This blog post was inspired by Vaughn Roycroft’s post What Building My House Taught Me About Writing.
In Vaughn’s post he said: “Writing a book is a big undertaking. Are there projects from your past that prepared you for your writing journey? Building our house was one of mine.”
For some odd, screwed-up reason, I thought of all the years I spent in Family Court, mostly at the behest of my screwed-up ex. You should have seen our file. Or rather, files. If I sneezed in the ex’s direction, he hauled me back into court.
And, yeah, I would say that my multi-year Family Court project prepared me for this writing life. Though none of my writing friends has pointed a shotgun in my face, smashed my 35mm camera with a hammer, or slashed my favorite dress with a razor blade. Not yet.
There were some wonderful people in Family Court. People that helped me. People that commiserated with me. People that held my hand while I cried on their shoulder. Writing is exactly like that when you have the awesome writing friends like I have.
Funny in a bad-sort-of-way people
I met a few funny people in Family Court. Mostly in the waiting areas. If you observe long enough (and if you are waiting to see a judge, you’ll wait a long time), you can discover who is glaring at what ex. And who should be approached with caution! Same goes for the writing life.
Some witnesses tell the most outrageous lies and literally made me laugh out loud. You really shouldn’t laugh in front of a judge. If you watch people and their campaigns on Facebook or Twitter and see what they post over and over, you know what I mean.
No matter what you do, there will be one person out to get you
You can be nice, give of yourself, and make sacrifices, and there is one special person who would prefer to eat you up and spit you out. Doesn’t matter what you do, there will be that “one person.”
People that fight for attention – nearly every post or tweet is about them, their book, their Fan Page! There are people who think self-promotion is the ticket to gather favor in the court (or in writing and publishing). But they are really just stroking their egos.
Mostly my ex, who lied to get what he wanted. But also a couple of his witnesses. Just like writing – a smattering of people are here for their own gain while the bulk of people are here for the good of the babies, our stories.
Struggle and giving it up for a friend
Every freaking little bit of Family Court was a struggle. You want the love seat, too? Then you’ll have to give up the coffee table. You want the birthday weekend? Then you’ll have to give up Thanksgiving weekend. If you see a friend in need, give it up and help out! You can get back to your own baby tomorrow.
The paperwork is endless
It’s writing letter after letter (blog after blog, query after query); social networking; saving critical blog posts for a rainy day; saving information on e-pubbing for the “I’m-ready-to-publish” day; developing meaningful relationships with people that are helpful and really believe you; waiting for good news or bad news to come in the mailbox.
Stories, Family Court has a million of them
Some stories go on and on when you would like to chop them to bits with a butcher knife. Or a machete. Yeah, a machete.
Thanks, Vaughn Roycroft, for the inspiration.
In the sixth grade, Vaughn’s teacher gave him a copy of The Hobbit, sparking a lifelong passion for reading and history. After college, life intervened. Vaughn spent twenty years building a successful business before his return to writing. Now he spends his days polishing his epic fantasy trilogy.
What arduous projects prepared you for the writing life? Did you expect the writing life to be so tough?
Photos, Photobucket – Reactionkc26, Ylva51, Byrdeth