Fitting it all in

Every woman struggles with this, I think. “How do I do it all?”

Manage to be even a little bit successful at anything, and someone will validate your accomplishment with a harried, “I don’t know how you do it.”

Try to deflect that praise a bit with a dose of reality, and it only manages to elicit more wide-eyed wonder. “Wow, if I were you I’d collapse of exhaustion/go crazy/give up and cry/etc.”

To be honest, ninja-level experts at fitting it all in find The Top to be a lonely place even when, as in my case, my own personal “Top” is a low hill at the foot of a chain of mountains. When I do meet someone who understands, I value them as a friend and a peer. We get each other. We both know we’ll never fit it all in. We also know our Top isn’t good enough. It never is. There’s always a higher summit to reach for.

But. But, but, but. I have found in my almost 14 years of parenting that as long as I am a mother, I am always going to deal with balancing what is best for my kids with what is best for myself. In a perfect world, I could neatly subdivide the 24 hours of each day into thoughtful sections where everything important gets done, and everything I can’t do gets hired out because I’m earning enough $ to afford that.

I don’t live in a perfect world, though. Who does?

So, if you read the previous post…it has been an amazingly loooooooooong December after all. I haven’t been hibernating, but my latest book has. I recently started editing the early chapters, reacclimating myself to the story I set aside in February. I was THRILLED beyond measure to see that it doesn’t suck. The truth is–and my professional writer friends will relate to this–before I had to set it aside to dig myself out of the blizzard of life, I had been spread too thin to have any confidence in what I was writing.

And it’s funny, because I almost NEVER feel that way when I’m writing about myself. I can blog about my life, my kids, husband, chickens, dogs, friends, adventures…never a problem doing that. Why? Because I am completely present in my own life. When I’m writing about fictional people, though, it’s different. I have to give it major focus. As a reader, you want that, and you appreciate it. You want your author to be present in the story, as the storyteller. If I can’t do that because life is too busy, it’s like having two conversations at once with two different people. Maybe you can pull that off for a second or two, but try telling a 70,000 word story at the same time you’re talking to the middle school principal. I dare you not to call the principal by the name of your main character, or to accidentally forward emails meant for your husband to the special needs facilitator. (I’m pretty sure I’ve done both.) It’s one thing for me to have egg on my face at school. It’s another for me to rush a book to press that isn’t up to par. I can’t do that to you, reader. I want to tell you a real story that you will really enjoy. I want to suck you in, make you laugh, keep you guessing, and move your heart.

Mom-writer’s angst aside, An Honest Woman is back on track and so far it’s a better story than I gave it credit for these past few months. If you’re like me, you know what I mean. Insecurities have a way of turning mountains into molehills the longer you put off dealing with something. The truth is, editing An Honest Woman has been a pleasure so far. I look forward to writing the rip-roaring end of Jessica’s journey from spoiled brat to kind-hearted wife. I hope you will love the tale. (I’ve been watching Longmire recently, too, and I’m just tickled as HELL to see the strong rancher and Native types in that show…makes me feel like I am nailing it in Montana Brides.)

And, in even more news…I have another project that I hope you will love. I love writing about my family, about my life…it has been years since I have been a serious blogger, but turning family stories into entertainment always was my strength. I used to blog 2k-5k per day, no sweat. And photos! You know I’ve only gotten more avid in my pursuit of the best family pics possible. So…I’ve decided to start blogging again, regularly. In the past, I stopped blogging to begin writing professionally. I then stopped freelancing to start writing fiction. It’s been a lot of awesome learning experience, and I am now pretty much an expert on all kinds of fiction and personal writing. So, why not come full circle and go back to blogging? I mean, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the book?

Because that is the thing, you know? Book writing energy and blogging energy are two different things. They can’t really interfere with one another, except that all things take time. But since my life has been trumping my writing time, I feel like there is little to sacrifice by heading in this new/old direction. I’ll still work on the book, and I’ll still write more books. But I also want to tell my stories–not save them up for one story a year, which is what might happen if I only write fiction.

In addition to the blog, there is a podcast, which is another way to tell a story. My husband asked me months ago to start a podcast with him, and all this time, we have been planning. We’ve been planning and designing and formatting and doing business plans (yeah, it’s pretty intense, this idea of his), and we finally started recording shows. So, the blog I’ll be writing is over at our new website, TreehouseTime.com, where you can also (soon) find our podcasts.

I know! It’s a lot of stuff! How do I fit it all in, right? 😉

I am always going to put my family first. And I am always going to be a writer, and a storyteller. It all seems to fit together, to me. It all fits in because it all fits.

I will continue writing Montana Brides, and I hope that in time I will get to start work on Book After Book, the second in the Byrds of Birdseye series. Red Tash readers are still expecting Troll Or Trash, too. I can’t promise any release dates for any of the above, but if you want to track how close I am to completion on anything, friend or follow me on Goodreads under whichever pen names interest you, and you can easily access my progress in that way.

I'm 87% of the way toward my word count goal. That doesn't mean I won't go longer. I usually do! Click to friend/follow me on Goodreads.

I’m 87% of the way toward my word count goal. That doesn’t mean I won’t go longer. I usually do! Click to friend/follow me on Goodreads.

I’ll never stop writing fiction. It’s far too much fun. I do hope you will find my family’s adventures to be pretty fun, though, as well. Something to listen to or read in between books, huh? Visit us over at Treehouse Time. We would love to have you as guests on our virtual back porch!

Treehouse Time! Aren't we cute as cartoon people?

Treehouse Time! Aren’t we cute as cartoon people?

If you are interested in old blog entries, check out:

Tumblr (I still update this periodically, but it is mostly photos from instagram now.)

Guerilla Mothering (my old newspaper column)

Before those, there were ClubMom and Xanga. That’s way back, though! Nobody got time for that!

See you at the Treehouse! Onward and upward! I’ll drop you a rope ladder and see you on the deck.

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