Thursday, July 30, 2015

Look! Look! I'm On Time!

I'm posting on a fifth day! Go me!

So this morning, I woke up the same way I always do. Still tired because I'm no longer the morning person I once was, but otherwise generally happy because even in the worst circumstances, I'm a generally happy person. I can find humor in almost anything, and I try to be as laid back as an anxiety-ridden introvert with a penchant for kicking herself can be.

But.

When I wake up, most mornings have a pretty solid routine. In the summer, it looks like this:

Wake up, as quietly as possible. Somehow, my kids seem to have a radar that lets them know when I'm awake, and even if they are still asleep, that radar will wake them up, and then the day begins. Usually, I find it overwhelming, not because I don't enjoy my kids or because I don't love being a mom, but simply because I wasn't ready yet, and ... yall, kids are overwhelming. Especially if they are rambunctious morning people with ADHD and you are not. My kids are both girls; the oldest is eleven and the youngest is six. And they are normal girls; sometimes they wake up happy, and sometimes they wake up just angry to be awake. Either way, they both wake up talking, without fail. So, during the talking and the talking and the talking (no, that's not a typo), I'm usually going through my own routine, which is to tune-it-out-and-pretend-I'm-alone-in-a-beachside-cabin. I check my phone for things I probably shouldn't, like missed calls or texts, emails that may have come during the night, and yes, Facebook. I also check my phone for news updates, the weather forecast, etc. I get "woke up." Checking my phone is like the morning coffee, before I get up and actually need real caffeine.

Usually, I just see regular stuff on Facebook -- you know, cat pictures and funny vines and Aurelia B. Rowl's "daily cute." There's sometimes a little sass from Skye Turner, or something silly/funny from Colleen Hoover. But this morning.

This morning I saw a link from an author that I met at the Tennessee Valley Author Event a few summers ago, a link to her blog where she had posted a message titled, "*%@#ing Life, Man."

She talked about how it had been a while since her last book came out, and how she's been kicking herself for it. She talked about how overwhelmed she was with working her day job, momming her kids, wife-ing her husband, and friending her friends. (Just so you know, momming, wife-ing, and friending are all underlined in my editor right now. Those are apparently not real words, and I just got a popup that says, "Only Beyonce can make up words, duh."*)  I can't even tell you how much that post resounded with my spirit this morning, you guys. I've wondered how to say those same words a thousand times. I've tried to say those words, but never felt like I said them properly. And that same I-want-to-but-it's-so-complicated feeling has been weighing my soul down for so long.

Here's the thing, though. I feel like if she's posting about it, addressing it publicly like that, she's coming to terms with her own pace, and maybe that's what resounded so strongly with me -- because I've been coming to terms with my own pace, too. I've gotten comfortable with my speed. And that doesn't mean I'm happy to not be a book-a-month author, but it means I'm okay with the knowledge that I'm in this for the long haul. This is what I've always wanted to do, and it's what I plan to do for the rest of my life. Why not? It's in my soul. I'll be writing anyway, so publishing is just the natural next step. There will be more books from me. Many, many more.

Someone told me once, in a conversation about writing speed and publishing pace, that most of those quickly written and quickly published books are "fast food writing." They're easy to obtain, often sloppily produced (I mean seriously, have you ever compared a Taco Bell commercial to actual Taco Bell food?), and they don't last long. Now, let me be clear. I'm not anywhere near pretentious enough to think that I'm gourmet, although if any of you want to call it that, I'll be totally flattered. Still, I like to think my writing is at least sit-down quality. It's worth every penny paid for it -- it's well-edited, it's well-covered, and it's a product I'm proud to produce. Each of my books is a product I can stand by. My books look on the inside exactly the way they would on the commercials, if I had commercials.

And if that means you first have to wait at your table for a little while, while I'm producing the product, I like to think we're both okay with that because you want a strong product and I want to give you one. With that in mind, I responded to Faith's link on Facebook with this comment (Be warned, it's a long one. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm wordy.):

You are not alone in this. For me, it's been two years, and I was proud as hell to have gotten a short story done (it's on preorder, what-what! Lol). And I don't even have an outside job. But life happens. My kids got seriously resentful of my writing time because my work took away from my momming. A LOT of other stuff happened. And I ended up with a huge creative block, the kind where you sit in front of the computer and cry, because you desperately need to write, but no words will come. 
I'm just not coming out of it, and it's a good day when I can write a thousand words throughout the day (in 2013, I averaged several thousand on a working day, sometimes as much as 5k). I'm learning to accept that it just isn't going to go fast for me. 
But that's okay, because I'm learning to accept some other truths too. When I first started publishing, there were a lot of really big names I was totally intimidated and impressed by, ones who put out books MONTHLY and had amazing pr and really strong marketing. They somehow knew all the bloggers, and I would literally see their names EVERYWHERE. Well, they are basically gone now. Either they got what they wanted out of it and quit, or they couldn't hack it and quit. Or maybe they burned up whatever talent they had, and it died. I don't know. 
What I do know is that I'm in this for the long haul. This isn't a sprint for me, it's a marathon. And you know what they say: slow and steady wins the race. 
Stop beating yourself up. It's okay to pace yourself so that you can juggle your responsibilities. Besides, loyal readers will forgive it, and new readers are born every day. It'll be alright.

What do you guys think?

*I'm just kidding. That popup didn't happen. I can make up words if I want to. Also, I'm sticking my tongue out defiantly right now.

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