Sunday, April 11, 2010

Waiting in the wings

Yesterday, as I was driving home from an Easter break visit at my parents', my mind was filled with images from various novels that I've got simmering. My life has been so busy of late, that I've only had time to capture little snippets on paper here and there, and I've been (almost literally) itching to get in some really solid writing time.

I knew it was going to be a little crazy because I was homeschooling again, but this year surpassed any sort of craziness I anticipated and zapped almost all of my creative time and energy. I'm not complaining, just stating a fact, but the time is coming when I'll be able to restore some of that balance and get back to a routine that includes working towards my writing goals on a more regular basis. This anticipation has led to tingling fingers and a buzzing brain: my time is coming!

I hate not being able to write as much as I want, because that's when the discouraging internal dialogue and anxiety set in. I question my ability to tell a story, or begin doubting things like my knowledge of basic sentence structure and grammar. The less I write, the worse I feel, so the only antidote is to keep writing!

In truth, I don't have time to waste on that pesky fellow in my head who is more than happy to voice his opinion of my less than stellar abilities - you know what I'm talking about, right? (Please tell me I'm not the only one!) I can't afford to listen to that niggling, pessimistic voice. He's been getting a little loud lately, so I know that it's time to get cracking and finish my fun little MG novel. I had originally set a goal to have something ready to query by the end of this month, but I know I'm not going to make it, so it's been good to re-evaluate and see what can actually be done.

In the spirit of re-evaluation, I've switched my goal to coincide with the end of the school year. It's still ambitious, but I need to nourish my creative self, and squelch the evil naysayer on my shoulder. And I'm excited! Sometimes it's necessary to put myself aside to take care of the pressing needs of my busy family, but at the same time, it's important to remember to take care of me. It's a delicate balance, but I think I do a good job of maintaining harmony between my desire for a happy family and a happy self.

When I was in high school and university, I was involved in a number of drama productions. Sometimes I had a small role, other times I played one of the leads, but no matter what I did, I was excited to be backstage, waiting to go on. In some ways, I still feel like I'm involved in an elaborate production as an invaluable secondary character singing and dancing my way through motherhood. I may not always be the most graceful person out there, but I'm loving being on the stage and one day the spotlight will actually be on me! (Hard to believe sometimes, but still true.)

Although publication may not happen as quickly as I'd like, I'm always keeping my greatest accomplishment -my family- in full view. This anchors me and keeps me on an even keel when I feel my dream of a "writer's life" (such as it is, haha) slipping away. Everything else will fall into place in due time if I'm any good at all. The excitement of impending creative time is what keeps me going when I'm a little weary and worse for wear.

What keeps you happy and gives you the ability to plug away when the world is seemingly conspiring against you? I'd love to hear it!



Aubrie said...

Sometimes I have more time than others to write, so don't worry if you haven't had time lately. It comes and goes for all of us! Your family is the most important :)

I'm trying to finish in the next couple months to query as well! Good luck with your goal!

MT said...

It's not slipping away, it's just waiting its turn. :)
What keeps me going? Baby steps.

Erica Chapman said...

I know what you mean by not writing enough. I'm kinda there myself, what keeps me going - the prize, a complete novel ;o) You'll get there, good luck!

Natalie said...

I had to take a 5 week blogging break to make any real writing progress. My family always comes first too, so writing has to slip in around the edges of my time. That's how it has to be right now. Someday my kids will be grown and I can write all day long, but now is not that time. But they also bring me more joy than anything else in my life, so it's okay. :)

Elise Murphy said...

What a great question! It's always my family for me, too. Writing is filled with so many triumphs and setbacks that if I didn't remind myself daily, what is MOST important, I think I'd go a bit mad (cue Straight Jacket).

Sliding on the Edge said...

It seems like you have your priorities in the right order, Tracy and it will pay off for you and your family.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I understand how life gets in the way of writing. Hang in there. And good luck. :)

Tracy said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. As with anything worth pursuing, it's just a matter of carving out bits of time here and there and just doing it.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, this is such a hit-home post for me. I have full empathy! Step by step. One foot in front of the other... :-)