Monday, August 23, 2010

When Sarfaris Come Calling

When a writer has a sister who’s decided to become a professional fine art photographer, life changes drastically. Especially when said photographer and writer live in the same household.

Welcome to my world. 

I, as the writer, have entered into a new and mostly exciting chapter of a new writing career. You see, I tend to go with my sister on photo safari each time that camera comes out of its tidy black carrying case.

Yes, that’s right! I’ve become the photographer’s sidekick. And it’s a position at which I’m very good. I know you’re going to ask, “What’s wrong with that?” accompanied by a puzzled expression and thoughts of stupidity on my part.

Heavens, please get those thoughts out of your head. I have absolutely no problem with that scenario. I thoroughly enjoy being that sidekick. As a writer it opens up all types of new genres for me from travel writing to nature pieces to commercial work. It allows us to work on pieces together with me doing text and her doing photos.   

Anything which broadens a writer’s scope and experience base is usually a good thing. I have no complaints on that score at all.

The only complaints I have are directed squarely at myself. The problem is that I tend to get lots of ideas for stories and articles on any given day and there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to write them all down, much less work on any one of them. Add new ones generated by photo shoots and I have mayhem of the brain and then some.

Now, I can’t read, type, or research fast enough. I thought I had a problem with that before this. Yet, I can’t keep my mind from wandering onto other threads of ideas while trying desperately to work out what I’m working on that moment. I can’t keep any kind of schedule taut enough to get done everything I really would like to do. Flashes of scenes recently viewed while out on the shoot overshadow those projects I’m revising, outlining, or devising.

You see the dilemma. I either have to get very creative with scheduling or get very fast with thinking, writing, and subbing those pieces I’ve written. Which shall I choose?

Should I give up those little adventures into the outside world, which--with the exception of trips to the grocery--are the only semi-regular outings I have. After all, writers do live a mostly solitary life, even when in a house full of people. Okay, one sister doesn’t constitute a houseful, but you understand my meaning.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that I’m one of the individuals who thinks that I should be able to get anything done to perfection on that first try and do it faster than anyone else. Having grown up under the watchful eyes of perfectionists, I learned early that doing things thusly made for a calmer life all around.

I’ve taken the time to decide which arenas of writing I want to spend most of my time in, whether as the gladiator or the spectator. That was a major step since I like working in so many arenas each day. It just isn’t practical, though. It’s like trying to split an orange into 25 segments when only 8-10 came in that convenient skin package.

On top of everything else, I have difficulty just saying “NO” to all of those marvelously attractive opportunities for contests--even drawings for free books, learning new techniques for working with your blog(s), or having a new free newsletter sent to your inbox every week/month, etc. How can any writer say “NO” to all that?

I know that I have to prioritize my reading selections for each week so that most of my time is used for writing, but… (sigh) there’s so much good stuff out there to read.

Oh, well, back to the priority lists. Priority Reading list--sites/blogs/mags/… Priority writing projects--projects for submission, daily AC article for submission/book manuscripts final work to go to agents, creative nf pieces (kids) final revision, creative nf final revision(adults), short stories (kids) final revisions, poetry for online sites, etc.

There you have it. My week in condensed form. If you look closely, I haven’t scheduled any meals or sleep. Food makes me fat and I hallucinate much more effectively without sleep, which is better for story writing. Potty breaks happen when necessary and don’t get scheduled.

The photo shoots? Sis is gone on one this week with someone else. I get to work this week. I couldn’t go out to play. Too many commitments. I wasn’t even asked to go. She knows what kind of projects are sitting on my desk.

I’m trying hard not to whine. Can't you tell? I’m actually looking forward to getting some writing done today. Sometime. If I could just get my printer to cooperate, things could go much more smoothly. I just know that my phone’s speed dial will be necessary for the Geek Squad before the afternoon’s over. I have two programs that fight over defaults. Another priority has come to the foreground.

Until later, dear friend, duck when you need to, roll over and play dead when the monsters attack, and don’t stop to ask permission if you get a chance to run.

In case anyone wants to see what sis does with that camera of hers, visit: Her galleries are there with companion pics like the ones here..