Lately I’ve thinking a lot about 2006. It was a weird year. I was living in Tennessee about two-thousand miles from my family and lifelong friends,my husband was deployed, and I was childless. Since I’d had a roommate or lived in a sorority house all through college and my husband and I got married two weeks after graduation, 2006 was my first experience with living completely alone. It was cool. I could eat whatever I wanted, watch whatever I wanted on TV, sleep whenever I wanted, go wherever I wanted. Granted, I was teaching full-time, but from about 4pm to 11pm, I could do as I pleased.
Now, whenever I think about 2006, I ponder with equal parts bewilderment and annoyance the following questions: WHY THE HELL DID I WASTE ALL THAT FREE TIME?! WHY DON’T I HAVE ANYTHING TO SHOW FOR IT?! WHY WASN’T I WRITING SERIOUSLY BACK THEN?!
Lately, there just does not seem to be enough time in the day. Thanks to yet another deployment (the fourth of my eight year marriage, in case you’re curious), I am essentially a single parent. Luckily, I have a sweet, well-behaved, awesome-to-hang-out-with child, but holy cow does she keep me busy! I feel like I’m running her all over Western Washington (ballet and swimming and play dates and Spanish) all day everyday, and when we aren’t rushing to one of her activities, there’s grocery shopping and lawn mowing and house cleaning and bill paying and dog walking… plus, I’ve recently decided to run an organized 5K, so there’s exercise to fit in to the day as well.
Did you notice that I didn’t list writing on my above list of activities? That’s because by the time my kiddo goes to bed, I’m too exhausted to sit up straight, let alone add to my WIP word count. Still, I’m trying hard to fit it in. I’ve got three different projects in varying stages of
crazy completion. Where Poppies Bloom is close to being “done” and hopefully on submission, Cross My Heart is being replotted and rewritten (I’m REALLY excited about where it’s going!), and Bus WIP is… well, very much still a WIP.
I’ve come to the realization that I’m going to have to do some serious prioritizing to ensure that I’m getting everything I need to get done DONE, and that includes writing. But for me, there are a few things that will always come before I sit down at my computer to work:
~Family. My daughter (and my husband, when he’s home) come first.
~My health, including exercise and nutrition (I will never be one of those people who’s working so hard that oops, I forget to eat).
~The cleanliness of my house. I simply can’t clear my head enough to write when I’m surrounded by clutter.
~Reading. I consider it professional development, plus, I really enjoy it.
And there are some things I’m more than happy to let go of in order to get the words down on paper:
~TV, Movies, Magazines. Thank goodness for DVR and Netflix. 🙂
~Hobbies. Once upon a time, I fancied myself a quilter (no, I am not eighty), but that little pastime has kind of gone by the wayside over the last few years.
~My Social Life. If you don’t have a four-year-old who my daughter likes to play with, I’m probably not spending a lot of time with you. Sad but true.
~Social Media. This is a hard one because often it goes hand-in-hand with a successful writing career. BUT, there’s no writing career if there are no complete manuscripts.