An ill-timed bloom

Not gonna lie — I’ve been struggling with my work/life balance in that the scales are decidedly tipped toward child-rearing and less so toward writing. I know I’ve mentioned this many times, and I apologize for the repetition, but I have three kids. My youngest just turned two years old. She’s too young for preschool but too old to sleep all day. And she still sleeps in my bed, making for weak REM sleep. She’s also active, as most toddlers are, and is no longer content with hanging out in the house while Mommy writes. She wants to be outside with her big brothers and since she can’t do that alone, I must go with. Fair enough. Except, I’ve become resentful.

That’s right. I’m resentful of my kids zapping, not just my writing time, but my ability to focus. I used to be able to squeeze in adequate writing in during a nap. But naps lately are not consistent. And God forbid she falls asleep in the car on an errand — that ill-timed snooze means she won’t be sleepy later.

But I’m getting away from the point, which is I’ve been melancholy about my author role lately. In order to finish something, I’ve been drafting like a mad woman, racking up a 1,000 to 2,000 words a session in order to slap something on the friggin’ page. It’s garbage and nothing I would show anyone. I know I can always fix it in revisions. That’s just how I work. But I miss the joy of drafting and discovering the story.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading and re-reading a beloved series. And then I got inspired. I had an idea to write a mystery set in an all-boys boarding school. This inspiration bloomed into excitement and a sudden desire to get back to work. Except, my mind is humming with this new idea and not focusing on the current work-in-progress, a sequel to my recent release. That sequel is half-drafted and due to my editor in July. It really has to take priority. But *whine* I really want to work on this new book idea. Me and shiny objects. Anyway, I’ve decided to strike while I’m hyper focused (a rarity) and work on the story until my self-esteem, and my mood, improves. Then I’ll get back to working on my other book in time to submit it to my editor. In theory. Summer is around the corner and my boys will be out of school soon.

Or I can just cut myself, and my kids, some slack. I don’t know who I’m in a race against.

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Author: Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author. And mom of 3. I'm also tired. Very, very tired.

13 thoughts on “An ill-timed bloom”

  1. Been there, done that. I’m very grateful my kids are now teens so when they come and say “so what’s for lunch?” I can look up and say, “I dunno. What are you making?” Yes, cut yourself some slack. You’re doing a lot. And I’ve also been victim to the “ooh, shiny new idea!” trap. I can say from experience you’ll be much happier with yourself if you finish the current project before embracing the shiny!

  2. Ah, the shiny new idea…totally been there! Sometimes I’ve found it worthwhile to explore new ideas, even with a project already in progress–writing should be fun, after all! 🙂

  3. She’s in her crib right now and I’m hoping she’s going to fall asleep. No, wait. She’s calling for me. Damn, girl. Take a nap. You’ll wish you did when you’re my age.

  4. First, a big hug! ((((((((K))))))))) It’s so hard to balance all the parts of our lives and the creative urge/drive makes it all the more intense. I like the idea of writing some of the new idea now–that kind of energy is such a blessing and maybe it will recharge you for the other project. But no matter what, it’s okay to not be “on top of” every single thing…no one is… 😉

  5. I’m with Cynthia… a major hug. Definitely cut yourself some slack. Try to enjoy the moment. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. And any other cliché that works. Breathe! xoxo

  6. I don’t know if it’s any consolation or not, but I’m an empty nester pulled in a zillion different directions, so it doesn’t necessarily ever end. I love all my activities, but like you, I feel resentful sometimes too. It seems like I should be able to do everything I want! Wah. I’ve realized my little hamster wheel life will never be perfect but I try to do the best I can every day, knowing that something will inevitably remain undone, or done poorly. But the sun will still come up tomorrow and I can try again. At least you get to go outside and play with a two-year-old!

  7. I hear ya. They grow up so fast, and your kids will grow into the most fantastic and amazing adults because of the amount of your time that you are giving them now. As for the writing, your idea will even be better when you get a chance to work on it to your satisfaction.

  8. Thanks guys. We had a tough morning, but I did get to write today and I feel good about it.

  9. Oh Kimberly, there are all the right things I should say and then there is the reality. Here’s a hard fought truth. You have to put yourself first sometimes or you have nothing to give others. That includes your kids. Sound selfish? Maybe on the page, but it is also about self preservation. The story that has your attention – roll with it. even if it means doing voice recording on your phone. I did that for several short stories that wouldn’t let me go. The transcription was hell – I’m thinking of getting a voice to type program, but the result was worth it.

    Hang in there…it does get I won’t say better..kids are the best..but easier? Freer? You know what I mean.

  10. I’m coming back again because of something Kait said. “The story that has your attention—roll with it.” I spent over two years working on a manuscript that should have been a slam-dunk. The thing is that during that time this other story had cornered my heart. While I tried to do what Mary suggested and “finish the current project before embracing the shiny”, it floundered. I wanted to be a professional and an adult about the whole thing. I mean really, I had FOUR drafts. Just pick one. Truth is, they all sucked in different ways. Thanks to a lot of people (writers and my editor), the final catylist being our own Becky Clark, I finally put that book in a box. But it took OVER TWO YEARS.

    If it feels even sort of right to back away for now, back away. Shelve it. Don’t waste your time and don’t come out with something subpar just because you think you should. Your readers will know if you’re cheating them.

    Right now I’m about half-way into the first draft of my “shiny” and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll get back to the other one because I love the characters. They just need another story.

  11. So true, Peg. I also had an “oh, shiny” story steal into my WIP some time ago. I went with shiny, and it wrote itself. Giving in made it easier to return to WIP later.

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