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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Find Your Space and Fill It

I had an interesting conversation with one of my sisters this morning. I called to ask her about Word Press, since I remembered that she had bought an account awhile back, and I had been deliberating about getting one for the purpose of selling my own work directly through an e-commerce site.
As usual, we defaulted to talking about our family, our kids and the craziness of our busy lives. She ran through her long list of things she had to do such as homeschooling three kids, keeping up with her husband’s book keeping, finding time for her jiu-jitsu, and then finally, her life coaching career. Mine included gathering all the paperwork for taxes, keeping up with my little one, taking care of my health, feeling overwhelmed with the list of things I haven’t gotten done at home, and finally, my writing career. See a pattern here?
The beginning of the list included all the things that come first in our lives, such as what we do for our family, and at the end of the list were all the things we love and want to do with our lives. I know that many reading this can relate when I say that it happens, and it happens quite often. Even more so, when the little ones come along, and as parents we start finding ourselves putting the needs of the family first, before our own, and those things that we used to have a passion for get stuffed into some little corner of the room, gathering dust bunnies and cobwebs. 

If you find yourself in a similar position, struggling to find time for such things, I want to encourage you to take an hour a day, or even if it's less, working on what makes you feel whole. Nothing is more disheartening than living a life without doing what you love. There are 24 hours in a day, and if you can choose even fifteen minutes during that time towards pursuing it, it will become a habit. That habit will become a priority. And that priority might find itself moving along further to the top of the list of things that are important to you. That tight rope we all walk between family, work and unforeseen circumstances is always going to have us struggling for a balance that is probably never going to be there until the stressors of life have minimized.

a recent short work
Finding our space and filling it with the things we love to do will make life more enjoyable until we get there. I know it’s not easy to do. I struggle with it on a daily basis. Life circumstances haven’t allowed me to become completely independent from a pay-the-bills job, but I do try hard to still find the time to pursue my passion for writing. I try to find spaces of time in between to get it done. My space is the time my kid is in school. I have to admit that I get much more accomplished when I’m away from home, not worried about all the things that haven’t gotten cleaned or done, but I’ve realized that I can enlist family members to help with the cleaning; after all, we all co-habit the same environment and everyone, not just mom, should contribute to keeping the house clean, so it seems to work. 

my latest novella
I realize that I don’t often make the time I would like to socialize with friends, much less spend hours writing query letters and outlines to impress agents, publishers, and then wait 4-6 weeks for them to get back to me, as well as up to six months to get paid on a piece. If the opportunity presents itself I'll take it, but I'd rather spend that time writing during those little windows of opportunity when I get them. That makes me happy and fills my cup. Perhaps when my child gets older and more independent, I will find time for that other stuff that comes with it, but for now, I self-publish my own work such as short stories, novelettes, or an occasional article or story through a mainstream media outlet. If people like what I write, that is just icing on the cake. I don’t seek the limelight, celebrity status or millions of dollars, although the million wouldn't be such a bad idea if it will help my family, ha! But I do crave the joy that comes with knowing that I have an identity that fulfills me and makes me happy. This is not to say that being a mother and a wife doesn’t, but like all human beings, having an identity that is separate from those things we spend doing while serving others, gives me a sense of accomplishment. I have a space to call my own, and I need to fill that space doing the things I love to do too, and I hope that you are encouraged to do the same. 
My own secret quiet space before Barnes & Noble opens.
Shhh! Don't tell anyone. 

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