I’ve had a LOT of jobs.
From starting as a salad girl at a pizza place, moving up to a car hop, waitress, cashier, bird’s specialist, veterinarian assistant, selling books, managing stores, working as a travel agent, and somehow falling into writing, I know how hard work can be sometimes. This time of year is filled with hope and family and laughter and fun, but it can also hold a lot of stress and pressure.
Trying to fit everything in is difficult because this seems to be the time of year when everyone wants to be in everyone’s business. From decorations to get togethers and bigger celebrations there never seems to be enough time to do everything.
I usually take a writing hiatus in December for this very reason. It gives me time to step back and just be a regular person. There’s no worrying over deadlines, finishing that last edit, and submitting to publishers, agents, or publications at the end of the year is not the best idea anyway.
This year is different. I’ve decided to drive myself further into madness and continue working on my stories, not because I have more time, quite the opposite really.
As my kids grow they need more. I somehow ended up coaching my youngest’s basketball team which is awesome and crazy and I’m surprisingly good at it. In addition to this new activity, my eldest made it into the cast of the St. Louis Ballet production of The Nutcracker. These are all great things.
I love nothing more than helping make other people’s dreams come true, especially my children’s. So I’ve taken on the addition volunteer responsibilities that come with this. Oh and did I mention that I’m pregnant. Baby #3 is the last little one, but yeah all the fun of growing a baby is added on too.
And that’s my main reason. I’m powering through the flurry of insanity this month so I can get as much done as possible before I have to take off for baby time. Those first few weeks with your kid are so important and I don’t want to have to worry about finishing my latest novel or whether or not my edits were accepted. Once baby #3 is here (fingers crossed for a happy healthy road to delivery) I’ll be more focused on my family and bonding with not only the latest addition to our family, but helping my older kids bond too.
All the work I’ve done in the past has paid off. No matter if a story met success or not, I have always been able to grow and learn from everything I worked for. That speaks worlds to me.
So while I’m singing carols and keeping up with family and friends, I’m setting aside time to write and make sure that I don’t get off track. An hour a day is all it takes. I’ve never been afraid to sacrifice sleep or “me time” (me time… is that a real thing?) for my goals.
Writers don’t know how lucky they are. We get to decide to take time off or switch to a different project when needed. My technical writing at work is a bit more demanding, but utilizing my hour lunch break to squeak in writing time or run errands when I need to is how I balance it all out. I have even been known to take the occasional “car nap.”
No matter what the process or annual writing quirks, finding what works for you and your limited time is important. I plan to get back to my usual December hiatus next year, but right now I have 2 novels, a slew of short stories, and children’s work that needs tending. The hope is to have all of these projects wrapped up and at least set aside when the kiddo comes, but if not I will have to put it on hold for a while.
Balancing family and work is never easy. People without kids have it hard enough. Life just keeps moving and publishing won’t stop and wait for you, but the work always pay off and if you place things just right, you can fit it all in in its season.
I love this month!