Through Red Adept Publishing, I met Kate. She is an interesting person, creative, a powerful writer – and one busy woman. I am always excited to find out what each author has to say here on Between the Bindings – what their interpretation of the whole thing is, what they decide to share, what advice they have to offer – and Kate definitely went a different way than the rest. I hope you enjoy reading her advice as much as I have.
Cramming It In (A Day in the Life)This guest post is partly therapeutic. I feel compelled to honestly answer the question I get asked the most frequently, "How do you DO all that?" I want to address this, but I am to do it honestly, highlighting what I sacrifice, but because I hate martyrs more than I hate bananas (and that is A LOT), I want to be truthful about where I fail. Fail is such an ugly word, maybe struggle is a better one. I work full time, an hour and fifteen minutes from my house (each way). I have two small kids (3 and 5), and my husband works full time with the same commute. In my free time, I write.
Let's be real. I don't really have free time. When I'm not working or playing with the kids I should be cleaning or folding laundry or scrubbing that year old dried jelly off the shelf in the fridge. I should be steam cleaning my couches because at this point, I have no excuses for the milk/juice/syrup stains. But I'm not. In my free time, I'm writing.
I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and sometimes if I can do it, 5. If I get up at 5, I get an hour and a half to write in the morning before my girls get up at seven. Those are the good days, but truthfully, I hit the snooze more often than I should.
I drop the girls off at school by eight, I'm at work by 9:30. Sometimes on my lunch break, I can cram in publicity or replying to personal email, but mostly, at work, I'm working (or … er, Facebooking. Okay, let's agree to call it "networking"). I can't write at work, my brain just doesn't engage and switch gears that easily.
I leave work at 5:30 and I'm home before 7 at night. Dinner is waiting for me because my husband is fabulous. I spend an hour and a half with the girls before they go to bed and I *try* very hard to be focused strictly on them. Engaged. I put away my mental "to-do" list and play Trouble or Uno or read books and review homework. My phone is tucked away, ringer off.
At nine, I drag out the laptop and sometimes I can write a blog post, or do some light editing with the TV on while I try to be an active participant in my marriage. Sometimes, I fail at that, and will get my quarterly lecture on "balance" from my husband. (As a side note, my husband is an amazingly tolerant, supportive, patient person who does most of the laundry and the cooking and heck, a lot of the cleaning, too.)
I often think about my own life and how I choose writing when I could possibly be doing so many other things. I can't help but wonder what I'd fill my time with if I didn't have this ridiculous, somewhat crippling drive to write. I would guess there'd be younger, smaller dust bunnies under my living room furniture. I can't decide if that matters.
Sometimes the fear of success is incapacitating. I can't imagine fitting one more thing into my day. Most days I feel like I'm building a giant Jenga tower and one more block will topple the whole thing. In this way, sometimes I think if only I could just know right now if I was going to make it in this writer's gig. If I'll be successful enough to quit the day job and focus on my novels. I also think there is a huge community of us weekend warriors walking around with the same giant question mark over our heads, clicking pens in our pockets and laughing maniacally at nothing. Living a life this crowded isn't enviable. Not in the least. I am a hamster on a wheel and I have an underlying belief that there is a defined expiration to it.
But here's the thing. I'm working towards something. I'm scrambling and scrapping and chasing some crazy dream and hopefully showing my kids that that's important. That pursuing your passion, even when its inconvenient and impractical and messy and seemingly impossible and filled with potential failure, is one of the most amazing things you can do. That when I choose writing over dust bunnies and dried jelly and crusty bread, that I'm not not chasing them. I'm simply choosing me, because I'm more valuable than stain-free furniture and spotless carpets.
Also, I've discovered that when I don't write I go a bit crazy. So then there's that.
Thank you, Kate, for that insightful look into the life and mind of an author. As I read this, I am reminded of the dust bunnies and issues around my house that are left to sit there as I read, write and blog. If it makes you feel any better, they will still be there when you do get some "free time" haha :p Thank you so much for stopping by again.
Until next time, y'all …