Monday, June 6, 2011

Weeding, Balancing & Finding Respect

I'm still weeding through edits. I thought I was nearly done, but after "-ly" left, "had" "was" and "-ing" showed up for the party before I could do a read-through and a few other things that would have the manuscript ready to send to my editor for the first time.

So I'm still tweaking and now I'm also trying to find the balance between work and the kids' summer vacation needs. Things I don't normally put too much effort into when I'm home alone (meals, entertainment, etc) have suddenly shown up on the front burner of my priorities.

Ironic too, is that on the days hubby's off work, the kids still holler for ME when they need something or come and hover around my workspace, making noises until they get my attention. I'm the "It Girl" around here it would seem, the Go-To Gal, cause Daddy apparently doesn't know his way around the house. {scoffs}

When this month's issue of RWR (the RWA magazine for members) arrived in the mail Saturday I found a timely article about how to handle and talk about it when the "home crowd" doesn't respect your writing time, when they don't view it as a real career. Love my husband, but he used to sabotage my writing time when I first started taking it seriously. I'd wanted to be a writer all my life, and I'm sure I'd told him over first few years we were married that I wanted to be a writer, but I never really SHOWED him that I meant it until we'd been together 5 years.

At that point, I'm pretty sure he thought I'd just decided to find a hobby, so any time I was writing he felt free to interrupt with a question or a funny story or something he thought I'd find cool or informative that had nothing to do with what I was working on. If I got up from the computer to start supper, he'd slip right in my seat and go online to look at other things of interest to him before I could come back and save my work. Sure he'd leave my file up, but he'd be online for hours, disregarding my need to get back to work.

I'd had other people in my life make me feel like it was a pipe dream, something not worth the endeavor cause it would be too hard and made me feel like I was incapable of accomplishing it. There were times when I'd want to talk to hubby about a storyline or the ideas I had and he'd change the subject and talk about movies, video games and sports, leaving me with the distinct feeling I had a saboteur in my midst. What support system did I have if not my own husband?

If it wasn't him interrupting me, it was the guilt gnawing at my gut that I wasn't taking care of my "real" job as a homemaker, wife and mother. I've known I was a writer in my heart for years, but it took me a long time to say "I AM a writer" instead of "I WANT to be a writer." It's probably also the reason it took hubby so long to see it as "real" too.

I'm thankful for my mom and my best friends and my fellow writers for keeping me going even when I doubted it all. Every now and then, hubby slips and forgets when I'm working that other stuff can wait till I'm done, but now it's the kids I have to contend with.

Summer vacation is here and that should mean I devote all my time to keeping them entertained. They have a "Mommy should drop everything and do stuff for us" mentality that I can't seem to shake off of them. They're proud of me for being a writer, this much I know, but the reality of what that means hasn't hit them yet.

For the past several years that I've been pursuing my writing seriously, I've told them time and again that "if" I became a contracted author, sometimes they'd have to entertain themselves on breaks and in the summertime while I got work done. They have toys, books, movies, favorite tv shows, etc. I wouldn't have an "office" away from home, so I need them to respect my work time. I want them to SEE me work hard at something so they're encouraged to do the same when they find something they love to do.

Well, I'm a contracted author now, but it's still not sunk in yet. I still have trouble getting them to see that they can do things independent of me and that certain things can wait sometimes until I get work I HAVE to do done, so we can do things together that we WANT to do. We do have ALL summer, but I have a deadline to think about, too.

Think I'm going to have to make a plaque to hang outside the bedroom/office door that says—

Work In Progress
~Knock Before Entering~
~Do NOT Disturb~
(unless it's an Emergency)

I try to laugh this off, but I hope to find the balance I need and see a shift in respect as time goes on.

Have a great day!

1 comment:

Devon Matthews said...

Taryn, I hear ya. Been contending with everything you described for the past fifteen years. When I was published and needed to work on the next book, same old story with everyone around me. It changed nothing. I've concluded that the ONLY thing that will make anyone sit up and take notice, or take me seriously, is a big fat royalty check.