Inkwell Guest: Christine Hughes and Time
Hey, all. Today I’m hosting Christine Hughes. She’s here to talk about making time to write. Stick around for an excerpt at the end of the post and don’t forget to say hi and let her know you were here. If you’re comment doesn’t post right away, fear not. I will moderate as soon as I can.
With one son in first grade and another home with me until September, it’s really difficult to find the time to write. Between making lunches, making time for my husband and the kids, shuffling back and forth between soccer and baseball, it’s all I can do to get myself a few minutes of quiet time to respond to the voices in my head.
Sometimes I’m able to wake up early and sneak in a couple of hours of writing before everyone starts to wake up. That doesn’t always work out, though. Then I’m stuck. It isn’t fair to neglect my five year old just so I can write all day. Giving him a huge bucket of Legos and asking him to make me a castle is good, just not every day. It’s days like those where I run out to Barnes & Noble when my husband gets home from work.
And every time I run out the door, with my laptop stuffed in my messenger bag, I feel guilty. Mostly because I like hanging out with my family. My boys, my husband – all super fun people. But if I don’t end this manuscript soon, I think I’ll go crazy. Not because I don’t like my characters – I love them –but because my mind is starting to fill with ideas for other book ideas, blog tours and posts, social media sharing, tweeting and the upcoming release of my novel, Torn. I can’t have all of that jockeying for my attention. I sometimes think I might just go crazy!
But if you were to take away all of that other “stuff” and look at what I’m doing, you’d see that writing is my job. Imagine calling into work and explaining that you don’t have time today because of your family, holidays, and responsibilities. You probably wouldn’t have that job very long. Since I don’t really have anyone to report to, other than my editor, I have to make time for my job. So far I’ve been able to juggle everything and haven’t dropped one ball. Well except for the time I left my wallet at home and no money on me for my earl grey, but that’s another story.
My rambling point is if you want to write, you have to do it. Make time for it. Don’t make excuses for why you can’t. If you really want to write, if you really need to write, you’ll find the time. A few months ago I got in touch with a friend of a friend who is a published author and I talked to her about writing. She gave me lots of tips, great advice and steered me towards a conference. Once I finished the novel (literally days before I had to pitch it at said conference), I emailed her and she basically said I had just set myself apart from the thousands who say they want to write a book. Because I had actually done it. And not only had I done it, I was preparing to pitch it, have it critiqued, attend workshops with it, and take it out of my secret “shh! I’m writing a book but don’t want to tell anyone” closet.
My advice for those who want to write – just do it. Find your muse, find the time and do it. If you can only write for an hour a day, make that hour count. If you can only manage a few hundred words a day, then make those words count. At least you’re doing it. At least you have a goal in mind. Set yourself apart from the “want to’s” and make yourself an “I did”.
A former Army brat, Christine Hughes moved quite often. She spent much of her time losing herself in books and creating stories about many of the people she’d met. Falling in love with literature was easy for her and she majored in English while attending college in New Jersey. Not sure where her love of reading and writing fit, she became a middle school English teacher. After nine years of teaching others to appreciate literature, she decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. Now at home focusing on making writing her new career, she spends her time creating characters and plot points instead of grading papers.
Music has become an integral part of her writing process and without the proper play list, Hughes finds the words don’t flow. At least a few times a week she can be found at the local Barnes & Noble with her Mac and headphones working on her next novel. Her YA novel Torn will be released by Black Opal Books in June 2012.
3 Interesting Facts:
1. I attended 13 different schools, including college, due to my family’s military relocations.
2. I met my husband when I was 14.
3. My favorite book of all time is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
When Samantha’s father dies and she finds out he was an angel because of what he was protecting, she must join the fight between two groups of fallen angels, the Faithful and the Exiled, in a race to save humanity. In spite of the unforgivable betrayal of her best friend, the newly acknowledged love for her guardian angel, the face to face confrontation of the dark angel who killed her father and the growing need to allow darkness to take over her being, Samantha has been charged making the choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the darkness of the Exiled.
Run, Samantha. Don’t look back. Just run.
I repeated this mantra over and over again as I sprinted through the trees. Focused, like my life depended on it and knowing that one day it would, I ran. Through the damp woods, past branches that tore at my skin, and hurdling over logs, I ran. My breath mingled with the crisp fall air but I didn’t feel the cold. I felt nothing but the pure and relentless adrenaline that pumped through my veins. As the sun rose and cast its broken beams through the trees, I ran. With only a single thought: I have to get there.
I knew he was following me. He was close. So close. I couldn’t let him catch me.
My legs carried me over slick moss and rotting bark. I flew over downed trees, grabbing for branches to help me over. I was fast. Faster than before. Faster than yesterday. My focus was singular. The task at hand was all I could think about. Get through, Sam. Faster, Sam. Jump, Sam.
I swore I could navigate those woods with my eyes closed. I could see the next obstacle that lay ahead of me yards before it came into view. And when I concentrated hard enough, those obstacles began to disappear.
I burst into the clearing and could faintly make out his barely labored breathing behind me. He was so close I could smell him. I dug in and pumped my legs faster. Always faster. I knew I was going to beat him this time. I had to. I closed in on my destination. All I had to do was jump. I had to make it over the water. Over the creek on the other side of the clearing.
The intrusive voice pulsed through me and drowned out the mantra in my head, breaking my rhythm and I stumbled over a rock I was sure hadn’t been there yesterday.
Damn it! The eerily familiar voice that had settled comfortably in my head like a squatter, had the worst timing It teased like a schoolyard bully and I wanted to scream. But I couldn’t. I had to run. I was almost there. Come on, Sam. Fifty feet. Forty feet. Thirty feet. Almost there. As I braced my body for the jump over the swollen creek, he caught my ankles in mid-air and dropped me to the ground with a bone jarring tackle onto the muddy bank.
“Son of a bitch,” I growled.
I fought back, jumping up the way I was taught, fists at the ready. I caught him off guard, for the first time, with a jab to the chin and a roundhouse to the stomach. Then I did a back spring, landing well out of his reach and quickly regrouped. The grin on his face as he rubbed his chin told me I surprised him with that one. And now I was in trouble.
“Lucky shot, Sam. Nice kick. Too bad this one’s on me.” His cocky bravado triggered an extra jolt of adrenaline inside me. He’s not gonna take this round. Not this time.
For a few seconds we circled each other, anticipating the other’s next move. He crouched and lunged at my knees. I jumped to grab the branch above me and he missed, sprawling out in the dirt. But not for long. He was on his feet again before I’d even let go of the tree, his eyes merely blue slits of predatory focus. I had a total of three seconds to figure out my next move before he lunged again, targeting me mid-waist.
Instinctively, I dropped to the ground, and sprung forward, drilling him into the trunk of the nearest tree. Rain had started to fall, shrouding the sound of my movements as I quickly disappeared behind the brush. I needed to work out how to nail him with an element of surprise.
He growled in frustration but his annoyance didn’t matter. I was winning. I could feel it.
My hands and knees were scraped and dirty. My hair was a tangled mess and the sudden rise in humidity brought on by the rain wasn’t helping. The scent of decaying vegetation around me did nothing to mask the stench of my sweat.
His voice taunted me. “Come out, come out wherever you are. You can’t hide from me forever. You think you can camouflage yourself from me? I can smell you.”
He was right. I couldn’t sit there all day getting soaked in the rain waiting for him to find me. Through a small gap between the leaves, I could see him looking, scanning the trees and underbrush. Then his eyes focused where I crouched. I needed to act, now.
The forces of nature seemed to heed my need for action and the sky erupted, complete with booming thunder and darting strikes of lightning. I belly crawled behind bushes until I was on his right. His eyes still boring into the spot I’d just vacated, he took a step forward.
I slowly stood and crept up next to him. He turned around and I caught his cheek with a right hook but he grabbed my hair and yanked my head back. I yelled, in surprise and pain. The look on his face made him almost unrecognizable and for a moment I was paralyzed as the maniacal voice stole through me once again.
He took advantage of my shock and swept my legs out, dropping me face first into a vat of mud.
So not how I had envisioned this ending.