How to build a writing career and raise a family…and not go nuts.

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It’s the wee hours of the morning, the sun is just starting its rise above the suburban rooftops and tree lined streets.  I have my kitchen table facing a large window that looks East.  I am often at this table at odd, illegal hours such at 3:00 am with my coffee pot brewing and my laptop on.  This is my best writing time.  I am filled with ideas and thoughts after my 5 hours of sleep and I’m not distracted by a full day.  Once my children are up the thoughts flow more towards how to make today’s oatmeal better than yesterday’s and finding all my missing kitchen utensils in the sandbox.  The conversation focuses mostly on the history of tunnel borers and T-rex and if he liked strawberries and apples.

No doubt I have a dreamy life for me.  I never did enjoy working out there in the rat race.  The day I became a housewife I felt like I hit the lottery.  Not many women get to stay home these days.  I wake up when I choose…or when the children choose.  I can cook and clean in my pajamas while sipping coffee all morning.  I have pockets of time to blog and write books.  The biggest part is that I have children that adore me and I them.  Children I never thought I would have.   I didn’t get married until I was 40 and by then I heard the spinster Sirens calling me to join them with all their cats and knitting projects.  So, this life is one I have full gratitude for since it took so long to arrive at and I almost didn’t have it at all.

As for the writing…well, I have been writing forever and I have always had a love of it.  Mostly journaling.  I never was the big fiction dreamer.  I thought about stories, more in movie form than book form.  My stories were always of the underdog overcoming it all and being victorious in the end with the huge swell in music and all.  That’s why books just don’t do it for me sometimes.  I really need that background music.  When I write fiction now I always have it playing out as a movie in my head as I write.  That probably explains why my books are all Novellas.  I have no time for novels and I get tired of the story and characters after a bit and just want them to get their lives together and move on so I can meet new people and go to new places.

Blogging is something I never thought I’d do.  I had a friend encourage me and I replied that I had no time for “that nonsense”.  Everyone and their grandma blogs now.  Why would I want to join the crowd?  But then I started anyway.  Just as I said I would never have a Twitter account because it was ridiculous.  I still never get on there, but I have it! However, the blogging  I have grown very fond of.  I have two fans (three as of last night!) and not a lot of traffic, but I love sitting here watching the sun fill the morning sky, drink my coffee, and share my thoughts.  If I can inspire or relate to one person a day, that’s good enough for me.  It fills a much needed space for me.  I get to have grown up thoughts and conversations with people out there.  I enjoy sharing my experiences, my ideas, my advice, all in hopes of helping and making connections with a world just outside my window and past my street.

And that is why balancing motherhood, running a home, and building a career as a writer is not exhausting or “hard”.  The hard part is the self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy.  The hard part is reading other authors and feeling like they have it together, they really have what it takes, they are SO amazing…and you are some idiot who thinks you can join them.  A silly little writer that can join the big girls.  I often have to do some self-therapy and puff myself back up again after reading and researching what other authors are doing out there.

The hard part of mothering is comparing yourself to all these Martha Stewart types that are making it look like they bake and make crafts with their children all day.  The homes that sparkle with the couch that matches the eggshell blue walls and the garden that looks like it belongs in a museum of garden art.  My reality is that I have patches in my lawn and the damn squirrels are eating my tomatoes before they can ripen.  I have Mining shovels, excavators, and dump trucks littering my yard.  My house is cozy and I do keep it clean, but tidy?  The children leave evidence of each moment of their activity and traces of their play everywhere.  You only tidy once.  At night before everyone goes to bed, that way you wake up to the illusion that your home is in order and you are a fantastic homemaker.  You can enjoy this tidy little home while enjoying a cup of coffee for about an hour before the crew gets up for another day of working hard at playing.

I do everything to run the home and raise the family.  I do all the jobs of writing.  I can make list, but I’ll spare you.  I made a list last night and I came up with 18 jobs I actually do.  I am the CEO and the employee.  I am the writer and the editor.  The lady of the house and the maid.  The mother and the daycare provider.  There is a saying, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  I get it.  I love nothing more than writing and mothering.  My favor It makes it easy.  It could be more fun if I would lighten up.  Trying too hard is what kills the ease and joy.  Once you get the fun back into the game, you begin to love it again.  When you care what everyone thinks and you try to people please, that’s when the inspiration packs its bags and heads to greener pastures.

I’ve been going through a bit of internal self-reflection and break down.  All in the best way of course.  But I have had to realize that although I may not be the next Nichols Sparks or Anne Lamott in the book industry and I am definitely not going to be the next Martha Stewart…or even her assistant’s assistant, that I may not win any awards for being such a spectacular mother or homemaker, that my casserole won’t be winning any ribbons at the fair, and my blog may not make enough to buy a washing machine that actually gets my clothes clean…who cares!  The big question is am I having fun?  Do I really enjoy what I’m doing?  Am I really present with my children while they are little and I am their world?  Do I look forward to my mornings?  Do I sit down at my kitchen table with my mug and get excited to share myself with all of you?

Today the answer is yes!

 

 

 

 

 

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