Our house, which suffered a terrible post-Hurricane Sandy fire is nearing the point where we will be able to move back into it. My children had an incredibly eventful summer, mostly in the form of day camps to which I sent them so I could finish my revision. And speaking of the revision, I don’t remember whether I mentioned it here or not. In any case, I was offered—not representation—but a “Revise and Resubmit” by an agent with incredible vision regarding my book. She gave me a ten page document on what I needed to change, so I spent the summer changing it. Exciting, yes, and downright scary, to essentially lop off the second half of your book and write it all anew. But it’s done-ish, not yet submitted, but in the hands of “beta readers” who have been reporting back bit by bit.
So that’s me. How are you?? Because, the thing is, I haven’t just not been blogging, I’ve also not been reading many blogs, and not commenting at all. It was hard to let go; I missed my fellow bloggers and was curious about what they were up to. But I know myself; once I start reading and commenting, it leads to more reading and more commenting and I often lack the discipline to stop and get back to work! It had to be all or nothing. So I gave myself permission, not just to step back, but to step out of the blogosphere altogether for a summer. As Jodi Aman noted in her guest blog several months ago, we all need to prioritize without second guessing ourselves.
And just yesterday, the inspiring Dahlia Adler did a post on time, specifically making time to write when it looks to the naked eye as if there is none. Working, writing mothers are known create time out of the ether. How do they do it? All too often my way of making time is to rely on the wee hours when everyone else is asleep. But when you’re parenting, working and trying to be a decent human being, when your life requires you to drive, or otherwise operate machinery, not sleeping can really backfire. So you find other things that can give for a while.
I have a friend whom I’ve known since college, who has always seemed to me an alchemist of time. At school, what she accomplished in a day, took others a month. She aced her courses, wrote plays, acted in them, participated in many student-run organizations, managed a relationship here and there, and taught herself to play the guitar. Really well, as a matter of fact. How did she do it? With a lot of creativity. Which is how she did everything.
Fast forward twenty-some-odd years: my friend is a successful corporate executive, managing a large staff. She is also the mother of two little girls. Spare time, needless to say, does not exist. Nevertheless, out of the ether, my friend has managed to publish a novel this year. Her first, but certainly not her last. I don’t know how she did it. But I do know that her creative side could not be silenced. Her imagination was too entwined with her identity to be forgotten. She had to do this.
(Spoiler alert: this very friend same friend, Louella Dizon San Juan, will be writing a guest blog later in the week!)
There are always things in your life that you can skip, at least temporarily, for the things that matter most. You might feel guilty at first, for not volunteering to be class parent this year, for dropping book group for a month or two. But in your heart, you know what you can’t sacrifice. Your family, for example. And the pieces of your identity that you hold most dear. If you are a writer, professional or aspiring, one of those pieces is writing. You have to do it. You just have to.