Friday, December 31, 2010

It's the end of the year as we know it

Resolutions… this is the time of year when everyone wants to know what your intentions are for the coming year and every year, we oblige them by ticking off the stand bys… eat healthier, lose weight, spend less money, read the greatest novels of all time… perhaps that’s not a stand by for you, but it is for me.

This year, I’m taking a different approach. Instead we’re going with a theme: Family First. Yes, a cliché… how novel… but I figured something out. If I start to put the needs of my family before everything else, I will have the life I have been trying to get for years. I’m not talking a martyr thing were I give and give and then cry about how I do all the work. It’s the little things. Like making sure it’s quiet during the day so my night shift husband doesn’t make a mistake at work that could cost him his job or even worse… cost someone their lives. It’s making sure I go to the gym so the kids will have a mom who is healthy enough to yell at the refs when they make a bad call. It’s working on my book so that someday I can show my kids how following your passion can lead to a successful career. It’s about making sure not only I get to recharge my batteries with my friends, but that Louis does as well. It’s making sure that God is at the center of our home instead of a great uncle you see a couple times a month.

It’s about making the choice not to buy the toy because the kids need to understand they aren’t entitled to everything they want. It’s guarding our calendar so that everything that’s on the schedule is making us better as a unit.

Putting my family first will also remind me to savor the moments. Sure, they aren’t the Brady bunch or Cleaver family moments where everyone learns a valuable lesson… but when this life is over, it probably won’t be the iPads and remote control cars we hold on to. It will be the memory of playing cards against your mom on the iPads or racing against your dad with his old remote control car. It will be the moments in life that set our time on earth apart. Have more moments in 2011. And don’t forget to be bold.

Monday, December 20, 2010

End of the Year Cram Session

I've done it again.

This time last year I had planned to have my manuscript completed and ready to submit to agents. Luckily, I realized it wasn't ready. And so began another year of working on the book. But I have to be honest, it has been a roller coaster ride and right now, I am on the slow agonizing climb up that second time around. Getting motivated has been a problem. Not because I've lost my love of my characters or that writing has become a passing fancy. Quite the opposite. Life always has a way of creeping in!

I have become an instant gratification person. I want it now. But, as anyone in the writing business can attest... this is not how publishing happens, especially for an unagented, first time novelist in the YA genre where books about the supernatural are a dime a dozen. It moves slowly and patience and determination are a must.

Okay, I am patient. I am determined. I am much more patient than the three and five year olds who I have been blessed to raise, though they appear to have the upper hand on determination. Balancing life and writing is something that has been hard for me. I love my career, as unpaid as it might be. I love my children, as unpaid as being their mom might be. And sometimes, one must suffer for the other. There have been times where the writing has usurped time I would have normally spent with them, but lately, they have taken the reigns and my writing time has turned into wind down time. Hard to get the late night creative juices flowing when all you want to do is climb into bed with a glass of wine and watch mind-numbing movies to escape from the pile of dirty dishes still waiting for you in the sink.

The end of the year is approaching. I have 10 days until we ring in 2011. I have 10 chapters that need edits transcribed, and one last read through to catch all the minor changes that need to be made. I think I can do it. I can at least get the edits in before Christmas. But I hope the new year will bring with it wisdom to find balance in a life that is constantly demanding more and more. I hope the priorities that have been reshuffling themselves finally find a place where everything fits. And I hope that when I look back at 2011, I will be agonizing over edits to book number two while listening to my oldest read to my youngest and my husband snoozing quietly in the recliner. Sometimes the boldest thing to do is let go. So be bold, my friends, and if I haven't said it, Happy Holidays!