Wednesday, November 15, 2017

To Scrimshank, Perchance to Write

Engin Akyurt via Pixabay
As I write this, I'm supposed to be at my critique group meeting. Instead, I'm sitting on the sofa in my family room in my pajamas (yes, it's 7 pm -- thank you for not judging), wending my way through my to-do list, which includes this post. The length of my to-do list, coupled with a touch of a bug last night has made staying home and crossing things off my list the responsible thing to do.

Still, as I dropped by to check the definition of a word, I wondered if it was a coincidence that the word of the day was scrimshank ("to avoid one's obligations or share of work; shirk").

Am I scrimshanking?

If I felt better, I'd say it was a good possibility. But, since crackers have been my main source of nourishment for the past twenty-four hours, I'm opting to cut myself some slack.

I don't like missing critique group meetings. Not only do I like the people in my group, but they've also been invaluable in helping me to shape my stories, tighten my prose and generally improve my writing. Every serious writer should have a critique group or critique partner -- a fellow writer, or a group of them willing to provide the constructive feedback necessary to take work to the next level. But critique groups, being a two-way street, take time and dedication.

According to my publisher and others in the know, every writer should also have an active social media presence. A blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account...places where he or she is visible to readers and potential readers. I have these things and I enjoy them much of the time...but they take time and dedication.

And writers should also write, of course, because without this necessary piece, we aren't writers. We're readers, starers, workers, parents, spouses, neighbors and a host of other things, but if we're not writing, we can't call ourselves writers, no matter how many social media accounts we have and no matter how many critique group meetings we attend. And writing? Well, it takes even more time and dedication than critique groups and social media accounts.

Jill111 via Pixabay
Lately, my writing has been getting edged out by other obligations, all of which hold some value to me. This, along with the sense of frustration that arises from never getting to the bottom of a to-do list has set me on a quest to claim time. This is, unfortunately, harder than it sounds.

Nevertheless, I persist. The goal is too important to give up on. I can't be a writer if I don't make time to write.

Even if it, unfortunately, means doing a little scrimshanking along the way.

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