I think I took today off. I did try writing but got little done, mostly because I was being Mom first. But that is okay. I was reminded of the blessing that job is by Kristi Holl’s latest post at Writer’s First Aid. [Yes, I spent some of my precious computer time visiting some blogs and sites that I have been missing recently, instead of writing like a good WriMo.] Quick quote from her:
If you love your kids, you never stop being a parent. If you’re a parent and a writer, you’ll always search for ways to combine the roles effectively.
She’s specifically discussing her writing career as it parallels with her now grown daughter’s life. There are a lot of writers who make their careers and creations flourish while also going through all of the ups and downs and chaos that is parenting. I know that everyone’s situations are different and we all have to find how to balance our particular needs. I am still relatively in the beginning stages of my writer’s life, but I am already learning how difficult it can be. They [writing and parenting] both take a lot of time, energy and attention and do not seem to want to share me with the other. Some days I want to quit, but there really never is such a thing as a day off, is there? I am always thinking about them [the kids, the books, the random duties I have], and worrying that I am not good enough.
I am struggling through NaNo, for many reasons, but I am also struggling through their childhoods, every day. In so many ways, writing and parenting are similar. I know i can be am a writer, just as I can be am a mother. Growing up, I was told by others that I would be good at both and I have always known I would do both jobs, [which are both more like lifestyles than jobs, I think]. But, in both roles, I do not necessarily know if I am doing it well or correctly, I am just following my instinct and trying not to lose my patience, will or mind. We may begin with an idea of what our precious creations are going to be like, but it takes time, flexibility and a whole lot of patience to help shape them into their own life. I have found that like my kids, my main characters do not always do what I expect them to, have minds of their own and in the long run, they are not going to be the beings I imagined in the beginning. But I am still so proud of them.
And it all takes time. Squishing an entire creation into 30 days is sheer madness. We would not expect our kids to be completely ready to go out on their own in a month, or even a year or a decade. I do not want to spend that much time on this book, but some authors do. I do want to watch it grow, though and this NaNoWriMo period is much like the gestation period, too. I want to see what my baby looks like! I want to get through the month so I can really start grooming and priming it to enter the world.
But I need to get there first, with a healthy bundle of joy. So I am going to let go of my expectations and just focus on the creation. When that is done, then I can become the tough-love parent, pointing out all their flaws and trying to get them to do what I want them to do. And loving them even when they don’t.