I’ve had years of excuses. Two kids, just shy of twenty months apart. A move from California to Colorado. Buying a home. Renovating. Teaching French. Seeing patients. Laundry. Volunteer work. Cooking meals. Cleaning the house. Laundry … every month or two, those thirty seconds where all the clothes and linens in the house are clean and put away are some of the most liberating moments of my life. And yes, I realize this is pathetic. But I digress….
All these “excuses” are real, important. And all of them result in my writing being put on the back burner. Despite my mind churning over ideas, turns of phrase, dialogue exchanges, beginnings, endings, scenes that I desperately want to put to page but never manage to do.
Enough excuses. My youngest started kindergarten last fall. I suddenly have time, real actual time, on my hands. So last September, I made this commitment: Write. One hour, each day. It seemed unrealistic. Pre-kids, I’d been a writer that needed huge blocks of time to get into it and be productive. One hour wouldn’t cut it. I needed a full day at a coffee shop. A late night sustained by wine and adrenaline. With my new, overly busy life, writing was a luxury that I couldn’t afford.
But I knew I needed to try something different. Because there was a hole in my soul; the soul that desperately needs to put these stories to page.
So I tried. One hour a day. And … it worked for me. The flame of passion was reignited. I became, once again, a productive writer. Sometimes, it was just an hour. An incredibly productive and exhilarating hour. When the day allowed, the hour turned into two or three, four. Despite the depleted energy that momhood and my other duties left me with, I found myself writing after the kids went to bed and long after I usually turned in.
And now – I’ve got a pretty polished draft of my YA novel – First Times and Second Chances.
Revising was fun. Revising was exasperating. The bones of this story were exhumed from a story I wrote when I was fourteen. It’s gone through many a metamorphosis over the past eight or so years. I changed the setting – much needed – from a summer camp to a French immersion program. I brought it up to speed with the modern world of technology, social media, and savvy teens. I killed darlings. So many darlings (I’m so sorry, Sophie, I hope to see you again in some other book). Twenty thousand words got hacked out, and the novel is so much better for it.
And now… I love it. I’m proud of this book. Even if it goes nowhere, I think I did something great with it.