The Rush

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a longtime friend and critique partner about my current work-in-progress. Okay, mostly I was spouting off about finishing the first draft. I wanted to complete the first revision by May, but I wasn’t sure if I’d have time. I had a revision to finish on another novel. I had this. I had that. But May—it had to be May.

I prattled on for five minutes before she stopped with me a laugh. One that was certainly not ‘with’ me, but ‘at’ me. It’s not the first time she’s laughed at me (we have 27 years of friendship between us—I’ve done a lot of things to laugh ‘at’ in that time). But her laugh made me stop and ask why.

“What’s the hurry?” she asked. “Why May?”

Well, I don’t know. I’m not under any deadline. It’s not like the world will implode should it take me until June to finish. Or July. Or 2017.

It’s simply that I feel this need to hurry. To rush. Because…I like stressing about it?

I’ve seen this feeling in my fellow writers. That we must hurry. I’m not talking about writers under deadline, but writers like me—who write because of love or because they hope to have deadlines in the future but don’t presently.

Why do we rush? And, perhaps more importantly, is that a good thing?

Sometimes we’re rushed by passion. The drive to get the words down, the story concluded, the characters to their happily ever after (or wherever they are going). A rollercoaster, skydiving, cliff jumping, desire-and-fervor adrenaline rush.

But there’s another kind of rush. The one that makes me feel guilty if I don’t put down new words every day. Where I fear there isn’t enough time. A rush that makes me set arbitrary deadlines for no reason other than this panic that I’ll somehow be late.

It’s a fine line—rush vs. rush. Passion vs. fear.

I’ll take the passion. But for the other kind of rush, I need to let it go. Maybe the novel will be drafted by May. Maybe it won’t. Between now and then, I’ll hang on and let the rollercoaster drive me forward. And when that other rush nips at me, I’ll remember Junot Díaz’s brilliance:

Books are not people. They are never late to the party. It doesn’t make any difference, early or late, as long as you get it done.

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Shoot! I had a name a moment ago… by E.D. Vaughn

“Momma, I can’t find anything to drink. Can you make some tea?”

That would be where my thoughts get stopped in their tracks.  I adore my TeenRex beyond belief, but lately I cringe when I hear her voice. Have you ever had one of those days that as soon as your butt hits the cushion the questions start? Continue reading

Writing is a Green-Eyed Monster When Faced Against My Life by Kate DeHart

Last night my husband spent the night at the ER for pain that ended up being kidney stones. Ouch! What does this have to do with writing you ask? Bear with me, because this might be a windy explanation.

Many years ago, I was a young girl that liked stories. Somewhere on that journey, I got the message, my imagination was a waste of time. Spending time living in other worlds wasn’t  worthy, and at some point my passion for exploring my interests got snuffed out. So I got on with all the things a normal teenager does. Dragging myself to school, reading what I was told to, and other high-schooly things. Continue reading

Six-year-old-glasses

There’s writing, and then there’s life. I don’t know about you, but I struggle to find a balance. Either I’m writing, my house is a mess, laundry’s piling everywhere, and we’re eating sandwiches for dinner. OR I’m not, my house is clean, I’m making recipes from my favorite food blogger, and not a stitch of laundry can be found in the whole house.  (Okay, that last bit is a small exaggeration.  That never really happens.)

 

Anyway, I once saw a meme that spoke to my heart.

marry

 

Luckily, I married a man who understands me, and knows I’m happiest when I’m creating. But that doesn’t mean I don’t harbor guilt for it! What I really want, is to be the perfect mother, wife, and writer.  Is that so much to ask?

 

The problem is, my best writing happens in silence. I have three kids. Silence doesn’t just happen for me. I usually have to find it in the wee hours of the night. Which means, if you’re reading this, I’m a very tired mama.

 

And then… life happens. It’s not like in my twenties where I could stay up late,  sleep all morning, and roll out of bed for my afternoon shift. My little ones still need to eat. School still needs to happen, I have to take them to sports, music, dance, and whatever else they’re doing at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a mom. If I had to choose between the two, my mommy life would win every time. I just wish I could find a balance between the two.

 

So what do I do? I get out a pen and paper and begin writing out a schedule. Yeah, cause schedules always do wonders for my creativity. (Insert dramatic eye-roll here) But it’s almost 2015. Its time to make new goals for yourself, right?

Here’s what that schedule looked like:

 

Monday: Catch up on laundry

Tuesday: Bathrooms/ ”Help” kids clean their rooms.

Wednesday: Busy-list-of-nothing-extra-ever-gets-done-on-Wednesdays

Thursday: Two hours writing between 10pm and 12am. MUST SLEEP.

Friday: Busy, busy, busy. Hang out with hubby. Laundry.

Saturday/Sunday: Family time. Laundry.

 

Then December happened…how does that saying go?  All the best laid plans? Anyway, like for so many, for us it’s the busiest month of the whole year. There’s parties, shopping, baking, crafting, and all those other wonderful, time consuming things we do. One night we were off to yet another party, and I was curling my six year old daughter’s hair. She was standing on a stool in front of my vanity, admiring herself in the mirror. Really genuinely admiring herself, and turned to me and said. “Mom, how did you get so good at everything?”

 

What? Me? Is she freaking serious? I still haven’t gotten dressed for the day. I probably won’t even take a shower. How can she possibly think that of me? But she does…

 

“I’m not good at everything, baby.”

 

“Yes you are. You know how to do hair, and makeup, and cook, and write books…”

 

Her list went on, and my eyes progressively welled over with tears. When she looks around our house, she doesn’t see the mess that I see. She sees her home. When I set a grilled cheese in front of her for dinner, she thinks she just won the lottery, not that Mommy has failed to provide the most perfect balance of nutrition.  When I put on red lipstick, she thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the world.  And when she sees me typing away on my little laptop, I AM a writer. Not just a wanna be one. I’m a good one.

 

So what’s my resolution for the year? To stop making schedules. To stop measuring my life to things I see on Facebook, and Pinterest, and to look at my life a little more through six-year-old glasses.  Because life is too darned short. Because I don’t even know if I WANT to be perfect, and because I look damned good in red lipstick.

 

And my wish for the rest of you in 2015? That you will find your pair of six-year-old-glasses, and put them on a little more often. Happy New Year everyone! I hope all your hopes and dreams come true!


poor eyesight girl wearing glasses isolated on white