I've been on spring break for the last two weeks. I actually just typed years...because that's what happens when you're on a break. Your brain stops working. It's been awesome and in fourteen weeks, I'm going to do it again. For ten weeks.
It's hard for me to transition from break back to work. Not just because I'm a little lazy, but I really like staying home with my family, staying up too late reading, spending the days alternating between writing and watching Friends on Netflix. I'm, unfortunately, one of those people who think that obsessing over time can actually allow me to control it.
Alas, I am not a wizard. I am also not rich, so back to work I go. We're working on "changing our mindset" in my house. A house full of girls/women who all have anxiety makes for some interesting fun for my husband (don't worry, he has craft beer), but we're going into the last part of the school year with the goal of being more positive, seeing things differently, and focusing on what's actually happening rather than what might happen. What does this mean? It means we're going to try to be more grateful. I am grateful. Let me just say that up front. I'm incredibly grateful for everything I have. The top of that list includes a family and friends, a roof over my head, and a good job, along with a pretty decent writing hobby. But I'm not actively grateful, if that makes sense.
For me, and hopefully my daughters, it means we're going to devote more active time each day thinking about the things that make us happy and lucky. Changing conversations to realize, in Old Dominion's words, "It's what I have, not what I had", or in our case, what we wish we had or worry we might have. I'm not going to list all the things that make me grateful on a personal level, but I thought it would be nice to share some of the things that have made my spring break great, outside of my family and Netflix. So, channeling my inner Jimmy Fallon, here's my own version of "Thank You Notes".
Thomas Rhett, for being adorably in love with your wife and having great lyrics. Very helpful while I'm writing books with mushy, romantic moments.
Cadbury mini eggs for making me feel like I'm only eating a little bit-- it says MINI right in the name. And for being this amazingly delicious burst of chocolate in a candy coated shell.
Facebook for giving me somewhere to turn when I'm easily distracted and need to write all the words.
Book contracts for getting me out of having to help clean out the garage with my family this break. Seriously. Thank you.
Diet Pepsi for keeping me awake and tasting good.
That's all for now. Lots more to be thankful for, but you get the idea. Have a wonderful April everyone.
There's still three weeks left. This is what I keep telling myself. But it's going fast now and as of next Friday, my laptop and I are taking a break from each other. It will likely hurt me more than my laptop but I'll be too busy at the happiest place on earth to think much about writing.
It's been quite the summer. Personally, it's been wonderful. Lots of quality family time-- though I think my husband has just about reached his limit of 24/7 with me.
Seems hard to imagine there's a limit on that, I know, but apparently there is. We've hung out with friends, gone biking, paddle boarding, swimming, had BBQs, slept in, spent lazy days in pajamas, read, painted...we've done a lot. Every summer, I say it's the best summer and I'm sad to see it end and this one is no different. As I get older, the time seems to fly faster and I spend my time trying to grab onto the moments I don't want to slip away. There are so many of them. Too many to hold.
Professionally, in terms of writing, it's also been a pretty fantastic summer. It seems hard to believe I only signed with Fran just over a month ago. She's been part of my writing journey since what feels like the beginning. I am so excited to see where things go with her by my side. #Pitchwars, run by the amazing Brenda Drake, is happening and I love following the feeds, reading the mentor and mentee posts. You can't overstate the importance of connecting with the writing community, whether you're a new or seasoned author. In an upcoming interview on Amy Trueblood's 'chasing the crazies' website, I talk about why the people around you matter so much.
There's still much to look forward to-- including our trip to DIsneyland next week. Also, I get to meet someone I've 'known' for three years but never met IRL. Tara is one of the people I connected to thanks to Twitter. She's been an awesome friend, a valuable CP, and a great sounding board. It seems crazy to me because I have the "meeting people I've never met" nerves, yet I talk to her every week online. The power of the internet. It really makes the world a smaller place.
So it seems like it started forever ago, but we've managed to pack a lot of fun into these last seven weeks. As the school year starts, I'll be back to figuring out how to balance my time between work, family, and writing. But not yet...three more weeks. Plenty of time to read more, write more, and get in a few more lazy mornings. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer. Any exciting plans?
This has been a long, trying summer that has pushed every one of my boundaries and challenged me to really understand how much I can handle before I break. Apparently, it's a fair amount. Regardless of what you are waiting for: agents to get back to you, editors to respond, your book to come out, reviews to come in, strikes to end, school to start-- the very act of waiting is a tedious, debilitating thing. That sounds dramatic, but I find that waiting is so much harder than just having to face something and deal with it. When we are forced to sit on the sidelines, unknowing of what is happening behind the scenes, what the outcome will be, and how it will truly affect us, we are under far more pressure than having to actually make a decision and act.
Between the waiting for responses or waiting for this strike (the longest teacher strike in BC history) to end, I have felt an overwhelming restlessness that refused to abate. Every. Single. Second. There is something about having no control that makes this feeling worse. Alas, (yes I just said alas because I like that word) it is coming to an end. Tomorrow, three full weeks into the school year, after missing the last two weeks of June, we are going back into the classroom. Am I happy? Yes. But I'm also the opposite of happy. Not sad. Happy, defined by Websters, is "delighted, pleased, glad, over some particular thing". Yes, I am those. But when I think about going back, reestablishing a routine that involves working full time, being with my family, and fitting in writing, my chest gets tight and I wonder how. How I did it before and how I will manage again.
Change of routine can be a hard thing for many people. For me, it is a multifaceted trigger. I don't like when things are over, but I like when things start. I don't like getting up and going to work, but I love being there. I don't like being away from my family, but I enjoy being with others. I know that I managed to write more than one full-length novel, while working full time and being a reasonably competent (sometimes even good) mom and wife. Yet, I can't get my mind around how to go back and do that, starting tomorrow.
I would imagine that there are a lot of people with mixed feelings about tomorrow. Happy and sad. Excited and worried. The more I write, the more I see the correlations between teaching and writing. It is something you do because you can't imagine not doing it. That is what I was faced with quite often this summer as I subbed my newest manuscript and waited for any sort of news about the strike ending: I wondered, is this still what I want to do? Do I want to teach? Write? Put myself out there, in the classroom and the writing community when I'm not sure that it'll always be a positive response? That it won't always work well, that you can't please everyone? The answer ends up being yes. Even when I tried to explore the idea of what I could do other than teach, I couldn't come up with anything (other than writing) that I wanted to do as much as I have always wanted to be a teacher. Same with writing. I could stop now. I could close all of my open word documents, take a break from Twitter, and just be done. But it doesn't stop it from being there, from wanting it. So I guess, if anything good came out of the strike, or out of some rejection letters, it was that it made me sure.
I'm as sure that I want to keep teaching as I am that I'm not ready to close up my word documents yet. All of this waiting, this hovering around inside of my own gloomy thoughts, showed me, for sure, that there is something worse than waiting: the thought of not doing either of the things I love at all.
I guess the simple reason we put up with waiting and not knowing and not getting the answers we want, is because the opposite of that is giving up and letting go. And if you think I'm bad at waiting....you can't even imagine how bad I am at letting go. So I haven't and I can't see myself doing that anytime soon.
But thanks to my powers of second guessing, I'll likely regret positing something that's nothing more than a random jumble of feelings that probably didn't need to be shared. So read quick, in case I pull the post ;)