Monday, September 21, 2009

Starving artists and other lunatics

As I sit at my desk and survey the wreckage that is my writing studio (formerly known as my living room) I realize I have not really done any housework in weeks. Trust me, if you saw my house you would say "Just weeks?" By the way, you obsessively clean Suzie Homemaker types really get on my nerves, but I digress. But if someone were to ask me why my cats are afraid to go under the couch for fear that large dust bunny in the corner is actually alive, I would proudly say "Well, I am suffering for my art." (To which that person would reply "bull***" disguised as a cough. I have interesting friends.)

But, hey, isn't that what we artistic types - writers, painters, musicians, poets - are supposed to do? We're supposed to make sacrifices for our art. True, I'm not lying on my back painting the Sistine Chapel, nor am I starving in some Parisian apartment, but trust me, if my Mom came to visit and saw this house I WOULD pull a Van Gogh and cut off my ear, both of them in fact. Not that it would help. That woman has a voice that when she is in full cry makes drill sergeants wet themselves.

I'm trying to finish my third book this week. It is already later than I told my agent it would be finished. So, I am giving up sleep, any and all social activities, internet time (not all of it, I'm no fanatic, yet!)shaving my legs, cleaning my house, reading and pretty much anything that isn't writing. Wouldn't mind giving up my day job to write, but at this point it does pay for little luxuries like food and living indoors. Many of you have seen me. Do I LOOK like I would give up food? Didn't think so.

So, my question is, what are you sacrificing for your art? Do you sometimes resent it or are you like me - my WORST day writing beats my best day at just about anything else. So, anybody willing to lop off body parts, go days without sleep, come over here and kill that big dust bunny before my cat has a nervous breakdown?


Callie James said...

I'm with you on the house cleaning, Louisa. I don't even cook much anymore (which I dearly love). In fact, I write so much these days I have check-ins with my husband to make sure we're still doing okay.

What the heck? And I write romance?

Good luck finishing that book, missy!

Carla Swafford said...

I've read about how important for writers to get up and exercise. That sitting for hours while writing can damage your health. I believe it. I've experienced it.

Since I cannot stop writing - have too much to tell - I bought myself a treadmill and set up a schedule. No. I'm not consistent yet, but I'm getting there.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Louisa, I was bad about housework before I started writing. At least now, I have an excuse!

Anything that interferes with my writing time gets pushed off until absolutely mandatory. Except workouts, Carla. That's the one thing I have to do for my own sanity. ;-)

Good luck with the deadlines!

Jeanie said...

I rarely watch television anymore, and since I've immersed myself in trying to finish this blankety blank book, I don't read as voraciously as I used to. Housework? Recently, things got so bad my HUSBAND cleaned the toilet! Believe me, that's one of the seven signs, or something. My yard is nearly as unkempt as my house.

I, like you, would rather write than do almost anything else. Sometimes it's frustrating and makes me want to pull my hair out, but I love, love, LOVE it!

Ignore the dust bunny. You will finish that book.

M.V.Freeman said...

Too funny Louisa, and TRUE.

I've also given up on regular housework (Just enough to prevent the dustbunny highrises).

I watch exactly 2 shows on T.V. and they are on Mondays (House and Castle)

I have given up most of my social contacts, and I rarely read.

Sometimes I even give up sleep.

Like you, I can't give up the day job and that just sucks up too much time, oh well.

And Congrats to you Carla! I encourage you in the exercise. :)

Ah the things we do for our writing. :)

Christine said...

Before I wrote, I scrapbooked and volunteered at church (don't laugh, but I was a church lady--sang in choir and led bible studies, too--at one point I even put Christian images to music for the contemporary worship service). Fast forward: I rarely plug into school stuff --just enough to help my daughter look good. I attend church to prevent the Mormons from converting my DD, and I only use my scrapbooking supplies for little this's and thats... now.... that being said, I do like order. I must organize my world and have a haven of tranquility. That means keeping up with the overall cleaning, but that doesn't mean I need to keep clean toilets or that I love laundry (only clean clothes).

I have a bit of the Martha Stewart and Barefoot Contessa floating through my veins. Cooking is my stress reliever... but not when I have a deadline (albeit self-imposed but good to practice eh).

Now you've met me: I like my hair done and my make up done... modeling in a former life, and my DH's dear grandma's adage: one never knows who will show up rings in my head. But when I am in full on writing -- well I am not a sight to behold. hehe...

Exercise is not skipped--I must move to prevent muscle pain and supreme flu like aches on a regular basis. Chronic pain is my thorn... writing and moving is my panacea.