Summer Wind up
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?
Know your limit. Write within it.
It's possible that last summer I may have had a little problem...an addiction of sorts...to all things contest and query related. In fact, there may even have been an element of longing to get noticed or validated. In addition to this, I was also suffering with need-to-write-every-single-second-so-that-I-don't-lose-my-chance syndrome. I believe I caught this from Twitter, where you can find writers galore, contests galore, and constant updates on which writer raked in the good news of the day. Like a good game of poker, it's exciting to be sitting at the table, trying your hand, and seeing if you can stay in the game. It's exhilarating when someone "calls" (or favorites your tweet). There's strategy and technique in crafting the perfect query letter, ensuring that your submission is strong. There's luck in finding the right match for yourself. But there's also the necessity of knowing when to fold. When to back down and realize that the stakes might be 'too rich' for you. It might even be necessary to walk away from the table. Until you're sure you can handle being there. Until you understand that it's not a high stakes, winner takes all game. And until you understand that you, may lose a lot of hands before you finally win.
When you start querying, entering contests, and "showing your cards", you learn what you're made of as a writer (and a person). It is not easy to go from the rush of someone wanting your work to the edge of your seat waiting for them to read it to the hard landing of rejection. It may build character but it also leaves a mark. It is incredibly hard to make yourself understand that they are rejecting your work, not you. Because of course, our work feels like part of us. If you can't face the reality that not everyone is going to love your work, that not everyone is going to want it, or you, even if you thought they might, then maybe you're not ready. Or at least, that is what I learned. I wasn't prepared for the slide down. The attention is wonderful and validating, but the time in between scoops out your self-esteem. And it becomes a cycle. If you let it. If you're writing to prove something or because you think you have to, then you're writing for the wrong reason and it won't be authentic. You have to write because you can't not write. Because it's part of you. If you feel this way, then you'll know, or come to know, that sitting out a round, standing on the edges for a bit, doesn't pull you out of the game. It just lets you breathe.
I sat out the last twitter contest and I thought I would be sorry but I'm not. I like the conclusion that I've come to in the last several months: if I slow down it will not make me disappear. If I don't get an agent, it will not make me stop. But if I had entered the contest, when I finally feel like, okay, I can just breathe and write at the same time, I would have thrown myself back into the cycle. And right now, it's not where I want to be. The point is, you have to know what your limits are, what you can handle, and what you can give. This leads me to my second decision.
I've decided not to participate in the A-Z challenge, which I think looks incredibly cool. Writing a different blog every day for 26 days is a fantastic way to be motivated, be part of something special, and be creative. And I signed up. I even chose a theme (a good one) and organized my drafts file to get myself ready. But then I asked myself, "why"? I have been welcomed into a small community of gracious, funny, and talented writers. I have a support system and a couple of critique partners that I respect. So was I pushing myself because I wanted to just play one more hand or because I felt that this hand would be a building block for the rest of the game. Right now, my building blocks include co-authoring a romantic suspense novel, waiting on agent responses to another romantic suspense novel, being a critique partner, and writing things that I enjoy. I'm putting less pressure on myself to do it all. It all sounds great...but this is how you burn out. It becomes overwhelming and emotionally exhausting if you push yourself past your limit or worse, if you don't recognize you have a limit.
Sitting out and opting out are hard choices as a writer. You feel like, even though everything is moving slower than you ever would have thought humanly possible, there's so much happening around you, without you. And it can become nerve wracking. A friend of mine said this week, "Unless you have an editor breathing down your neck, write for fun or what's the point?" I don't have to spread myself thin trying to be a part of every challenge and every contest. But last summer, I had myself convinced that I did. That if I didn't play every hand, that I'd lose for sure. Really, the only thing I was losing was sleep. And maybe some sanity but that may or may not be tied to writing.
In the last year, my writing has become infinitely stronger. But so have I. By taking away the urgency, I've side-stepped the pressure that I was putting on myself. I've stopped telling myself I have to enter everything I can (though I highly recommend many of the fantastic contests and pitching events you can find on twitter). Instead, I'm telling myself to make what I do write, what I do query, the best it can be. In the process of slowing down, finding balance, and gaining some insight, I may even have become slightly less annoying to those who have to put up with me when I get a little too caught up. One of my favorite quotes is below. That's what I'll aim for. As a person and as a writer.
Every little step...
A few weeks ago, Kara Leigh Miller let me know that I was chosen to co-author a book with her through Anaiah Press. The news of this was very exciting and a little nerve wracking. How do you co-author? What if you disagree? Who writes what? Who gets the good scenes (the kissing ;))? What if your styles don't mesh? What if your pacing doesn't mesh? If you think that's a lot of questions, you should see how many pop into my head for something that requires me to interact in person. Or if I have to go out for the evening. Another story. It turns out that all of these questions were a moot point (not moo- though I, like Rachel, see an odd sense in Joey's thoughts).
Kara and I mesh very well. Our pacing aligns, we split the kissing scenes, we both write the parts we feel strongly about and the parts in between, and so far, a little bit of conversation back and forth allows for us to resolve things we see differently. It is a very unique experience to co-author with someone. I think it is similar to sharing a classroom. You feel a certain sense of ownership and protectiveness that you have to let go of. This is not an easy thing to do for teachers or writers...or women...moms...I may be in some serious trouble here.
Actually, I think I'm sitting in a pretty good spot. I am slowly learning that by releasing a bit of the need for control, I am becoming stronger in my writing. That process started some time ago, by taking advice from critique partners, agents, and industry professionals. By looking at strong examples of writing, particularly in areas I found were my weaknesses. Though writing is often said to be a solitary activity, I have not found that. Particularly when I have Facebook and Twitter open while I'm writing. Or if I write while my kids are awake. Good writing requires connecting with others, being open to opinions, criticism, feedback, change, and growth. Again, kind of like teaching.
Even when you spend your time planning how things should and could work out, they often don't follow the outline. This speaks to both writing and life. While I had my thoughts focused in one direction, I wound up on another path. This one is leading me to something I never anticipated and I truly look forward to seeing how it turns out. It doesn't change what I want for my own writing, but it has opened a different door that I think will make me a more versatile and well-rounded writer. That, and maybe it'll distract me while I wait for those other doors to open as well.
Journey of a writer part 3 of 3
That call? The one that makes you feel like you haven't been wasting your time and fooling yourself? It came in an email first, for me anyway. In the email, Carly said she really liked The Princess and the Please and thought it had great commercial potential. She asked what I wanted in an agent and could she phone me? Um, YES! So she did.
You think it went like this: once we went through edits and revisions, Carly sends off the manuscript, editors and publishers loved it, and Carly phones to tell me I have to decide which book deal I want to take. That's a lovely ending. But it's not the one that happened.
We did go through revisions and Carly did send it out to editors and publishers. They did not love it as we did. They did not offer any such deal but they did offer us best wishes. While this was happening and I was at home wondering, every single day, if today would be the day, I began writing more and more. I sent some of that writing to my agent who responded with feedback. Still, I waited. I wrote. Waited, wrote, waited, wrote.
What's the worst thing that can happen? This book isn't going to work so you and your agent get the next project ready to go and try again, right? Maybe. In a lot of cases, I'm sure it does. For me, I got another email asking about a good time to phone. I thought (hoped, prayed, and wished) that it would be to talk about my contemporary romance novel that I had sent her a couple of months prior. It wasn't.
For me, this part of the story ended like this: Carly phoned to say that while I was professional to work with and had done nothing wrong, Princess wasn't getting picked up and she wasn't in love with any of the writing I had sent her in the mean time. She felt that she was no longer the best agent to represent me and this would be the end of our journey together.
Questions and thoughts that jump around like mini madmen in your mind:
"It's me, isn't it?", "Will I ever get another agent?", "Is this a sign?", "Did I make this happen?", "Do I actually have talent or was this a fluke?" All of those questions, and more, looped through my brain and still do. Really though, it's just a matter of it no longer being the best fit. No hard feelings, unpleasant words, or mixed messages. I suppose it could have gone down differently but in the end, it's the most civilized "break-up" I've ever had and we didn't even have to give each other back our stuff. She didn't unfriend me on Goodreads or block me on Twitter. In fact, she said she'd give me some advice on the last thing I sent her and if I had questions, I knew she was always around on Twitter.
Was it easy? No. Was I sad? Yes. Can I do anything about it? Yes and No. I can't make her take me back but we parted ways gracefully so I can only hope that it means new things will come. I've spoken of the writing community many times in the past year and once again, they are this amazing group of people that don't hate you if you succeed and don't pretend not to know you if you don't. I emailed Tanya, spoke to Carolyn (storytime), and reached out to new friends made on Twitter. They offered regret on my behalf, words of wisdom, and positive encouragement. How much more can you ask for than that?
It's not the ending I wanted or any author wants. I doubt it's the phone call or ending Carly wanted either. So what now? Well, I still have the Children's Festival next week, which I thought I should cancel because I was feeling like a 'fraud'. Then I decided no, I still have things to offer, things that made Carly notice my work in the first place. I'll do that. I'll keep getting to know the writing community. I'll keep writing and reading. I'll keep hoping it wasn't a fluke.
Five things that wouldn't have happened if I had not gone to the writer's conference that weekend:
It has occurred to me on more than one occasion that being a parent and being a writer have quite a bit in common. I can honestly say I am no expert at either but each shapes me in similar ways. Here are some of the shared traits I've noticed between the two:
1. Both roles take commitment, effort, energy, and love. Every day. Consistently.
2. They inspire happiness, sadness, joy, sorrow, laughter, and curiosity.
3. They can both wear you out without meaning to.
4. They require patience and an open mind.
5. You are going to make mistakes. You have to get over it, go back, and do better.
6. You may have to enlist the help of others; this is okay.
7. Sometimes, in both, the things you say won't be what you mean and sometimes the things you mean won't be what you say.
8. You are always learning. You are never done. You never know everything.
9. You always have more to give; it may not seem like it some days, but it's there, inside you.
10. You are ridiculously protective of both your child and your manuscript.
11. You have to be willing to accept flaws; nothing and no one is perfect.
12. They both require focus. Sometimes so much that you feel like your eyes will cross.
13. They can cause lack of sleep.
14. These roles both fill something inside you that nothing else could.
15. In both of these roles, letting go, even a little bit at a time, is not easy, but often necessary.
A different version of myself
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
Wading into the publishing world is much like getting into cold water. You move slowly, one step at a time, uncertain that you should continue. You take another step, willing to prove you can be courageous, but shaking a little inside.
I'm hoping, that by the time I am totally submerged, I will have acclimated to my surroundings. Since last November, when I signed with my agent, Carly Watters , I have read dozens upon dozens of articles, blogs, digests, tweets, and online posts. I have read about how the industry works, what expectations most authors have, what expecations agents and editors have, things that you are encouraged to do and things that are frowned upon by industry professionals. I have lapped up every article that offers advice and suggestions and tried to decide what fits me. My own agent has a very powerful blog that offers great tips and insights. Another trick I've learned is to follow people on Twitter, that the people I follow, follow.Do you follow that?
For instance, my agency, PS Literacy, follows Rachelle Gardner, another agent. So I often click on links to her blog and read that (http://www.rachellegardner.com). This week, I read a post that spoke to the very heart of what I've been struggling with for a little while (or maybe forever). She talked about self-promotion and the natural inclination, for most people, to dislike it. I am in this camp: I want to write, I want to share what I write, I believe in what I write, but when I draw attention to my own writing, I feel like I am an attention seeker. Then, I feel that if I'm going to draw people to my writing, I had better say something important or they will be wondering why I took their time.
What her blog pointed out, however, was that I am not promoting ME, but more, my writing. She said that if we look at self-promotion in a business-like way, we are not saying "Look at me! Look at me!", but instead, here is something powerful (she makes the comparison to a product you have to offer) that I want to share with you. By promoting your book, you are saying, I think sharing this with you will enhance your life.
This is truly valuable advice for a burgeoning writer, especially in the world of social media. Everything I have read advises authors to build platforms, to connect with would-be audiences. I believe it was this blog that also pointed out that even very famous authors don't sell books just by writing them. You have to promote what you do to draw people in. If you have created something worthwhile, you will keep them hooked. Even when they're hooked, however, you have to continue to promote.
Even though, in the end, it will be a children's book that I want to promote, it is still me that represents it. So, Gardner is correct in saying it's the product you're pushing, but who is behind it, also has an impact. Which is where my thoughts have been focused this week. In my classroom, and in my own home, I believe in the philosophy that 'character is defined by who you are when no one is watching'. But let's be honest, when no one is watching, I'm likely not the best version of myself. What I have to consider though, as I wade deeper into this world, is who will the audience see when they look at me?
I am very interested in writing different genres. Currently, my agent is submitting my children's book. That was written by the part of me that is silly, rhymes a lot, and loves a good fairytale. However, the Young Adult Fiction, that I'm editing and reworking, was written by my angst-ridden, inner fifteen year old. Then there's the commercial fiction/romance novel I am working on right now; it is being written by the adult me that has seen the sadder part of life and the strength that is revealed when people are pushed to their limits.
So who do I reveal? My husband certainly can't handle three of me, even if it's only public representations of me. I'm working to establish myself as a Children's Book Author first, so should I only tweet about things kid related? What if my lonely, inner-teen shows herself and posts something? Or if the adult version of me shows up and tweets or posts about romance and love and marriage. Of course, all of this is about my online presence. If there's ever a time where I have to promote my book (and, because essentially they're linked, myself) in person, there's no way to escape the different versions of me.
They all come out whenever they feel like it, often stepping over each other, and on each other, many times in a day. In addition to my mini princess, grumpy teen, and frazzled wife, I'm also harboring a nagger, a pleaser, a worrier, a goofball, and an uncoordinated, wanna-be graceful dreamer. So, when the day finally comes that I have to do something and share myself with the world, all of my 'me-s' are going to show up and I'm betting there's going to be a competition to take credit for the book I've written.
This is why I have already informed my best friend that she will accompany me to any such event, as she knows how to reign all those sides of me in and keep me focused on the one thing they all have in common: I am a writer and I want to share that with you.
Somewhere in the middle
Balance is an important thing to me. Kind of like patience. I think the draw for these attributes, for me, is that I lack them both.
I want both, but they seem quite elusive. Like something fancy and shiny that you save for, only to find that the price has been raised once you go to buy it.
It was pointed out to me by my husband this week, that being patient does not mean waiting 12 minutes for cookies to bake. Apparently, it means allowing time to pass without trying to control every single minute of it. That's not one of my strengths.
Nor, as I've discovered many times, but repeatedly this week, is balance. I balance things in a fairly odd way. For example, I've been writing constantly for months now. I signed with my agent before Christmas and have not stopped writing since. Yes, this is a good thing. It's an outlet and it's rewarding.
Recently however, I realized that I am more than a little behind on my reading. I generally have anywhere from 5-8 books on the go. I plug away at them, whip through them, or re-read them. I read every book I can by an author I like and then move on to authors they recommend. Since I've started writing daily, however, I haven't been reading books as much. When I read online articles about the publishing and writing industry, one of the key suggestions is to read and write every day. Balance.
If I'm going out for the evening and my kids aren't joining us (or more likely, if I've spent too many hours writing or texting and my guilt kicks in), I grab a pile of books, suggest some games, or get a craft going. Then I lose myself in that and in them. Then the "I haven't finished that chapter" guilt starts up and I go back to what I was doing.
If I have something yummy but bad to eat, I eat something so-so but healthy to compensate. Or I go for a run and come home and eat five cookies. Balance. As I've said, mine is a little skewed.
I've been worrying this week because I have been trying my hand at an adult fiction novel. I wrote every day for weeks. I'm currently sitting at about 40,000 words. I hit a wall. Just a mini one, because I know what I want to happen and where it needs to go, but I have to figure out how to take it in that direction. I received valuable, strengthening feedback on my first attempt at a Young Adult piece of fiction that I finished over Christmas. So, one would think that since I hit a wall with one, I could work on the other. Instead, I haven't written anything in three days. Other than this, but it's the end of the third day. So I've gone from writing hours every day to missing three days. Balance? No so much.
The worst part is, a little piece of me believes that if I get too immersed in my books again or I take too many days off from writing, that I won't be able to return to it. That, somehow, it'll turn out that I don't have a lot to say, my characters have reached a dead end, or the edits are not something I can sort through. Instead of being okay with just taking a break, I invent worst case scenerios about myself as a writer. It's an all or nothing mentality and very far from my goal of balance.
So how do I find the happy medium that almost all of us crave? How do I enjoy my kids, provide healthy dinners, teach, work out, write, spend time with my husband, text, play on pinterest, tweet, sleep, and watch T.V. ? How do we fit it all in without losing one of them completely? I become too wrapped up in these questions and end up giving little pieces of myself to each of these things, which seems even, but not really balanced.
When I say balance, I think what I'm looking for is the ability to be engaged in an activity without feeling guilty about what I'm not doing. Quite honestly, feeling that guilt takes away from whatever it is I am doing. I want to be able to write for hours and then play games with my kids without feeling like either one of those things suffered from lack of attention. The fact is, I do all of these things, almost every day. Which could account for why I'm sleepy a lot of the time.
I'm not exactly sure how to achieve balance in my life. I've taken a little step this week by repeatedly telling myself that it is okay not to have worked on my story this week. I tell myself it's okay if I played one game with the kids instead of two. It's okay if the pizza wasn't homemade (but it was). Maybe, instead of balance, I should seek acceptance. Accepting my own need to do as much as I can and not waste a moment. Accepting the days where I manage to do it all, but also accepting the days where I don't. I've talked, in a previous blog, about seeing the smaller steps that lead to the end result. One small step at a time. Perhaps it is the same path to balance as it is to problem solving or having patience. One moment, one step, and one breath at a time.
Of course, searching for balance might turn out similar to my dog chasing her tail; entertaining, but futile. In which case, I'll at least try to enjoy all of the things I keep adding to my to-do list.
I've never shared my writing with many people. In high school, I wrote poetry (like every angst ridden teen) and some plays. One play was performed by a group of us, so I did share it a bit. Once I went to university, my writing, other than for academics, came to a standstill. As I finished school, I might get the odd burst of need to write something down. A few years ago, I really got back into writing by taking a university writing course to meet my Post Bac. Degree requirements. I started writing short stories, poetry, and short and full length plays. I suppose that was what reopened the door for me. Since that course, I have played with writing now and again but about two years ago, I started feeling more driven to write. I felt like I had to write something. Having said that, the time I wasn't writing, I was posting articles online and some in the newspaper so I suppose writing has never really exited my life completely. Still, I've never felt such an energy for writing as I do now. I started a couple years ago with a story about my oldest daughter and it kind of snowballed from there. After attending a writing conference this last October and being blessed enough to receive representation from an agent, I decided that now is the time. If I'm going to write for anyone other than myself, now is the best time to do that because I have someone who is in the industry willing to read my work and guide me.
I'm becoming better at sharing my writing, as a result. And as a result of that, my writing, itself, is becoming stronger. Before I send things to my agent, I want to make sure I'm not wasting her time. So I send to my very best friend and another close friend for revisions, edits, and overall impressions. I specifically asked that they not be gentle with me because there's no use pretending something is good when it isn't. Besides that, I have a feel for it anyway. Kind of like when you cook something that tastes awful and people say, "No, no, this is good." I know when food doesn't taste good and I know when my writing is not at it's strongest. However, the benefit, I've found, in sharing it, is that 'beta-readers' do more than just provide edits. They provide questions and they act as your audience. They help you fill in the gaps and see that maybe you're not presenting what you meant to.
A lot of people, now that I am letting them see it, ask where I find the time to write. This is the question I often ask of people who say they work out an hour a day. Where do I find the time? In tiny little pockets that show up and in time that is provided for me by my lovely husband who will sometimes take the kids out for a bit.
Sometimes, it's a real challenge; I will admit that. I get that feeling that I have to get something down on paper but that doesn't mean I don't have to cook dinner, give baths, make lunches, do laundry, do marking or planning, or read to my kids. So, I look for those pockets and I make the most of them. Kids gone to the park with dad? I'm writing. Husband watching T.V.? I'm writing. Actually, if I'm watching T.V., I'm often writing as well. I'm often writing while my daughters are asking me three dozen questions or telling me about the life cycle of some animal I've never heard of.
I want (and need) to believe that my writing doesn't throw anything off balance. I hope that my kids don't feel like something is missing, but honestly, I don't think they do. We spend lots of time together and one of the most wonderful things that has happened as a result of my new-found desire to write as much as possible, is that my kids are writing; A LOT! My ten year old wrote a beautiful song yesterday. My six year old wrote about saving the Wood Thrush (she's a little hooked on Wild Kratt's). It's a pleasure to see them spend time and energy on something that means so much to me. It's also nice to see them work this into their schedule; should I write or watch T.V.? Write or play? Write or color? Write or drive my sister nuts while she writes? That last one often wins out for my youngest.
So yes, it's a balancing act; but I wouldn't/couldn't change it anymore than the person who absolutely has to get their work out in or manages to walk their dog at 5 a.m. (I could NOT do that). When you love something though, when you feel like something is an essential part of you, balancing it does not seem difficult. In fact, while I'm balancing everything else, it often seems feels like it's the break I need.
Back to reality
My husband often accuses me of trying to control time and if I'm being honest, he's right. I want to slow it down, stop it in certain moments, or sometimes make it fly. Of course, like everyone else, I am incapable of this but it doesn't stop me from trying.
In the last few years, I've been attempting to teach myself how to just live every day without worrying about the next one. This is next to impossible for me because I can't not (yes, I see the double negative) think about the next thing. I have learned to enjoy the moments more though by truly being 'in' them.
I read an article a long time ago that said that as parents and teachers we often get frustrated with children because they are distracting us from something we were doing, rather than because of something they are doing. The article suggested that when you give your full attention to one thing, it leaves less room for frustration. Basically, if you're not dividing yourself into multiple pieces to do everything at once, you're likely to enjoy the focus activity more and become less frustrated even when problems arise. Since reading this article (I don't remember the source), if I've said I would play with my kids, I play. If I've said I want to sit down and write, I write (perhaps multiple things as once like right this minute, but still, one general activity). If I am teaching a lesson, I am involved in that lesson and not trying to plan the next one in the brief moments of down time. It's helped. I know that what I need to do is still going to be there even if I give something my full attention for a period of time. Likely, each thing that I give my attention to turns out better because I'm not being pulled in multiple directions.
Throughout the holidays, I've really enjoyed the time with my family, being with friends, the chance to sleep in, and the chance to write without worrying about what I should be planning for the classroom. On Monday though, it's back to juggling all of it together and tossing in piano lessons, gymnastics, making lunches, staff meetings and so on. It's easy to find balance when you elminate say, a forty hour work week. It's harder to find it when life returns to normal.
I'm not one for resolutions because I don't like disappointing myself. I've made the exact same 'goals' for the past several new years; be a better person, be healthier, worry less. These goals continue to be my life resolutions rather than my new year ones. So instead of an actual resolution, I try to combine these goals with my life long quest for balance. As reality encroaches, I remind myself that I have been very successful juggling all of these things. It's really difficult though, after spending the better part of the last 16 days in pajamas, grabbing snacks whenever, staying up late to read and play on my iPad or iPhone, and sleeping until I'm not tired, to imagine getting up at 6:30 Monday morning.
Part of me thinks I should jump back in right now: go to bed on time, begin prepping my Monday lessons, and plan out my dinner menu for the next couple of weeks. But, since the post is called back to reality, I might as well be realisitc and acknowledge that what I'm really going to do is write as much as I possibly can in the next two days, stay in my pajamas, eat junk food, play word games, and cuddle my kids while we watch too much T.V. Everything else, can wait until Monday.