I’ve had a pretty hectic year. Not so much as a writer, since I’ve only had one new release and four re-releases. But it’s surprising how those re-releases took just as much work, if not more, than polishing up a new story.
What’s been crazy is life. My daughter, Poppy, moved to a new school for her junior year, which is already a stressful year for high schoolers in the US, so that transition has been a challenge. She had her heart broken twice, so I had to be her soft spot for a bit, even if she took out her frustration and pain on me, as teens tend to do. On top of that, my mind kept being drawn to how she is only going to be living at home for a few more years, and I can already feel the empty nest looming. I never thought I’d dread that day like I already am.
I can handle it.
My editing business took a front seat this year. I’m grateful I’ve had that, considering a huge chunk of my income came from editing jobs. Plus, I’ve struggled to get my head around Leo and Charlie’s story from my Naked Organics series. It’s been nice to have something else to focus on, but I need to tell their story.
But editing is a whole different ballgame, and the mindset I need to do it well doesn’t really allow me to stretch myself. It sticks my feet in technical mud when I want to wade into the flowing, creative waters instead. So words don’t come as easily, partly because I’ve convinced myself that there’s a right way. I know there isn’t, but I still need to find a way to be fearless with my writing again.
I need to remember to breathe.
I have a few more editing jobs to work on before the year wraps up, and then I’m focusing my attention on my child, who has recently started doctoring again. For those not in the know, she spent over a year in the hospital after she was born, had numerous reconstructive surgeries on her esophagus, airway, and stomach, and was tube fed exclusively for over a year and relied on supplemental tube feeds until she was three years old. She also has one kidney. I got really good a living in crisis mode as a caregiver, and I drew on that experience when I wrote Hugo in Fusion.
For years Poppy was able to avoid the doctor outside of colds, ear infections, and struggles related to her ADHD and anxiety. When she admitted something odd was going on this summer and then complained about back pain, I knew it was time to get her back to the doctor, especially if this was a kidney thing. It is, but she was also diagnosed with scoliosis, so we’re still parsing that out.
Poppy will very likely need surgery. We’re still in the diagnostic phase to rule some of the kidney things out, but no matter the outcome, she will need surgery and physical therapy to help with something that may or may not be related. As for her scoliosis, I’m not sure if they’ll try a brace and physical therapy or opt for spine surgery. That’s the least of our concerns right now, to be honest, so that tells you how worried we are about the kidney stuff.
I need to focus on my family right now, so I’ve modified how I work.
I used to take editing jobs one month and then write the other. That led to me being hyperfocused on both, and I ended up neglecting many parts of my life. I can’t afford to do that now. With all the appointments and time I’m likely to spend in the hospital or being a caregiver at home again, I need to work in smaller chunks and I can’t allow my work to take me away from my family for a month at a time.
I’m already testing out my new work schedule. My intent is to write Monday-Wednesday while Poppy is in school. I’ll edit for clients Thursday and Friday, and if I need to go into Saturday, I can, but I’ll do that year-round now. A little at a time so I’m never fully stuck in the mud.
I hope to carve out some admin time as well, but I’m not proficient at that. If any writers have tips on how to make the most of my time scheduling promo and such, I’ll gladly take it. I’ve had to pull back from social media in the last month, and I’ve not really missed it, though I know it’s necessary to not disappear.
So, that’s my life right now. I need to remember to breathe. I need to slow down and focus my time and energy where I want to invest it. And taking up meditation and getting back into yoga might be very beneficial as well. But I’m also one of those people who does really well in a crisis. In fact, I think I do better in a crisis than when life is flowing, so at least I have that advantage.