Monday, September 19, 2011

What A Difference 5 Years Makes...

Picking up the kids after school, I said to Ellie, "Hi, cutie!". Not wanting to leave Jefferson out, I turned to him and also said, "Hi, cutie!" He walked by me mumbling in a disgusted voice, "I'm not that cute, mom."  

Bwah ha ha! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Midlife Adjustments

Both of my kids are in school full-time now. This means that my job, such as it has been for the past 10 years, has changed. Before I was an on-call stay-at-home-mom, with a few breaks here and there, maybe a couple of hours for preschool, but nothing major. Now, suddenly, I own my time again. At least big chunks of it.

And it's taking some adjusting. At first it seemed like it was an incomprehensibly large swath of time, and that I would not only be able to get my work projects done, but would also be able to deep-clean the house and get to the things I'd been putting off for years, like the baby books. Only that hasn't happened yet. I'd be able to get to the gym for at least an hour every day, with plenty of time left over to get all the household errands done, as well as a little window-shopping in stores I haven't set foot in since I had kids. That hasn't happened yet, either.

Don't get me wrong - I have time. A lot more than I used to. It's just not as much as I thought it would be. Or, namely, I've once again overestimated what I am capable of getting done in a 7-hour time span. Part of this may be due to time management skills that, well, could use some improving. But I'm not watching TV during the day. I'm not wasting hours on Facebook games anymore (although I am still on Facebook far too often and probably DO spend more time than I realize playing Words With Friends).

What am I doing? A few hours of eBaying - and it takes longer than I think it should, all the collecting and photographing and photo editing and description writing and listing creating and packaging finding and label printing and shipping... On a good day I've gotten 10 listings up. Most days, fewer. I'm "supposed to" be writing one to two days a week, as well. "Supposed" being my word, but I did declare to my husband I was going to do it, and I want to do it. Luckily a writing conference this weekend has actually spurred me on, and I've spent at least 5 hours working on my story this week... and cranked out 2500 words. That's it. Apparently most novels are 80,000+. Eek.

So right now I'm feeling as if I'm trying to do a lot of things, and not doing any of them particularly well. It has occurred to me today that perhaps the goal should be to make enough money to hire someone ELSE to clean my house and maintain my yard, because I don't seem to be making them a priority. Why scrub the floor when I could be listing items online and potentially making money?

What I dislike most is feeling at loose ends. Wondering if I'm spending time in decent ways. Wondering and feeling as if I ought to be doing it differently, but not knowing - yet - what that would mean. I'm not even taking time to socialize and hang out with other moms. I'm not really shopping much - not leisure shopping, at least, except for Friday mornings when I hit the garage sales searching for cheap treasures to sell high on eBay.

I dislike the frantic feeling. I need to learn that I can't do everything at once. I can, as the quote goes, do SOMETHING at once, however. It's O.K. to focus on one thing at a time. It's BETTER to focus on one thing at a time. And I may have to make some choices. Do I focus more on the selling career? Do I stop it and focus on writing? Do I find a balance and do a little of each, knowing that results will take longer to appear?

I had made up a daily schedule, but don't really seem to be following it as well as I thought I would. Maybe generally, yes, in that Tuesdays I list on eBay and Wednesdays I've been writing. It hasn't helped that I've been sick, and have spent some of this "free time" in bed. But, oh, the luxury of being able to do so - of being able to crawl in bed and just sleep when I'm not feeling well, instead of having to try to entertain and take care of little people who don't give a hoot about the state of my health.

It's only September. It's only mid-September, at that. This change will last the rest of my life (summers not included, of course). And it will only get worse, in a manner of speaking - the kids will need me less and less, they will eventually go off to college and have their own lives and own families. It's weird to think that. It's such a change from the intensity of the early years of mothering.

Hopefully by the time my kids are grown-ups I'll have figured out this time-balancing thing. But I kind of doubt it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Writer's Block

I'm attending a writing workshop tomorrow. I'm excited and nervous. I feel as if I'm boldly proclaiming "World, I want to be a Writer" - while doing so passively sitting and absorbing information.

Now that the kids are both in school, I'm supposed to be dedicating at least one day to writing. "Supposed" being my language, but my husband is, um, 'heavily encouraging' this. I know he is truly supportive, but I also know he truly has fantasies that I will write a novel that makes us rich.

That kind of pressure isn't helping my anxiety, which has already come back with leaps and bounds. I guess it's one thing to always say I want to write, while feeling that that was somewhere down the line, and another to actually DO it.

I could fail. Spectacularly. I could succeed. Even spectacularly. Both options are scary. But it's time to stop saying I want to do it or I'm going to do it someday, and do it now. I need to commit to writing EVERY DAY, whether on my book, on other writing ideas, on my blog, whatever - I just need to do it to get over this paralyzing fear.

Step One is attending the workshop tomorrow. Being willing to introduce myself to other writers. Networking. Step Two is writing. Write for me. Write because I love it (and I do). Write without worrying about whether anybody is ever going to read it, or whether it's any good, or whether I'll ever be published. Write for me.

Another book I'm reading, entitled "The Digital Mom Handbook," emphasizes you can create a digital career through blogging about your passion. So, they say, figure out your passion. This is a lot harder than it seems. I have enthusiasm for a lot of things - genealogy, history, German, food, music, language. I get really excited about genealogy and eBay and chocolate and romance novels. How to turn those into something lucrative?

Can I blog about my process of becoming a writer? Do I want to?

I guess it doesn't matter in the end if I use discovering my passion to write a blog - or write a novel. It's clear to me that the written word and playing with language fuel me like almost nothing else. Except sugar. Only that's an artificial fuel, and probably not worth blogging about beyond what I already fess up to here regarding my addiction to it.

What's your passion?