- by Geri Krotow
“You never make time for your friends!” This from an acquaintance I’ve made since moving to Russia, a fellow expat. A sister-in-arms as far as our life overseas goes, but, you guessed it, she’s not a writer. And not being a writer, she can’t fathom how I can say I have so much to do that I can’t (or won’t) make time in the middle of an afternoon for friends.
Because I have to write. Yes, yes, I choose to write, sure. But I often don’t feel like I have a choice–the stories come knocking and the characters call out to be given a setting. I get the lump of clay handed to me, with various bits exposed, and as Stephen King describes in On Writing, it’s my job to “excavate” the details.
I am not a social recluse, by far. I need the energy I get from others to fuel my muse, to add life to my books. The walks and tours I take around Moscow (since I live here–when I live Stateside I “tour” around my local area) give depth to my stories. But I have to get back to the page to capture what I’ve absorbed, and share it with my reader.
It’s been fifteen years since I left my “real world” job to put my efforts towards writing. I’m blessed that we don’t need my writing income to support our family (although that remains the goal). But I approach it as though it is needed, because, it is. Someone out there reads my stories and a few readers even get inspired by them. If I raise one dashed hope in a reader today, it’s been worth it. And my friends, the ones who help me get through my life, understand, and are there to celebrate when I’m not feeling so pressured by my inner story voices that I can find the time for coffee. Friends don’t ask me to chose between the page and time with them. They understand. Time with them (and myself) will happen. But it can only be cherished if I’m being true to myself. I’m a writer and that means I often have to drink my coffee with my story and my laptop.