How To Do It All (& Stay Sane)

For those of you who have more than one responsibility, of which writing tries to be a member, let me clear something up.

( + stay sane)

When my daughter was born, I was in free-fall.  Who was I? What was I supposed to do?  How did I continue wife-ing, + author-ing, in addition to mothering??  I had a LOT of heartache + confusion to battle through, which took me years.  Y E A R S, people.  It was not easy.  I used to write all the time, whenever I felt like it.  Now I couldn't do that.  Was I still a writer?  Was I doing my vocation a disservice?  Would my writing genius DIE??

Try to tell me you haven't worried about this too.  You have a socially-accepted "job," or children, or you're in school - whatever: there are "other things" that you view as taking up your time + not allowing you to write.  Am I right?

yes, + we're wrong

Here's the problem with this way of thinking: no one has a "full-time job" I know I tell people, "Yeah, being a mother is it's own full-time job," + you all get what I mean.  But it's not.  Nothing is a full-time job.  Except breathing.  Breathing is a full-time job.  You do not do any one job constantly.  Every job requires breaks, even if all you can do in those breaks is rest - that's okay too.  But the key, I've found, is to get rid of this mentality of "full-time" + "part-time" jobs.  All jobs take their time, + very few lives are going to have everything cordoned off into neat, symmetrical packages of time so that no one task feels cheated.  That's just ridiculous.  All jobs take their time.

linear vs. integral 

"to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven"

As Westerners, we tend to take a linear view of our lives, continuing from Point A (birth) to Point B (death), with little tics along the way that highlight the customary milestones of a normal existence.  As useful as this view may be, it isn't the only view.

My own butt-hurt regarding my writing was alleviated by the thought that my work (mothering, being a wife, keeping a house, being a writer) are not strictly separate "jobs," but rather "gears" that are interlocked.  It takes awhile to get the gears all in place, so chill out, guys.  I can't do all my jobs together at the same time, but neither do I have to chop them up and hermetically seal them off from each other.  They can interlock.  Perhaps writing-time links with nap-time (not always, but I see that it's possible), etc.  When one gear is cranked away, another can come into view.  The tasks can be integrated.

Whoever you are, whatever you're doing, chances are you're not writing all the time, + you probably feel guilty when you're not focusing on writing.  Don't.  Everything has a time, everything has a purpose; you can forget about such things as "full-time jobs" + the ridiculous mental pressure applied by society on that concept.  You still have your job cut out for you: you still have to figure out how to match your gears; but you needn't feel guilty.  You needn't feel that you're cheating your creative self because you have other responsibilities as well.

there is no writing utopia

practical advice: replace "should" with "need" + "want"

This was a hugely useful piece of mental health advice I discovered.  "Should" is usually a harbinger of undue guilt, whereas "need" + "want" help clarify an issue.  Exempli gratia: I "want" to go clean the kitchen, but I actually "need" to rest.  This puts everything in perspective.  Try it!  Sometimes what we want to do seems like the best thing (cleaning the kitchen is always a good thing, ehwot??), but isn't actually the necessary thing.  I don't always want to write, you guys.  Writing is stressful + hard.  Writing means I have to think.  Thinking is exhausting.  Sometimes it's easier to just not do the writing, + sometimes I have to tell myself that what I need to do is sit my butt down + work on my manuscript.

remember: your only full-time job is breathing

thanks for still breathing!
xoxo, jenny

Adamantine Snippets! (Hip Hip Hurray!)

The current manuscript of Adamantine is 43,618 words.  I thought it was bigger than that.  X____x  I forget that the time I spend thinking + procrastinating about the novel doesn't actually contribute to the wordcount.

bah humbug

But recently I've been on a roll, which is HUGELY ENCOURAGING TO YOURS TRULY, & now I've got some goodies to share with you!  I've mostly got past the big language barrier problem now, & that's definitely helped smooth the plot along.  I mean, I can still hardly see where I'm going in the dark, but at least I can yell coherently while I'm careening down the edge of the abyss, ehwot??

baby snippets of which i am pwoud

The Good Dog gave no explanation for its sudden disappearance, but, when I was able to crawl out into the sunshine, it rejoined me in mid-bound, materializing as a black sickle leaping from rock to rock and closing the distance between us. I put my weight against a stone for support, to catch my breath and to catch a sense of relief that I was still alive and that my wounds were yet minor. The Good Dog landed beside me with all the noise of a leaf falling to earth and something in my chest seemed to leap out to meet it, as a soul springing to embrace another.

I heard a wordless noise of scorn from the Emerald Jewel, which carried across our languages with silk-smooth transliteration.

The Good Dog sank down on his haunches beside me, watching as I also watched. A thin, particularly cold wind sluiced up the brook's depression, ruffling the long, soft hairs in his ears so that they caught the light and turned translucent, elongating into silver gossamer that the wind continually snipped off in tiny drifting threads. I leaned against the bulk of his shoulder and hid my abused cheek in his fur. So close to him, I could see the swell and fade of minute orange flame-veins in every hair, lighting as he breathed, turning down like a lamp as the great breath flushed from his nostrils.

A shrill whistle dropped my awareness downward; the Emerald Jewel had paused on the track, turned to look up at me frozen against the skyline. "Come, kitty," she ordered; "or did you also learn cowardice from the blue dux?"

The Roman Orchid shot her a wicked look. The bubble was starting to form again, with the concentric moons: one was perfectly aligned in the fairy's left eye, and gave him a rabid appearance. "Yes, I resent," he replied venomously. "We slaughtered a life of good cloth for this--this worthless stillborn whelp. You saw! She could not even scream, with her maggoty face bloated with terror. She handles the reindeer like a drunk. And yet we suffer her to live," he concluded.
To my shock, the Emerald Jewel laughed softly, under cover of a pitch-smoky gust of wind, and replied, "I heard you say yourself, this is what you get when you make deals with devils. She may indeed be trampled by the deer one day, or swallowed by a forest-spirit, but for my part," again she shrugged, "I am willing to whip some trail out of her before she expires."
The Roman Orchid flicked out the fingers of both hands, as if throwing the whole business away. "Let the foolishness rest between your feet, then," he drawled. "You carry the cloth; don't come yelping to me if it hurts."

There I made my error. My hand went out unthinkingly to the nearest stem; at the same instant, the Good Dog exploded into fullest, most solid form around me. My right shoulder seized as his supernatural jaws clamped over them, wrenching back - simultaneously, and then overwhelmingly, my hand gripped a whorl of leaves and red, searing agony rammed into the palm of my hand like an imitation crucifix. Every bone in my body shuddered stiff like ramrods, my own jaw grit down so that the only sound I made was a horrible suffocating squeal like an animal being pressed out under a rock. Black spots, blue auras, sudden flashes of orange light, crashed through my eyes and filled my head until I had the galaxy warring in my skull.

Sounds like fun??  What a relief to be able to include dialogue! XD I'm pretty pleased with where I'm headed, even if I'm not sure how to get there.  I hope you enjoyed the snippets, anyhow!

until next time, cheerio!
xoxo, jenny