If I knew then what I know now, I don’t think I would have got past the first paragraph of the first draft for Of Fire & Roses. But perhaps my naivety (and possibly pregnancy hormones) worked in my favour.
So at 6 months pregnant, with a toddler and an office job an hour away from my rural home I decided to make number 1 on my bucket list a reality.
Some would call this heroic, others might refer to it as suicidal. “What are you thinking?” Their panicked voices rang out. My answer to that- there are 24 usable hours in every day.
So I embarked on writing the first draft of “Of Fire & Roses”. I was writing when I got up in the morning, during the day and the last thing I would do at night. On the bus on my way to work I had 45 minutes to scribble notes down on any kind of writing material I could find; the back of old envelopes, business cards, old shopping lists, even the odd napkin. In roughly 6 weeks, I had a full manuscript in my hands.
I received my first round of edits from my publisher the day my second daughter came into the world. Throw in a newborn right before my first novel is published and things turn 500 shades of crazy.
It never occurred to me that I might fail. I have discovered if you want something bad enough, you will find a way.
However! That being said, there is a very fine line of doing everything and neglecting your family to the point of breakdown and this is where the balancing act comes in. It took me standing in the driveway of our beach shack at 1.30am when our 8 week old wouldn’t stop screaming, watching my husband drive off with said baby saying I was putting this book before my family.
I shut the laptop lid without a sound, unhooked the Ethernet cable, and re-evaluated my current goals. My babies were growing up before my eyes and I was missing it, not to mention a husband who was not feeling the love.
So how can you have a family AND a writing career?
First and foremost, your family comes first. You don’t want to miss your baby’s first smiles or other milestones because you have your head buried so far into your laptop your counting words in your sleep and burping adverbs.
There are 3 little words that I have printed in 72 point bold on my fridge for when my 2 year old is wailing at me and digging through the pantry at 3pm because she hasn’t had lunch yet.
It. Can. Wait.
The earth won’t stop spinning if you don’t finish that blog post right then and there. Not every single reader that is going to buy the book will do so the second it is released so you don’t have to do everything right now.
Utilise time when no one is around. Get up an hour or two before everyone else. These are golden moments when you can take your time. Have a plan so you know what you are going to do in those moments you do get to work and don’t waste those precious minutes.
Multi-task. God’s gift to you that allows you to do more than one thing at a time.
Finally, and probably most importantly, remember you are a writer, not a blogger. Make time to write. Everyday. Be it 5 minutes or 5 hours. Otherwise you can fall in to the trap of spending all your time writing blogs, trawling Facebook and Twitter and checking rankings when you should be penning your next masterpiece.
So I’ve made my peace with the craziness of life, learnt to chill out and not take everything so seriously. I roll with the punches and with the odd exception, try to take everything in my stride.
So these days, I can usually be found sitting on the lounge, computer resting on my lap, coffee within arms reach, rocking a baby chair with my foot juggling play doh in one hand, sending a text message with the other while using voice dictation on the computer.