Thursday, November 21, 2013

Where I've Been

It's been a whirlwind of a year, this debut year of mine. I've learned so much, decided so much, and I'll write about all of that once the waters of my life, and of the self-publishing boom, have calmed a bit more.

Right now, I want to tell you all where I've been. It's nothing earth-shattering, but there have been changes which affect my writing.

For most of the last two years, I had been working at my day job (which I love) 30 hours a week while my kids went to full-time preschool - 45-ish hours a week. I wrote in the margins - after I dropped them off, for 45 minutes in a coffee shop near campus; for half an hour after my last meeting of the day, before the 5:00 dash struck; half the day I took off once a week for cleaning the house and self-care. Yes, writing is my self-care. Was my self-care, I should say.

Everything changed when Kindergarten started. My oldest is now in school for just 28 hours a week. I can't stomach paying for before-and-after care for him, and he wouldn't deal with it well anyway. I'm still working 30 hours a week at my day job (which I LOVE!!!) To give me enough hours to work, a Hebrew tutor/sitter helps us one night a week and David takes care of all four kids on another.  These Herculean efforts of juggling and time-apportioning leave just enough time for my day job and for me to take care of my family, but not much time for me to take care of myself. Not any time, actually.

To compensate for this, I started to wake at 3:30 so I could exercise (crucial to help keep my clinical depression to a manageable level) and write a bit.

3:30 is early. Very early, even with my 9:00 bedtime. But my kids wake by 5:00. What else can I do?

Most of the time, when I manage to drag myself out of bed at this time, I don't actually want to write. I sit at my desk clutching a mug of coffee. I want to curl up with a book, or mindlessly click through internet videos, or just...go back to sleep. But I do want to have written. I always feel better when I do.

So I force myself through the words, coaching my fingers at each keystroke. Since the beginning of November, I've managed almost 15,000 words. It's an okay number, but I'm so far behind on my goals I want to cry and, besides, I don't know if the words are any good.

I know that nothing will change unless I change something first. I know adjustments must be  made - big ones. But the process is full of trial and error and worry and doubt and tears. And it takes time.

I've thought about giving up writing altogether, at least for a time. It became quite clear to me, though, that I'm addicted to it. My heart twists and hurts and my eyes well up with tears when I think that I might have to give up making stories. It may be addiction, or it may be infatuation. All I know is that it's a legal thing that makes me happy, and produces something beautiful. Things like that are hard to come by.

So, that's where I've been. I'm not leaving writing, but honestly, I'm not doing so well with it either. I can't make promises (except that Solving for Ex will be out on time - it's been finished and ready to go for months!) but I can tell you that I'm not giving up - not even close - just sort of floundering for the moment.

As always, thanks for your love, cheerleading, and support. It means the world to me.

9 comments:

  1. *hugs* I mean, let's be honest, I'm amazed ANYONE with small children (under 10) can get any writing done. That you can juggle it with 4 is utterly flabbergasting, and rather motivating to me. It makes me feel like, if I get up and don't want to write, and keep getting distracted, I can find that discipline to do it. Because it could always be harder. Even 15k is 15k more than you had if you didn't try. That's roughly 60 pages in manuscript format, which is NOT bad given how little time you've had to work on it! <3

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  2. Congrats on all your hard work! 15K with everything else going on is amaaaazing! As you know, I love the #5amWritersClub, but I simply can't fathom a 3:30 wakeup. You are one dedicated author! KUDOS!

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  3. I'm at 10 words low of 15k. It's hard I know, but we got to keep pushing onwards. Hugs!

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  4. You truly are a super woman with your day job and your kids and managing to wake up so damned early and still managing to write! I do hope you don't give up trying cause I love what you've written! Just try and find a way to struck a balance that won't kill your health!! *hugs*

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  5. You are the person I refer to (even though I don't actually know you :P) whenever I start to complain about not having enough time. I always think to myself, "Leigh Ann has 4 kids and a job and is publishing three books this year. You have one kid and work 20 hours a week. Shut up and start writing!" You are so dedicated and passionate, I know you'll find a way to make it all work out. Hang in there and cut yourself some slack - you're amazing!

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  6. That's tough! I've had to give up writing for the past year and it's been so hard. I'm glad that my life finally has space for it. I hope you find a way to keep yourself going through all the tough moments.

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  7. Reading this has been so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your amazing writing habits with us! I am going to keep referring back to this post whenever I feel too lazy or tired to write.

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