I have come to the conclusion that unless a writer has super powers or a clone, she just can’t get it all done and write a second novel that’s worth a dime in the summer time. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. It IS done and the reality is I don’t know how writers manage to raise well-adjusted children, keep a spouse or romantic partner happy and still have the time to write, publish, and market a novel. And bounce back fast enough post-publication and sane enough to finish the second book in a few months. All during the summer months, mind you. What drives these prolific authors? These writers tend to pay their taxes on time, they run for PTA positions, hold full-time jobs, and run a cottage industry at home while they write. How the heck do they do it?
Yes, I realize that organization, focus and discipline are key here. But if you believe their Facebook and Pinterest pages, these authors also manage to make basil butter, tend an organic garden and exercise every day to keep up their amazing bodies, raise goats and chickens, and that writer isn’t me. Unfortunately, when I write, I write all day long. When I garden, I get all into it, and when I research, the world disappears for me. I seem to be an all or nothing writer. A one-thing-at-a-time writer which isn’t a good plan as life will always manage to get in the way…in my way. I know this. But when I do have a large block of time for writing—watch out.
Blogging seems to be the only activity I can do for an hour and leave well alone. That is, unless I read other author blogs. That seems to be the issue today. Not that I don’t enjoy reading author and agent blogs, I do. But I read author blogs a couple times a week, which leads me to their websites, which leads me to their books, which leads me to Goodreads; to their agent’s page or blog, which leads me to researching the agent to see if they accept historical fiction, which has led me to rewriting my query letter and sending said query letter to said agent if they’re interested in my genre of historical fiction. This morning, this path led me to ordering the 2016 Writer’s Digest of Literary Agents which led me to checking out other books Amazon has recommended because of my buying history (which includes my own), which led me to checking my reviews (which I know I shouldn’t read, but they make me happy), and then I wondered where my recent book order was. I checked the mailbox next to my front door, and discovered the black mailbox is old and coming away from the brick, which led me to Home Depot where all bets were off. I am back home decorating, doing laundry, and simplifying my life by throwing out things that no longer serve me, which I know will lead to good feelings which will help me finish my manuscript that I haven’t touched all day.
My daughter and her boyfriend arrive tonight for a weekend visit, so now I must wash bed linen, towels, get to the supermarket, and put dinner together. I LOVE their visits, so I must push away from the writing chair shortly to enjoy them and our time together. Family time is precious to me. Last weekend, my best friend, two cousins, and my youngest sister joined me at my river place for the much-needed reunion weekend and we had a wonderful time together. It’s summer for goodness sake! Why do I torture myself so much?
I’m not too hard on myself for two reasons: I live alone, I need adult company, and everything involved maintaining a household, a running car, and paying bills, falls on my shoulders. THAT is the reality of it, folks. Some days, I am sharp as a tack and some days life gets in the way; with blessings, mind you, but interruptions abound. Today I am distracted and feel pulled in many directions; mostly what I need to get done at home so that my life runs smoothly which will enable me to write guilt-free, and enjoy my daughter’s visit. A little while ago, I realized I accomplished more in one day when I was married and had children at home. Why? Because I had to. I had limited time and I knew it. I made great use of my time and got a lot accomplished. Now that I have all the time in the world as a single lady with no children living at home…it’s harder. Unless I’m totally immersed. Unless I have a plan.
Despite hating routine, I am going back to setting a writing goal with a set amount of words per day. I must be hard on myself, even during the summer months when I know I’ll be distracted.
I know! I need a list. And God knows how much I love writing lists. Yet another distraction, you say?
So when my friends ask me who the perfect man for me would be, I joke, “He must be family-oriented; wealthy as hell; robust, healthy, and fun; very handy around the house; he must have a drivers license and car; must love animals, road trips and international travel; must love reading, and it wouldn’t hurt if he were a big name publisher with a ginormous marketing team.” See what I did there? I wrote another list.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Puerto Rican-born novelist Eleanor Parker Sapia was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s life experiences as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker inspire her passion for writing. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago a second time.
A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s bestselling historical novel, is the July 2015 Book of the Month selection for the national organization Las Comadres & Friends Book Club. It is described as “…a true work of historical depth and artistry.” Eleanor has two adventurous, grown children and currently lives in wild and wonderful West Virginia.
Visit Eleanor at http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com.