Unlike some dedicated bloggers who announce their hiatuses (hiatae?) in advance, I just up and took one without planning to, without any word at all. Though I thought I’d start blogging in earnest again as soon as I’d completed a draft of my novel, once I had that draft in hand (in my docs) my momentum picked up, rather than slowing. A draft is only a draft, after all, and a completed, submission-ready novel is quite another thing and I wanted that other thing ASAP. I became obsessed—remain obsessed (as I think you have to be to finish any book) with that goal of completion. (I know: many novelists say you’re never really done; there are always possible revisions to make, but I’m talking about that stage when you can finally query an agent re: “my completed novel.” )
Once I’d finished what was really a second draft (meaning the first draft with all notes-to-self replaced by actual writing, a real ending and finally, finally, a title (more on that in a moment), that goal seemed imminently doable. The next milestone—right before the point where you can revise with intent to query—was the “done-enough-to-give-to-beta-readers” point. I can get there by the time my husband gets back from his business trip; I can get there before my daughter leaves for sleep-away camp (and my son needs me to actually hang out with him). I can get there by the time my mom gets home from Russia (she’ll be so proud of me and so surprised that she’s got a new book to read!).
It became a race against the ordinary events in my life, a race against myself, my stamina, the clock, sleep. As a writing mom with kids home for the summer, work is all about brief periods of intense focus, then lots of big vats of pasta so my kids can have all their friends over and won’t miss me if I need to keep writing. But when I’m done writing for the morning or the afternoon, my kids have me. We make up dumb songs, tell each other stories, dance around the kitchen, swim, read to one another and, of course shop (which is sometimes fun with kids, other times not, but it’s important for kids to learn to take the good with the boring). In other words, even when my writing takes center stage, kids are top priority. For example, my daughter had a bad scare when she was convinced that a cookie crumb was lodged in her lung; believe me, I dropped everything to make her tea and hold her hand while she coughed tearfully away. A blog, on the other hand … well, a blog is not your kid.
To be perfectly frank, this blog, the blogosphere in general, dropped completely off my list of priorities. And, unlike past occasions, I didn’t feel a lick of guilt about it. Partly that’s because I believe my fellow bloggers–those I follow and who follow me–would not only understand, but would be cheering me on as I’d cheer for them. We’re a group of supportive women (mostly) and men (still a nice handful) who respect one another and know that each of us is an adult (mostly) and that we all have goals that may sometimes take up all our energy. (Though it’s only been ten days since my last post, it feels like much longer; I haven’t been reading, commenting or even going on She Writes.)
All that said, I’m returning to this blog after an unannounced hiatus, because it matters to me. The blogs I follow matter to me. I am curious to see how they’re all doing, what’s up with my fellow novel-writing bloggers, what’s happening in Australia, Lebanon, Alaska, Calgary and The Blue Ridges (for a few examples). What people are thinking vis à vis gun control, post Aurora; about the Boy Scouts’ sad and curious choice of encouraging homophobia. I’m eager to see how the new bloggers I know are doing and enjoying the colorful visuals of the photo-blogs I follow. (Please check out my blogroll in the lower right hand corner!)
Please note that I have added a second Novel Excerpt page for anyone interested in checking out my new Y.A. baby: Twice the Dazzle. It took finishing the book to come up with a title I felt was right!
Thanks for your patience and all your support in the past.
P.S. If you didn’t catch the original Blog vs. Book post from March 15th, you can read it here.