Saturday, February 8, 2020

Do We Have to Choose Between Our Real Life and Our Writing Life?


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

My husband Rob proofreads all my blog posts. 

My husband is a family physician, not a writer. But through the years, he’s gotten quite good at being another pair of eyes for me. He catches typos, missing words, misspellings, and also lets me know if a sentence or paragraph doesn’t make sense. 

The guy’s a good editor. 

Interesting fact about my January blog: Rob disagreed with one sentence in my post, which was titled “Writers, Sometimes We Just Need to Admit We Can’t Do It All.” We talked about what I’d written and I left the sentence in. But I decided to turn our conversation into this month’s post.

Last month, I talked about how I had to cancel a speaking engagement because one of my daughters ended up in the hospital after having emergency surgery.

What sentence did Rob disagree with?

“The demands of my real life eclipsed my writing life.”

Here’s how my husband explained his point of contention to me: “Your writing life is part of your real life. It’s a different part—but you don’t have to always separate the two. You’re seeing things in real life to put into your writing.”

I’ve thought a lot about his words since then and realized my husband is right. 

Writers, why are we so quick to separate our “real” life—family, friends, our “other” jobs—from our writing life? In doing so, we act as if the two can’t coexist together, as if they are oil and water, never quite able to blend together. 

Rob helped me realize it’s unnecessary to separate my “real” life from my “writing” life. Even more, it’s a false distinction. 

I’m a woman. A wife. A mom. A friend. A writer. And each of these aspects of my life blend together—there are no lines separating one part of my life from the others. Sometimes the mixing is easy. And yes, sometimes it feels like the circumstances of my life are poured into a Vitamix blender with all the switches on HIGH. 

But that’s just how life goes, right? Competing demands. Competing values—and yes, we weave that tension into our novels, don’t we? 

From here on out, I’m keeping life real—all of it. There’s no separating of “real” life and “writing” life for me. My real life includes my writing life and my writing life is influenced by my real life, day in and day out. 

Care to join me in abandoning the separation between our writing lives and our real lives? What kind of difference would it make for you?

TWEETABLE

Award-winning author Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, Beth's first women's fiction novel with Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018. Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters Series, releases May 2019. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at bethvogt.com.

5 comments:

  1. Very true. Our "real life" is what we write from, always. Everything is a potential illustration. Important things God is teaching us show up as blog posts and devotional articles. I guess the answer is balance. Embracing it all, but walking the line of doing what we were created to do and what happens to us carefully. When I neglect one or the other, the other suffers. Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Beth!

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    1. Julie: Your blog posts and devotional articles are a beautiful example of writing from your real life -- and that's why readers relate to your words. And yes, balancing it all is challenging. I think we make life more difficult for ourselves when we build this imaginary dividing line between our "real" life and our writing life, rather than acknowledging the ebb and flow between two.

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  2. I think writers separate real life and writing life because so much of our writing life is done alone. It feels different from "real" life. I also think it's healthy to remind myself that as much as I come to care for my characters, they aren't the same as real people.

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  3. Thanks for the reminder, Beth. I like the idea that I don't have to keep the two separate! Just another hat that I wear, along with many others!!

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  4. Your husband's thoughts were very insightful and help us all realize writing is one facet of our lives. Thank you.

    I'm a part of Colorado Springs ACFW and though we were all sorry to miss your presentation, we sure understood and have been praying for you and your daughter.

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