The thing about inviting any new thing into your life is that you have to make room for it. And if you can’t make room for it, then something else has to go.
When I decided to publish Leaf, I managed to squeeze all the creating-the-book work into the regular round of my days. Then, when Leaf arrived (all 4000+ of him) and I realized I was the one solely responsible for getting him out into the world, I made a plan.
Actually, I had a meltdown.
But since I took full responsibility for Leaf‘s world debut (not to mention the hollow-cheeked look of our bank account) I set about finding homes for him in the great, wide world. (Never mind that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.) However, I couldn’t just cram these new duties in to the empty spaces of my day because there were no empty spaces.
So some things had to go.
Like the housework
being at home when my sons got home from school.
This wasn’t all bad. There was a general reshuffling of chores and the rest of the family picked up the slack with the housework and the meals. (And I learned how to do regular first aid on my tongue, because things are never done the way we do it, are they?) I never did manage to lose the guilt over not being a safe place to land at the end of a tough day at school but, truth be told, even those days when I was physically home, I was miles away in my head, so I might as well have been on the road.
But the one thing that had to go that I could not delegate or do in a different way was my writing – the very thing that I so loved and that had resulted in the book in the first place. (The book that demanded more of me now than it ever did in the fifteen years it took to shepherd it from idea to form.)
So I took a writing class.
Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of clearing space in my schedule to allow me time to write, I added something to it.
It was a great class, run by my friend Laura at Imagine It In Writing. It was an interesting format and I especially loved that I could walk to it after supper every Tuesday night. For someone who is accustomed to driving an hour to get to the city for any kind of anything writing related, this was a rare treat.
I took the course to force myself to find the time to write (other people’s deadlines are miracle workers that way) and to stretch myself even further by working on a couple adult stories that were languishing on my computer in various stages of completion. I seem to need deadlines to actually finish anything.
The course also provided the opportunity to critique other people’s work. I’m part of a writers’ group and have always struggled with giving helpful feedback, so I thought this would help me develop my skills.
But it meant that, over an eight week period, I had to write two stories and every week provide written critiques of two more stories submitted by my classmates.
Or make that ‘sheesh squared.’
So that, in a very long and convoluted way, is the reason I haven’t been writing my blog.
Or creating apples.
(You know, this is one of those moments when I realize that – gulp – I’m just like my mother. She drives me crazy when she has to back up to the moment when her grandfather first looked at her grandmother with a glint in his eye in order to tell me what happened yesterday. I could have just told you, “I’ve been busy so I haven’t been able to write my blog” – short, sweet and to-the-point, but where’s the story in that? Thank you, Mom, for making me the storyteller I am today. I think.)
Anyway . . .
The class is over. I made it. (Only sank into the worst ever eight day cold/flu/laryngitis/coughing marathon at the end of it all, the effects of which are still lingering. But I made it!) And to be fair, my illness had nothing to do with the class itself but all the other things I was still trying to juggle while doing the class.
Did I mention what a bonehead move this was?
Still, sitting here on the other side of things, I can say I have no regrets. I learned A LOT (not the least of which is think before you leap). I finished two new stories (that now need some reworking based on the great critiques I received – might need a deadline for that), got more comfortable with critiquing other people’s work, and made some new writerly friends. See? Lot’s of good learning.
And I will never do that again.
Not the course. I loved the course. I will definitely do that again, but I will not try to cram it (or anything) into an already overfull schedule. I will give it (and me) the time and space we deserve to really sink into the process.
Hmmm. I’m noticing a theme here.
(besides the blatant overuse of parenthesis)
My last post was about ‘not doing that again’
another ‘live and learn’ moment
so . . .
when am I finally going to grow up and stop doing all that?