is keep your sanity, and that entails not letting your life revolve around writing.

    (P.S., I found your blog while checking out Heartbeat RWA. I joined last week. 😉


  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 2:57 AM | Permalink

    Welcome, Elizabeth! (To my blog and Heartbeat RWA) Both (in my opinion) are great places to visit!


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