Keep This Up and You’re Not Getting into my Book Dedication!

dedicationI’ve been writing for twenty years and before my twins were born I had the time to spend hours in front of my computer. I know of people who are capable of sitting six to eight hours straight, every single day just writing, but that was never my thing. I need breaks now and again. My largest amount of time without a break was probably three – four hours, but that was way before my children entered my life.

Now that I have kids, I find my time is quite stretched. In 2011, when my first novel got picked up by a publisher and I needed to edit it, my family was very gracious and gave me the time I needed to get it done. When I wrote the sequel to that novel, they were still generous allowing me time to do it, but not nearly as happy about it. In fact, they were quite vocal about being annoyed. Now? I swear if they give me fifteen unbothered minutes to write, it’s a miracle.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe they feel like the work I’m doing is intangible. It’s not like I’m making any real money or getting any real fame. Nor am I selling all that many books. When I say, “Please, I’m working towards a dream,” I get a strange look. I don’t know if they quite believe that dream can actually be had or not, and that’s sad. I keep telling my kids that you have to try. Nothing is easy and you just have to work hard towards anything you really wish to accomplish. Then again, it could simply be that they want my attention and I have this guilt that maybe that’s what it is. I try to do it all, but I just can’t.

Unfortunately, no matter how much I ask my family, I’m not getting the time I really need. Every single one of them are either outside my door, or sneaking into the room with me to get something, or loudly having arguments which I eventually must come out to settle. If I leave the house to write, I feel their frustration when I leave. It’s been difficult to say the least. So, I’ve tried to find ways to get this done without the constant resentment. I tried to write late at night when everyone was asleep, but frankly, I’m tired too. I already get up at 6:00 am, any earlier and I’m wiped from the night before.

So, just this past month I changed my commute that I’d been doing to NYC for the past ten years. Now I’m taking a train to work, instead of driving and standing on a crowded subway. This way I can bring my laptop on the train and write. This commute costs more money and still offers only snippets of time, 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there (because I have to change trains), but it’s something. And if I don’t have a lunch appointment, I’ll find a place, hunker down with a salad or sushi roll, and just write for an hour. It’s helped me tremendously. I got tired of telling my family that “based on their behaviors none of them are getting in the dedication of my next book!” (like a little kid having a tantrum and that’s my biggest threat, right?)

One day, when all the books are out there and maybe I can make an income at it, or not, my family will realize what I was working towards and they’ll understand. And, deep down I know they do and I know they support me. My son read this blog before I posted it and looked at me with big eyes. “I’m sorry, Mom. I don’t think what you’re doing is intangible. I think I understand now.”

That’s all I can ask for. 🙂

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14 thoughts on “Keep This Up and You’re Not Getting into my Book Dedication!

  1. When you get an apology like that, suddenly, it all becomes less stressful and you realize the moment gleaned, even if only a minute or two for writing, are the most valuable item the family can give you. At times I feel my family pulls me away too often but without them, would my drive to be a writer be as strong? I write for my family, definitely not to support them, but to leave them a small legacy of the man who was husband, father, grandpa, uncle, brother-in-law and to those who I was a son. Be honest, you know you’re going to dedicate the books to them. They’re your inspiration.

  2. It’s very difficult for me to find the right moments for writing too, since my days are hectic taking care of my dad, who is in a wheelchair. So I can understand you quite well. I also sneak somewhere at different times of the day to try to write down at least a couple of sentences before I have to cook, or go to run some errand, or my dad calls me because he wants to show me something he is watching on TV. In my case, he doesn’t understand my compulsion for writing. Oh well, maybe when I become a billionaire he will understand… (Yeah, Cinta, keep on dreaming) LOL

  3. Wonderful post, and i totally can understand how you feel..I may have no kids but i know when time is limited and when family gets involved..But at the end they were , are and will be our happy corner..:)

  4. you’re a better woman than I. When my kids were growing up I simply did not write. Kudos for being organized enough to funnel your creativity into pockets of time! I couldn’t do it! LOL

  5. I understand completely, this place you are coming from. We have four children, two of which are still too young to go to school. To save on costs, and this is something we’ve done for six years now, I’ve taken to working at nights and keeping them home with me during the day. Daycare was costing us hundreds of dollars and we didn’t feel like our little ones were getting the care that they needed, so we opted into the routine that we now have.

    I don’t regret it, but I wish I had thought of writing full time a bit sooner than just last year! ;p

    Reading your post was a bit surreal for me. My oldest two constantly ask me; “How many books have you sold today,” to which I reply; “None yet, and none if you don’t let me work!”
    Bless their hearts, they think that just because you can see it in an online store that it has suddenly become the answer to our prayers!

    To get away from these inevitable confrontations, I’ve learned to better use what has always been wasted time. Breaks at work, nap/rest times (though not wasted, has been a useful time for recuperation for all) and any other free moments are now spent making notes, running social media from my phone, or writing longhand in a notebook I’ve taken to carrying around with me.

    I can fully relate to your thoughts in this one line;

    “One day, when all the books are out there and maybe I can make an income at it, or not, my family will realize what I was working towards and they’ll understand.”

    I have to believe that as writers, our passion will lead us down a road where at least a small fan-base awaits us. That, when we throw every ounce of our heart and soul into what we do, we will one day share our stories with like-minded people. With our passion and dedication to our craft, we will get there. (Hopefully sooner than later, yes?)

    Keep at it. Never give up.

    For me, knowing that there are others struggling with their many roles, it’s a comfort knowing that I’m not alone.

    R.

    • You are most definitely not alone and I am amazed at what you’ve been able to do with four children – you’ve doubled my brood. I have to think that we’re instilling in our kids a work ethic that things are not always easy and you must try… Good luck with all your dreams and thanks so much for commenting. Really appreciated it.

  6. Elyse, I envy you the ability to write on a train. The last time I was on a train, I was too busy looking around at everyone on board, just doing what I love to do best; people watching. I would be able to come up with a lot of stories, but I fear they would never make it down on paper. LOL

  7. Time is so very precious, and there are times when it never seems to be enough of it, especially when writers care to blend that delicate balance between their project(s) and sharing themselves with family, friends, etc. Please don’t beat yourself up over it, and hopefully your loved ones will come to respect “Mommy’s time” (sounds like your son is open to appreciating your space now that he’s fully realizing how important your personal goals are). Creative of you to change your commute plans to pin down some additional writing time. Balance is key in everything, so wish you well in carving out some specific time to write, and hope your family gets the royal treatment in your acknowledgement page of your book(s) someday.

    Speaking of balancing things, and managing time, better get my doggie out for a nature call, replenish his water dish and get back across town to work. Times seems to fly during lunch break and crawl the rest of the afternoon. Happy writing!

  8. You can’t give up writing when it’s in your blood. It’s like trying to give up oxygen – not going to happen, not voluntarily anyway.

    My favourite time of writing is actually the middle of the night. 3 am is great, the whole house is asleep and there is nothing I “have” to do, although – yes – that CAN upset the rest of the day, but at least I get my writing in.

    I’m further along now, and can devote more time to living my dream (I have two science fiction books published and am working on the third), and I will give it my all before I have to step away and “find a real job.” (Don’t you just hate that expression?)

    Never feel guilty. Feeling guilty never pays off. Never.

    Cheers! 🙂

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