I apologize for the lack of a post last week, but I was visiting beautiful San Diego, California. It was a work thing for my day J.O.B., which means I was stuck inside most of the day. But since Daylight Savings Time was in effect, I had two hours of sunshine to enjoy after each day’s activities. I’m not one of those that goes to the after-conference gatherings to drink and socialize. I’m much happier going out and taking a walk, sitting and enjoying the scenery or people-watching (doesn’t every author engage in people watching?), and decompressing for the day with a good book.
Something about traveling for my job, not only do I get to learn new things and network with colleagues from all over the country, but I get a lot of “thinking” time. And thinking time can usually mean working on my novel in my head.
And I did a lot of that last week. As I struggle with making my characters real, and building a story that gives those characters something to do, that thinking time is exactly what I need. When I’m home, there is laundry, meals to be cooked, the television is blaring in the other room, my daughter may be (badly) practicing her flute. There are phone calls to make, bills to pay, floors to mop, gardens to weed… One would think I could do some thinking while folding a load of warm towels fresh from the dryer, but apparently not. I’m usually thinking about the next chore that needs to be done.
Away from home, my only concern is where I’m going to have dinner that night, and what time I should go to bed in order to be up at a reasonable hour the next morning for my next session. No cleaning, no bed-making, no meal preparation. Easy-peasy.
So my brain wanders off a lot. What if the purposely distanced father decides he wants to have more to do with the daughter he abandoned all those years ago? What if my artist heroine shows her obsession with the hero, the guy she has known most of her life, by putting his face in every mural she paints around town? And that hero, a butcher, but also a musician, what would happen if he could hear the ghost that the heroine hears? How would he react, and what would he do about it? And could he give up his learned career to make music instead?
Plenty of puzzle pieces there to work with. But with thinking time, those puzzle pieces are slowly falling into place. Not forced, but by shaking everything out and seeing where it lands. The puzzle pieces that don’t fit are slowly being discarded into the bag of Ideas For Another Novel. As the puzzle pieces fall into place, a path becomes clear for me to write that story.
If you’re a working mom, how do you find your “thinking time?” Do you fight with your puzzle pieces the way I do? Tell me about it in the comments!
Oh, and just for your amusement…apparently this week one of the boats on the San Diego Pier lost control and crashed. I’m posting a video of it below. This is the same place I was last week, and one of the boats in the background of the video (the Cabrille that you can see just to the right as the Hornblower is coming in fast) is the ferry boat I would take between the mainland and Coronado Island during the week. Kinda scary stuff!