This was my week for posting A Day in the Writing Life on the Elevensies website.
Here’s the link: http://community.livejournal.com/2011debuts/213382.html
(Elevensies, by the way, are a group of YA/middle grade authors I’m part of who have their debut novels coming out in 2011. Amazing people. Smart people. People who remind me my marketing plan should be more than just forcing my siblings to buy lots of copies of Virtuosity for Christmas presents next year.)
Anyway, I stewed over the Elevensies post because I like to keep things separate: Jessica the writer on one side of the room, Jessica the mom on the other side of the room. In real life they aren’t, and I wholeheartedly believe the two have to co-exist for me to be happy, but nobody wants them jumbled them up. My family doesn’t deserve to have me so pre-occupied with writing that I can’t go jump on the trampoline or practice the piano or clean up barf. And in the writing community I’d rather be defined by my personality and my writing than the fact that I do those other three activities regularly.
None of that explains why my entire post A Day in the Writing Life is about juggling little kids and writing. Truthfully, I tried to come up with one that didn’t include my kids and it didn’t work. It was garbage and totally untrue. So, while I generally don’t talk about being a mom on this blog, I think the elevensies assignment warranted an exception and figured that while I was at it, I’d just confess to a whole bunch of other things. Here we go:
1. Virtuosity was written during nights and naptimes when my youngest was a baby. “Sleep when they sleep” is only good advice if you aren’t writing a book.
2. Now my kids are old enough (5 and 3) that I can sometimes write when they’re up, but when they call me I’m there. No matter what. Oh wait, that’s a lie–if it’s needless tattling ie. “He looked at me weird” I’m as deaf as a doorknob.
3. I no longer confuse being a good mother with any of the following: gourmet meals, perfectly decorated house, made beds, folded laundry (clean is clean, who cares about wrinkles?), being on the PTA. I think I’m a pretty good mom, but since I started really writing, I suck at that other stuff. And because I love being a writer more than I love aforementioned other stuff, I give myself permission to not feel bad about it.
4. I have to regularly sit down and make sure writing isn’t encroaching on mothering, and other less important stuff isn’t encroaching on writing. I’d say almost weekly. It’s not as easy as just making the decision once.
5. The smile on my son’s face when I showed him the cover of Virtuosity and explained that we were going to be able to walk into B&N and see it there on the shelf was worth every second of sleep I lost writing it. It was like fireworks went off in his brain. He asks me questions about how I come up with my stories and who the people are all the time. And then when he comes up with stories of his own to write down, it makes me so happy I could cry. I guess that sums up the juggling act in all its glory.