Allotment of Hours

I’m beginning to discover that I like a full plate.

Sure, I’ll talk about wishing for more free time, but when it comes right down to it, I feel the most alive and energetic when I’m busy pursuing a dream – the key word being “busy.”

The largest chunks of my time are devoted to kids and housework. That’s my day job, and one that I can’t quit, no matter what other goals I reach for and achieve. That line never gets crossed.

The little bits in between kids and housework are what’s up for grabs. Sometimes I fill it with writing, sometimes with baking and cake decorating. Now and then I’ll take a brief stint into music, sewing, gardening, or decorating.

But either way I slice it, I can’t fill those bits of time with nothing.

This is a good thing, because it means I’m able to accomplish things that a lot of other young moms in my stage in life generally don’t. But it also means that sometimes it comes around to bite me.

Right now, I’m teetering on the edge of deciding to audition for a local production of Fiddler on the Roof. This is one of my very favorite musicals, and one I’ve always wanted to be in. Darren has said he’s willing to support me in this. I’ve been whipping my singing voice back into shape, and I feel that if I do this right, I’ve got a good shot at a main role.

Problem: I have also set a goal to finish a first draft of my novel by the end of the year.

I’m not convinced that novel-writing and musical-acting are mutually exclusive, but with a limited number of hours per week that are mine in which to pursue dreams, I might not be able to make both fit. Or, I might be able to do one mostly well and the other only mediocre.

I’m not interested in ‘mediocre.’ Or even ‘mostly well,’ for that matter. If I’m going to do anything at all, it’s going to be my best work.

So I continue to play a mental see-saw game, doing the math over and over again, and debating with myself over opportunity cost vs. sanity.

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Not So Every Day

News flash: Late third trimester has a wacky personality. One day, I’m knocked out by fatigue, pregnancy aches, and irritability. Twenty-four hours later, I’m all energy and smiles and productivity.

You always hear writing advice from people who say things like, “You have to make writing a priority. Every single day.” And you know what? That’s fantastic advice.

But these days, crashing on the couch during naptime occasionally has to take priority over writing. To say nothing of the daily kid care, dishes, laundry, and meal prep that requires nearly all of my already-waning energy (and doesn’t happen if I don’t do it). Let’s not even talk about all the projects on the To-Do-Before-Baby-Comes list.

These days, I have to accept the fact that writing isn’t as high a priority as many other things. In the very back of my mind, I feel a little guilty, because I feel like I’m just making excuses. Writing is my dream! And I need to work hard and sacrifice to achieve my dreams!

But then I look at the demands on my time, energy, and psyche. I can’t do it all. And if I decide to use this finite amount of energy to provide good meals and clean clothes for my family in these final weeks of pregnancy, then that’s not something to feel guilty about.

The writing isn’t going anywhere. It can wait while I get through this stage. But I can’t put my family on hold.

Time to Write

Every day I think to myself, Today I want to WRITE! And 90% of the time, it just doesn’t happen.

The problem is, there are so many things going on right now that writing is usually the first thing to get pushed to the back burner.

But let’s be honest.

The real problem is that I’m failing to plan ahead and make time to write.

Time is never found. It’s always made.

Case in point – this afternoon I “found” some free time. There were things I knew needed to get done soon, but nothing to be tackled today. I put the kids down for their naps, came downstairs to the computer, and looked at the clock. Ahhh, two hours of writing time! Luxury!

Then I thought of a few quick things that I should take care of on the computer before settling in to write. An email to send, an image to change, a moderation queue to check. . . I looked up at the clock. An hour and a half was gone. Burned away.

Turns out, finding time to write didn’t automatically translate into me writing. Surprise!

Turns out, making time to write has to happen whether you find the time or not. Because if you don’t make it, you can have all the free time in the world and it still won’t happen.