Because When The Camel’s Back Is Breaking, You Should Probably Remove That Straw

Do you guys remember that super awesome plotting system I started using a few months back? Man, I LOVE THAT SYSTEM. It has worked better than anything else I’ve ever tried. I have HALF of a first draft written!

It’s exciting.

It’s rewarding.

It’s…

…half of what I was supposed to have at this point.

Because when I made my drafting schedule, I projected that I would be done with the first draft by my birthday, which was June 18 (happy birthday to meeeeee!).

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And really, I was well on my way to that deadline. Somehow, after a full day of work and a full afternoon/evening with our two small kidlets, I was meeting my writing goals every single night.

Until I wasn’t–

–because the end of the school year is a straight-up nightmare, y’all. It sounds great–half days! no teaching!–but in reality, it is one of the busiest times for teachers.

–because we decided to put our house on the market, which meant suddenly having to throw all the dirty dishes in the freezer and stuff all the laundry under the beds and take the kids somewhere else to nap, tragically forgetting to bring my computer with me. Oh, and I had to take down my wall charts, which really put a cramp in my style.

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Apparently, wall charts are unacceptable when one is selling one’s house. 🙁

–because when both of the above things are happening, it becomes a feat of superhuman effort to keep up with regular housework, errands, cooking, etc.

–because I also had to work on edits for PULL, which, let’s face it, took priority because I signed an actual contract on that one.

Here’s the good news:

ALL of my plans, but especially the writing ones, come with a big fat grain of salt. I create these schedules with the hope that they will actually happen. A schedule gives me a goal, a dream, and when I combine that goal with a sticker system, it is exhilarating to actually move in that direction.

I also need room for the schedule to adapt. And that’s what I’m having to do now.

So instead of focusing on the fact that I have only written half of what I hoped to write by this point, I’m focusing on the 25+/- chapters that are drafted. And I’m calling it a win.

I’m calling it a win because today, I realized something had to change.

I simply cannot take care of my family, pack up everything in my house, coordinate with loan officers / real estate people / contractors / buyers / sellers, gather all the documents needed to actually make this transaction happen, complete edits on PULL, spend time with my friends, make a temporary move to an in-between place while we have work done on the new house, work on things for school in the fall, and write new material.

One of these things had to go. The camel’s back was breaking.

So I’m taking a sabbatical from writing for the rest of the summer. It’s hard to do, because all I can think about is how much writing I COULD be doing. But it has to be done. And that’s okay. Flexibility is okay. Adapting is okay.

IT IS OKAY.

One last thing, and then I promise I’ll be done–

It occurred to me today, as I was making this decision, that I have been comparing myself to the wrong people when it comes to book production. In particular, I was comparing myself to a very lovely and well-known YA writer who has written and edited three books this year.

It is only June.

THREE BOOKS.

And I started to feel like SUCH a failure because I have edited one and halfway written another. That is, like, 1/4 of what she has done.

But then I realized that this girl is single, has no children, and her job is to write books. Like, that is her actual dayjob.

I am married, I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, and I have a dayjob that is not writing. (Even when school is out, my job is “momming.” Not writing.)

Neither of us is in a “better” stage of life. And I’m not saying her life is any easier than mine, because she is VERY busy and important, and I only know her public persona; I really have no idea what she deals with on a daily basis.

But is it fair of me to compare my output to hers when she has 8+ hours a day dedicated to writing, and I have maybe 1 (if I’m lucky)?

Of course not.

That’s when I decided to give myself permission to take a break. Because as much as I’d like for time-turners to actually exist, they in fact do not.

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My bad–they DO exist on Etsy. I should have known.

So here’s to summer, and moving to a wonderful house, and spending time with my family while I send my fictional friends on vacation.

Bon voyage, fictional friends. I’ll see you again in the fall.

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