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Our Juggling Act

I was recently asked how I can do it all. By “it” she meant: write, be a wife, be a mother, and be full time employee.

The truth is, I’m not sure. This morning, for example, I got up at 5 with Perry. We spent some quality morning time together, I sent him off to work, and started going through my final edits for All or Nothing. Quiet music, coffee, a fire in the fireplace. I managed to get through almost 10 pages before I heard the voice from upstairs. “Momeeeee! I want yooooou!”

Now, my daughter is snuggled up next to me, watching Nick Jr. and deciding what she wants for Christmas. Seems like a good time to blog. Check facebook. And do any number of things. Suddenly, she realizes that she wants me, and grabs my arm. I put the computer down and we snuggle, watching the rest of Wonder Pets. The computer waits. The final edits to All or Nothing are quickly saved, and set to the back burner until tonight, after everyone goes to bed. That’s the way it has to be.

Being a working, writing mama, I have involved myself with a wonderful group of women in the same boat. We offer each other encouragement, enthusiasm, and support when things go awry, as they inevitably do. Were it not for this support group, I’m not sure I’d be able to keep writing, or have the creative energy to even try. And the introductions to this group all stemmed from becoming part of The Wild Rose Press (TWRP) garden of authors.

The owners of TWRP can be credited by encouraging authors and readers to communicate with one another through message board posts, scheduled chat sessions, and online social networking sites. However, I doubt that they envisioned what a phenomenal creative environment that they were planting. We all have a common goal. I know, through my frequent communication with my world-wide network of author friends, that there is a common thread that runs through us all. We write because we always have. We write because we love books. We love to read them. We surround ourselves with them.

As the medium grows and changes into a digital format, with a new revolution in the development and encouragement of the short story, each submission becomes an online crash course in creative writing. At TWRP, I’ve been paired with three amazing editors. Each submission, I’ve learned how to be a better writer. And, All or Nothing has just improved because of what I learned writing and submitting Tessa Takes a Chance, By Another Name, and another story still in the works for resubmission, Solstice Moon.

And, through it all, I’ve had to learn balance in my life. How does a working, writing, wife and mother balance her day so that none of the plates she’s juggling crashes down around her head? I attribute my success in all categories to my project management experience. My life has become my project. Each day requires planning. Each week requires goals in every area. Each goal requires prioritization. Because it is categorically unacceptable to let any one of the important plates in the air fall. Not my kids. Not my husband. Not my job. Okay, sometimes the housework goes to the dogs. (And by that, no, Millie doesn’t pitch in and do the vacuuming!)

This is an ongoing adventure, a roller coaster that I don’t want to get off. So, how do you do it, my writer friends? How do you keep your plates in the air?

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Priorities!

Guess who was more excited to meet Jasmine and Aladin? Rachel or Me?
FYI:
Ellie is missing from Pic as she couldn’t stop climbing the Cave of Wonders, and had to be removed by her daddy – whom I am quite sure was bummed about not watching Jasmine. Look at her! I would have been bummed, too!

This morning, Rachel slept in and I spent some serious snuggle time with Ellie watching Dora. Then we wrote names on her Leap Frog clickstart computer. She’s learning how to use the mouse. She’s also digging the song I taught her to spell her name – what 2 year old can spell Elizabeth? Mine can. 🙂 So proud. Then Rachel came downstairs, hair looking more like Madeline Kahn after becoming Mrs. Frankenstein, asking when Grandma was coming. HOLY COW. My mother’s coming out this weekend. My house! Where’s the housekeeper! What about my rewrites????

Then I remembered. Priorities. First my immediate family. Then my extended family. Then the rest of my life (writing, work, etc. etc.). I’ve added a new plate into my juggling routine. I now have to write in order to remain accountable. BUT – suddenly, it’s all I want to do. BUT – therein exposes my need to prioritize. Daily. Hourly. By the minute. What the heck am I doing blogging right now, anyway?

Anyway, after a nice note from my editor, I’m able to breathe again. Did I mention how cool it is to write for TWRP? They are endlessly helpful, my fellow authors are enormously encouraging, and I feel I’m drinking from this well off creativity – so much I’m overflowing! However…

It’s impossible to maintain a certain level of excitement for an extended period of time. I’m also going to have to step back from the message boards so I can get something done today other than lurk. Ha. SO – this morning, I’m contemplating the questions that the moderator of our online author’s group asked of us. Namely:

  1. How does your main character feel about you?
  2. What position do your characters sleep in?
  3. Describe your story in under 25 words.

All challenging. I love this. So, I’m submitting my responses -and must go back to solving the world’s bibliographic problems! so that I can pick up my kids and take them to the park. Oh. And go to writer’s group tonight. Thank heaven for an understanding husband. If only I could find him underneath all of the laundry.