On Working . . . Sort of . . .

Has it truly been two weeks since I last posted here? It would seem that my last spate of blog posts from a couple of weeks ago was an anomaly. I would offer my apologies, but to do so would assume that you were all waiting with bated breath in anticipation of my next musings. That seems a little presumptuous and self-centered. Rather, let me assure you that I am, indeed, alive and well and functional.

Well, perhaps not entirely functional.

In truth, this volunteer editing project is getting a bit out of control. I am trying to keep a cheerful attitude about it, and I fully intend to fulfill my obligations and do what I agreed to do, but I fear I have discovered something about myself:

I am a terrible working mother.

In a way, this is not really much of a revelation to me. In my previous working life, I made no secret of the balance issues I had. It was incredibly difficult to keep my family and my psyche healthy and functional when I was freelancing full time. I questioned all the time whether I should be working or not, and when I quit commercial freelance writing, it was something of a relief to just focus on my fiction writing.

Except that when I started publishing my fiction, I had a whole new set of problems–namely, the work that went into those efforts. Not only was there the writing, editing, and publishing process, but there was also the whole host of issues around promoting, blogging, and networking that just completely sucked the life out of me and my family. I made the mistake of listening to all of those self-publishing “experts” who said I had to spend the majority of my time promoting myself and my work on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and anyplace else that was the fad of the day.

I thought this most recent project would terrify me, and it did–at first. I was almost panic-stricken about editing someone else’s work. I slipped right back into the process like slipping into a comfy pair of slippers, which surprised me, but then I quickly began to exhibit a lot of old habits. I overpromised. I started to neglect my home and family. I became waspish and snappish. I started to feel overwhelmed. And here I am, just about six weeks away from Christmas, and it’s looking very likely that I will have no chance of finishing most of my handmade gifts.

I am not pleased by this recent turn of events.

So what was it that I did enjoy about writing when I was writing full time?

I think I finally figured it out. It was the writing that I loved.

Not the commercial writing. Not the myriad administrative details around running a business. Not the constant turmoil and tension of trying to balance life and work.

Not the publishing. Not the interaction with other writers (with a handful of notable exceptions). Not the sense that I really should read at least 400 or so more “good” and “successful” books in order to not be a pretender in the world of literature. Not the criticism or the social networking or the self-promotion or the checking of sales numbers or the abject terror of wondering when the first one-star rating is going to show up.

It was the writing.

Yes, it’s really one of those V8 moments.

This is, indeed, a compelling argument for never sharing anything again. It would seem that I really only liked the creation of my own stories.

The other compelling argument is that, really, I am a hideous mother when I’m working. There’s no question that I absolutely cannot take on another job while my kids are home. They deserve better.

So this is, apparently, where I am for the rest of the month–in front of a computer screen in full edit mode. Alive, yes. Well, yes.

Functional?

I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

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2 thoughts on “On Working . . . Sort of . . .

  1. Jane Wells (@2jewells)

    Did you really have to point out that it’s only six weeks to Christmas? Yikes!
    Anyhoo… thanks for that panic attack.
    You’ll be fine, sweetie. While homemade gifts may truly be the best, a nice box of chocolates goes a long way. Please don’t be too hard on yourself!

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      LOL, Jane–I guess I didn’t want to be the only one in a panic! 😉

      You are right–everyone loves homemade gifts, but no one is going to hate me if I don’t give them. I just was hoping to at least get some things made for my own family. There is still a bit of time. If I can just get this editing done, perhaps I can at least get a few things done for my immediate family.

      I should probably write “don’t be so hard on yourself” on a series of Post-Its and stick them all over my house . . .

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