At 20, 153 words and halfway through Chapter 7, I’ve stopped… for now. I may have lost #nanowrimo2015, but I’m really proud that I did get through one-third of the novel. And I’m not stopping… I will finish this novel and, someday, maybe even publish it. But my first draft isn’t happening in one month even though I really wanted it to.
You all may be wondering why? Or maybe it’s me that’s wondering why? If I really wanted to do it, why couldn’t I just make it a priority and do it? Well – I guess it comes down to just that.
Priorities. I have a hugely full plate: a full-time job, two young children, a marriage, a blog and community to maintain, and a home with householder responsibilities. As much as I wanted to get this novel fully written – and as fast as possible – it just didn’t make the cut every night. Many nights I sat and tried to write, but my brain was just too fried.
My time’s not my own. People always ask me what’s really different about my life since becoming working mother? I didn’t know this until I became one, but it’s the most difficult thing I grapple with everyday: someone else (my job, my kids, my husband, my family, everyone but me) has a claim on my time. I have to schedule showers (or sneak them in each morning at the gym when I arrive at the office). I can’t just go to the grocery store or shop. I can’t even eat a meal without someone needing a diaper change or asking for milk or breaking up a fight.
Everyone’s kids are different. This may be the most frustrating thing for any parent or grandparent (or adult bystander) to admit because maybe they were able to “figure it out.” But you know what? Every single kid is different, as Amy Chua described in her memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom: her first baby daughter allowed her to work, write, and be efficient even as the mother of a newborn, but her second daughter would howl if she even turned to her computer to start to type. As I type this right now, my son is jumping on my husband’s beloved couch. It’s well past his bed time and he is wired as he tries to fight it. Every kid is different, and that’s why parenting advice is so hard to make work all the time. And that’s why I can see myself succeeding at #nanowrimo mentally, but my physical reality of the children I deal with everyday just doesn’t match up with that picture. (Yes, I admit mine are crazy!)
Am I writing the right book? This is probably the hardest to address. Yes, I think I am, but it’s the first time I’ve written a book, or even really a long story. Now I know why so many authors choose to start with a collection of essays or short stories as their first feature-length publication instead of ploughing head first into a novel. While I worked on my chick lit piece, I felt a continual nagging. Why wasn’t I writing the story that many of my readers (likely) want to read and (maybe) the story that my inner voice needs to tell? With #nanowrimo over, I can split my time to focus on two pieces: my first chick lit novel AND a collection of essays entitled “4pm Meetings and Other Working Mothers’ Secret Nightmares“.
Whatever comes out first, I hope you’ll all read it. And in the meantime…
Have Kids, Will Work