Yes, here I am, slinking back to WordPress after five months. Yes, five months. Trust me, not one of those 153 days passed without the sound of that agent’s voice in my head:
“Don’t blog if it’s a chore, like washing the car. The worst thing is for an agent to look at your blog and see that it hasn’t been updated in three weeks.”
I’m not quite sure how three weeks turned into twenty-two weeks. I think someone has been tinkering with time. They’ve made the hands on the clock jump and skip ahead. Or maybe the world is just spinning faster. I’m certain of this because just about five months ago my 14-year-old daughter dropped this on me as we were exiting the car:
“Mom, you know I only have four years left in this house?”
Then she strolled into the house, leaving me motionless, one leg in the car, one leg out. A little tremor moved through me. Shock. Terror. Melancholy. A maelstrom of emotions— the most powerful of which was helplessness. I can’t add more hours to the day. I can’t slow time. I can’t prevent the days from slipping away, one by one, until the day my daughter is standing in front of me with her bags packed for college, the world waiting to take her away from me. I can’t. I can’t.
So what do I do?
That’s what I’ve been doing for the last five months, the last 14 years. It’s not just me—it’s what all moms do. We juggle. We try to find the right balance, the right speed, the aerodynamics to “continuously toss into the air and catch (a number of objects) so as to keep at least one in the air while handling the others, typically for the entertainment of others.“
“…for the entertainment of others.” Hm…. Interesting. True.
Writer moms juggle, too. (And writer dads ♥) We try to toss one more object into the mix—one that brings us joy, enriches our souls, repairs our psyches in ways that non-writers can never understand.
It’s not as if I haven’t been writing during these last few months. In fact, I’ve been writing my ass off. (I think, actually, that writers write their asses on, as I’ve gained about five more pounds in the last few months.) I’ve somehow managed to:
• Finish another draft of A Future Sky based on beta readers’ feedback.
• Craft an outline for Book 2. (really need a title….)
• Start writing the first draft of Book 2. (42K words and counting)
• Finish a draft of In Silent Company based on meetings with a local historian and former grief counselor. (Who, by the way, cried after the last line of the book. Not because he was glad it was over, but because he was so moved by it. A writer’s dream come true: to make a grown man cry.)
• Teach myself InDesign and lay out the entire Towpath Guide to the C&O Canal. Not too shabby for an old chick like me.
Yep. All of that in five months. Along with cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, chauffeuring, can’t forget my part-time job, and of course, spending time with my family. So, the one ball that got dropped, the one object that I couldn’t keep into the mix was this blog.
I came close many times. There were moments of inspiration, signs from the universe—I should blog about this!—but something else always had to be caught first. Like when I wanted to blog, but my daughters wanted to power watch a few episodes of Friday Night Lights. The words echoed: “Mom, you know I only have four years left in this house?”
So I chose to spend time with my daughters, bonding, laughing, spilling tears together for the poor souls of Dillon, Texas. Another week passed by without a blog, but at least I took comfort in the fact that my daughters had the words and wisdom of Tami Taylor to get them through high school, and the character of Matt Saracen to give them a standard when it comes to dating boys. (NOT Tim Riggins, even though I LOVE him.)
It seems though, that every moment, every achievement, comes with a varying degree of guilt. I’m watching TV with my daughters when I should be blogging. I’m exercising when I should be writing. I’m writing when I should be exercising. Those weeds need pulled…that laundry needs folded…I should really make dinner tonight…. I’m working on book 2 when I should be finishing book 1. I should be querying agents, I should be finding more Twitter followers, I should be TWEETING, I should be figuring out how to find blog readers. (Is anyone out there reading this???) I should be BUILDING MY PLATFORM. On and on and on, until some days I get so overwhelmed, so frustrated, that I just pour myself a drink and do nothing.
Reading back, it sounds like a lack of focus. And a lot of excuses. Perhaps. Or perhaps when so much of your life is spent “for the entertainment of others” it’s hard to focus on what needs to be done for yourself.
Until I can figure all of this out, my “platform” is going to be right here, in this comfy stuffed chair, with my laptop, one cat at my feet, another walking across the keyboard (;lklbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb), writing every chance I get. It is, after all, what brings me joy. Enriches my soul. Repairs my psyche.
How do you do it, writer moms and dads? Please share. I’m sort of new to this game and love to hear how other people make it work.
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