I’ve been at my parents’ house in South Bend, Indiana for twelve days now, sleeping in the room I slept in when I was growing up. One more night and then I’m heading home to Fairbanks, Alaska. If you’re curious how I ended up in Alaska, I’ve written about it here.
I visit for long stretches because Alaska is so far away from Indiana. And the older my parents get, the farther away it feels. (My dad just turned 83 a few days ago.)
I try to visit three times a year for ten or twelve days. When I visit, we usually go to Lake Michigan at least once—a place I visited often when I was growing up.
Last summer I took my parents up to Pentwater, Michigan for a couple nights.
Last fall we spent the day in St. Joe, Michigan and I ended up with a new friend.
This winter we didn’t get up to the Lake, but this was what it looked like last February when we did.
I try to balance my writing with visiting, writing early in the morning or late at night, but inevitably, the writing falls off. I start off strong, then I hit a few fragmented days where I get nothing done. Then I get back into it, but the writing often feels clunky. That’s the way this blog post feels.
A couple years ago I was writing the first draft of a novel set in the mid-west and wrote sixty pages while I was here. That was cool.
But rewrites, like the one I’m working on now, are more difficult because I’ve got lots of notes, or I want to print out some pages and can’t, or I suddenly have to research something.
While I’m here, I accomplish what I can during the down time. A big thanks to Jill Kemerer, Jody Hedlund, and Natalie Bahm for keeping me on my writing toes via twitter these past twelve days. A few encouraging tweets went a long way. I rewrote five chapters. I was hoping for ten, but as Kim Stanley Robinson wrote: “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”
What about you? Where did you grow up and where do you live now? And, how does your writing routine change when you are away from home?