That’s how long it’s been since I’ve published a new book. Exactly one year ago today. (Happy Birthday, Cement Heart!) This year, these last couple of years since I started writing seriously for that matter, have been--interesting. I’ve always been very transparent with my readers, and I will continue to do so until I’m given a reason not to, so here goes...
In 2001, my husband and I made the decision that me staying home with our kids during the day was the best thing for our family, so I quit my job and immediately embraced stay-at-home-mommyhood. The following years were spent checking pant pockets for crayons before throwing them into the dryer, cleaning mystery stains out of my carpets and making every weird animal noise imaginable just to get my toddlers to take one more bite of carrots. Fun fact…I totally rock at sheep noises.
Along with the never-ending to do list, came the most important job of guiding my children to be awesome, polite, thoughtful little humans who I could one day release into the world and be proud of the job I’d done.
I loved being a stay at home mom, and I still do, but now…I’m a work from home mom. And that has been a huge adjustment, to put it lightly.
When I decided to publish my first book, I had zero expectations of anyone other than my mother actually reading it. I had no idea so many people would not only read it, but want more so quickly. I was blown away and super excited to keep going. I released book 2 within a few months and book 3 a few months after that. Then, the ball dropped. And when I say ball, I mean my guilt. I’d just released 3 books in 10 months and while I know a lot of authors release more often, for me, this was huge! I had spent a lot of time away from my family to write and I felt they were suffering. My husband, bless his heart, was trying his best to keep everything running smoothly, but it just wasn’t the same. I started to feel like I’d abandoned my family for my dream. Deep down I knew that wasn’t exactly true, but every time I saw a pile of laundry that had been sitting for a few days or a sink full of dishes, my guilt ball grew larger and larger. I felt like I wasn’t doing my job, my main job.
Every time I was with my kids, I felt like I should be writing and every time I was writing, I felt like I should be with my kids.
It didn’t matter what I did, there was constant guilt…and there still is. I released Cement Heart one year ago, and wrote Andy’s book this past fall (though it’s not released yet), but the guilt is always there, eating away at me little by little. Some days are better than others, but for the most part I never feel like I can do it all. Someone always goes without. There have been missed Little League games, forgotten field trip forms and just a few weeks ago, my son insists he was the ONLY child in his whole school not in pajamas for pajama day. I was editing and forgot. *insert gut punch here*
There is immense pressure in this business to stay relevant and keep your name out there and release often, and that can be really, really tough. I have four kids and a husband who deserve my attention first, but I have to be honest…there have definitely been times when I’m snuggling on the couch with Emma, watching Beauty and the Beast, and out of the corner of my eye I’m staring at my laptop wondering if I’ve been gone too long. Has everyone forgotten about me? Am I even going to have any readers still there when I do release my next book?
Time will tell. Whatever is meant to be, will be.
I love words. I love writing and I will do it until the day I die, whether I get paid or not, but I'm still trying to figure out a balance that's best for my family...and my sanity. In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing as often as I can and releasing as often as I can.
Thank you so so so much to all of my readers who support me and continue to share my books with their friends and family, but most importantly...thank you for your patience. <3
***Side note--To all of you amazing working moms and/or fellow authors who make it looks SO damn easy, feel free to send any tips my way!! :)