Get your head out the gutter! LOL!
I mean the many balls I’m responsible for balancing in my life.
When I was in eighth grade, I signed up for a class to learn how to juggle socks filled with rice. Three balls. I never got that good at it. Then again, after a few weeks I gave up practice. Oh yeah, I could handle two balls just fine, but add the third????
For the past seventeen years, the balls I’ve juggled have been being a wife and a mother. Nearly two years ago I added a third, author. Ball number three. And so, here we go again. Except this time, I’m not giving up. Practice, practice, practice, revamp and revise and practice, practice, practice. It’s a never ending cycle, one I’m sure all fellow authors, seasoned, new and aspiring, have in common. A few weeks ago, I dropped one of those balls and my health made me pay for it. I was down for nearly two weeks, dragging myself to maintain my household and not doing a thing with my MS. Now that I’m feeling better, it’s time to pick up the dropped ball, and learn a new way juggling act.
So what does that mean?
I can’t always say yes to my kids. Running around trying to keep them happy, thinking that it will help my sanity is wrong. They are not babies, they are old enough to entertain themselves and find creative and constructive uses of their time. Okay, playing Runescape online all day is NOT the proper use of time, lol, so of course they still have to be monitored. Music, art, reading and writing and refresher courses in math are all things I need to make sure my kids are doing. None of those involve me running around like chicken with my head cut off. Not only will they keep them busy, it will also help them become better at their crafts and also have a better start to school. (Bring on August 8th!!!!!!!)
In my household, we all have a roll. My husband has been telling for quite some time now that I need to stop acting like I have to do everything myself, I need to designate responsibilities. Now that my kids are getting older (one has 2 years left before leaving for college, another starting high school and the younger two in the fourth and fifth grade) it’s time for them to take a more active roll in contributing to the taking care of the house instead of just living here. They’ve always had chores to do, instead of it being hit and miss, they know it’s the way to start the day. Once those things are done, practice and reading come next. Once that is done, they have the rest of the day to themselves. Saying ‘no’ means so what if you want to go to the movies, so what if you want to hang out in the street all day because your bored. There’s plenty of stuff to do at home. If you want to see your friends work that out. Make arrangements, catch a ride, make them catch a ride. Don’t expect me to drop everything I’m doing to run you and your friends around all the time. If it’s not something that’s been planned and I don’t exactly feel up to it, I’m not pushing myself anymore. That’s what put me down for two weeks.
I’ve also started teaching my oldest daughter how to cook dinner. It was wonderful to see her willing to step up, determined to prepare dinner for the family on her own without my help. She’s gotten pretty good at making several dishes, spaghetti, fajitas, green bean casserole and she can put together a mean salad! It’s been great being able to tell her what to do and keep an eye on her and still have a well planned and cooked meal with out driving myself crazy.
And of course when it comes to my writing….I’ve had to revamp that again too. It took me thirty days to hand write my MS. Now that it’s done it’s time to start edits. Here’s where I made a mistake. I don’t have a typed up, digital copy of my MS, just the outline. I’ve been taking a week, typing up a chapter and then following my outlined process for editing before moving on to the next. It’s been a month and I’ve just finished editing chapter four.
My husband and cousin lovingly pointed out to me this weekend that my momentum is slowing down. The last thing I want to do is see it come to a halt. So I’ve now put off editing until I have typed up the full MS. Twenty-one chapters should be done in the next two weeks. I’ll be starting on chapter eight today. No editing allowed during the typing, just straight up from paper to screen, one chapter a day, averaging thirteen to twenty-one pages a piece. So far, I’ve gotten one-hundred-twenty-five pages completed at over 30,000 words. Not bad. Once that is completed, I’ll go back and begin my chapter-by-chapter edits again.
What can I say, make improvements once you’ve made mistakes. It’s the only way we learn.
On a good note, I asked my cousin, who is not a romance reader, to read the first three chapters I’d already edited to get her opinion. Even though romance is not the typical book she’d pick up and read, if the story is good enough, she’ll read it. I honestly didn’t expect her to read more than those three chapters. She read five, marched down stairs, put her hand on her hip, mad that I didn’t have any more chapters typed up. She really likes it! No, she’s not saying that because we’re family, because she’s read other stories I’ve written before and has had no problem telling me that hey, this doesn’t seem realistic enough, or gotten visibly bored before finishing the first chapter. Not this time. She’s loving the characters and the plot.
If I can get her hooked, I know I’ve got something good in my hands.