She’s fit, forty-three, married with three kids, works full-time—and has written twenty books and has a few more coming out soon! I’m forty-three too, married with three bulldogs, and work part-time. I have been teaching for twenty years and have written one book that is looking for a home.
As I sat on February 17th at the Southern California Writers’ Conference and listened to the keynote speaker, Michele Scott, who wrote a series of books (Wine Lover’s Mysteries), I was hugely inspired—not only because she is sweet and humble and spoke well, but because—I have to admit—I saw myself in her. Except for a few things. She balances a marriage, children, a family business, and a love of horses with writing; my responsibilities include teaching two college classes, making homemade lunches for my husband, going to the gym, cleaning every so often, and sometimes feeding the dogs (my hubby is their primary provider; mostly I just give them hugs and rubs). Needless to say, my life is certainly less complicated, and I certainly have a lot more free time.
I often wonder if because I never had children, I never had to learn to budget my time hyper-effectively. Time has always been mine, so though there have been points in my life when I have been busy or have struggled, I’ve always allowed myself “down-time”—maybe too much. The hours dwindle away: I drink Greek coffee with my mama in the morning and chat about nondescript issues; I watch The View, go to the gym for a few hours; I often take two-full days to correct students’ essays while checking Facebook and email intermittently; and then I write. I did finish a 130,000 word novel in a year (revised it for another); now it’s the hard part—trying to get agent representation and sell it. I have weighed the pros and cons of self-publishing, but first want to give the agent search a fair shake. Whatever happens, at least I am writing. And I so love writing. I create little stories for my FB page, have started this blog, and have outlined a second novel—but after hearing the keynote address, I feel like I am not producing like I should be.
I am so darn grateful every day that I have a healthy body, a loving husband, a supportive family, and kind friends, but I want to accomplish more. As I listened to Michele Scott speak, I was in awe. I admire people who follow their dreams, persevere through tough times. Michele wrote for more than ten years before she landed an agent and a book deal with Penguin. Throughout it all, she never stopped writing, and now all her books, those traditionally published as well as her e-books, have made her into a successful author. If she can juggle so much, then—I felt—I need to do more.
After the conference, I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and by 7 a.m. I was writing. I didn’t watch The View, cut my morning coffee with my mama, went to the gym at night, and corrected my students’ essays in a one five-hour session while camped out at Einstein’s. Two bagels and three coffee cups later, I was back home catching up on social media.
It was a great week. This week though, I am moving a bit more slowly. The View was interesting this morning; I Skyped with my Greek family; and now—finally—(it’s noon) I am ready to write. I guess I just can’t push as hard as Michele Scott, but I am okay with that. We all have to do what feels right. I have kept my gym schedule at night to maximize my days, will continue to visit Einstein’s once a week rather than labor days over essays, and my visits with mama are shorter, so I have, indeed, made some changes. And, overall, what counts is that I am happy. And writing.