The Balancing Act of an Aspiring Author

May 13, 2010

This week, I finished my outline for the travel memoir I'm working on, and I’m telling you, ladies and gents, that whole Freemind tool is one of the coolest outlining helps ever. Added to this busy-ness was my first Mother’s Day (yay for moms! and for me I guess…), a teething baby, a change in my work schedule, and the discovery that five of the oldest kids at New Life International Children’s Home in Ghana are going to high school. This includes Michael, an amazing kid I’m very close to. In Ghana going to high school isn’t a given, it’s a rare privilege you have to work hard for, and it’s expensive.

And most of all this week, I’ve had a dilemma of the writing sort.

I’ve always written. Literally, always. I was composing pages of careful circles by the time I was just under a year old, and been writing actual stories since elementary school. And I’ve always assumed that someday, I would be published and be a real author. When I took a writing class this previous winter, I began to learn about the publishing industry, and realized there’s more to it than just mailing my book to a publisher. Over the months, I gave myself a crash course on the entire industry and what I need to do. Reading, networking, querying, marketing, conferencing, blogging, Twittering…oh, and writing.

I’m a little on the obsessive side, and I began to do all of this in earnest. So much in earnest, that it began to eat into my personal life and my writing joy. Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy all of this stuff too, and it has its place. But I was focusing on it too much, and I had to remind myself yet again that I don’t have to do it all at once. I can take it slow. So I took several days off– minimal tweeting, blogging, blog-reading, not even writing a single word. I focused more on the rest of my life– my husband, my baby, my work, the impossibly messy house, and my other neglected hobbies.

And you know what? It was awesome.

I’m ready to go back to writing. And blogging, and twittering, and all that other junk. Just slower this time. I don’t have to read every single agent blog out there every day, or make sure to connect with all of my Twitter peeps every few hours. Because I don’t have to be published tomorrow. Or even next year.

Will it mean any less if my first book is published when I’m 36 than when I’m 26? I doubt it. In fact, it’ll probably be a much better book, and I’ll probably have decidedly fewer gray hairs. I think that’s something we can all get behind.


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