Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Tell of Caution

It’s easy enough to do. But just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. Especially when you are trying to establish yourself as an up-and-coming author.
I’m sure most working mothers know what I’m talking about: Spreading yourself too thin. Most working mothers are still expected to do (most, if not all of) the housework, get the groceries, do the cooking, take care of the kids, AND do their job. Even without adding any hobbies to help them stay sane, they are spread mighty thin. It gets to the point where you have to get sick, just to get some time to yourself.
Been there, done that.
When I took early retirement, I wanted my next ‘career’ to be ‘author’. I had been working at it for years. I had numerous short stories already written and polished, but none had found a home yet. I had a novel ready for submission, one in the polishing stage, and another drafted, besides several started, and many more ‘stewing’ in the back of my mind.
But suddenly finding yourself without a job to go to can leave you floundering. Without thinking about it, I dithered through my days watching tv, surfing the net, half-heartedly doing aspects of house cleaning I had never bothered to do before. (BTW, I hate housekeeping. It never gets done!) I signed up for six or a dozen newsletters on writing, and more on ‘promoting your book’. Anything to keep from actually writing, it seemed.
I even hired myself out as a free-lance editor. I told myself I needed to do that; I no longer belonged to a writing critique group, and editing would give me a chance to recognize ‘problems’ and try to solve them. Yeah, I can find other people’s problem areas, but I’m not sure I’m any better at finding my own.
I started new hobbies, took classes on leatherworking, theatrical makeup and making prosthetics, photoshop and illustrator… you get the idea. I volunteered for a position with Broad Universe ( And because I was frustrated with my pace in the writing world, I started my own publishing company. Why not? It seems like everybody else is doing it.
Somewhere in there, when I wasn’t paying attention, I got thin. Not physically, although I have lost a few pounds. But in terms of energy, I have none. In terms of organization, that’s pretty sketchy. I start each day with breakfast, doing my Broad Universe chore, and checking through my (main) email account. After that…
I have a loooong list of Things To Do. And unfortunately, ‘writing’ is not very high on that list.
How can I be an author if I don’t write? Why are all these other things coming before ‘writing’? I’m juggling a multitude of activities, but what I really want isn’t even in the mix.

I think it’s time to snap back and not be so thin.

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