Last fall, when my youngest kid went off to kindergarten, I went full-time (six hours a day during school days) as a writer and publisher. The year turned into three novels at different stages of production: one is in the later stages of editing, and two are half-written. Now that summer break has arrived, I am forced to change things up a bit, and these are the two things most at the forefront of my work-mind:
Kids. On summer break. I am quite torn between being a super summer mom and fully enjoying my kids while I have them, and my goals and deadlines. When I plugged books into my production matrix months ago, I did not make any concessions for summer break. I simply didn’t want to. I wanted (and still want) to get all three novels out as soon as humanly possible for a basically one-man show and quality work. That was silly, not making concessions for summer break, and I am trying to throw on my writing brakes while also not guilting myself for doing my other–probably more important–job, well, in the space that I have been blessed with doing it. In other words, sacrificing those six-hour days back, for a couple months. Slow, even breathing. (That’s me hyperventilating over not barreling forward on imminent publications.) Actually, this makes sense for my particular situation, because holding down the home-front frees my nurse-husband up to take extra shifts, while I currently work for dreams and air. (But man do I work hard for it!)
Focus. I spent the whole year of 2012 exploring the concept of Focus and implementing it into my life and work. I seem, in 2014, to have allowed the concept of NaNoWriMo to drive a wedge between me and that ever-elusive Focus. With that 50,000 word goal dangling in front of me last November and this past April, I couldn’t see adding to a book, but just coming up with something brand-spanking-new. Last November, I finished a novella in 1 1/2 months, then this April, wrote half a book. However, there is something in me now regretting the path I chose, even though there is all this new material, and this interesting idea to use NaNoWriMo to add new projects to existing ones. The truth is, I’m not a good multi-tasker, and I like to see things finished. As writers, we can spin multiple plates forever, and I would not feel very happy or fulfilled.
So, after much deliberation, here are my changes:
1) A two-month sabbatical focused on our kids, our summer plans, our home projects, and transitioning everyone into new roles and schedules, once again. I have until August 31, 2014, to finish all important (read: functionality-involved) house projects and to re-charter a new and improved family schedule (read: has to be livable and meet basic demands).
2) Continued platform maintenance, because who would crash two years’ work for a summer off, right? So two blogs a week, Facebook and Twitter, writer group meetings, and Lit 101.
3) Re-write work deadlines and goals to reflect the sabbatical. (Push everything back two months.)
4) Re-write deadlines and goals to pour all efforts into one book at a time. (Sure, if I write a short story or poem on my own time, I won’t put myself in writer jail.) This includes NaNoWriMo, which I will only use to further current projects and not introduce new ones. Ouch, that hurts.
5) Quit anything else I can, once again, so I can be just a two-woman-woman: mom-wife-houseowner and writer-publisher. Oh the pain! It burns!
Life is, as the saying goes, a series of choices. I think that also means that life is a series of sacrifices. And, as they also say, to not make a decision is to make a decision. Well, I have made mine, and they may work out so well for me that I replicate them for years to come. I’m fairly certain they don’t stink. At the very least, they are well-intentioned, and we all know about good intentions…
Just kidding. You do what you have to do. I still get to do what I love, which is way better than most people get.