Having a new baby is like being in the eye of a tornado. Having a new baby and a toddler is like being in the eye of a tornado and trying to juggle while you’re there. Having a new baby and a toddler with a broken leg is like being in the eye of a tornado and trying to juggle molotov cocktails.
Needless to say, it’s not the best atmosphere for writing a grocery list, much less writing a novel. I can hardly be blamed for forgetting that I once wrote books, and (unless I want to send the check back) will again.
But now Leo is 3 months old, and he takes semi-reliable naps. Freddie is about to turn 3 and is back to racing through the house (with dangerous obstacles carefully monitored, of course). And this means it’s time for me to emerge from my motherhood cocoon and become the beautiful author butterfly I know I can be (hi, my child has made me read THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR approximately eleventy billion times).
Well, sometimes life has a way of handing you exactly what you need, a thing I realized while sitting in the audience of the Decatur Book Festival this weekend. I got to catch up with old author friends, meet new author friends, gab about books and writing, and just generally return to my bookish best self. I left, as I always do, renewed and full of get-up-and-go. I’m inspired to write ALL. THE. BOOKS.
And then Sunday afternoon, as I sat with a notebook and pen, I caught a glimpse of a few tweets from Kiersten White.
I’ve been at this for five years now, and I can honestly say that I’ve never attempted to think of my career this way. I’ve mostly spent my time careening from one deadline to the next, emerging to take big gulps of air between massive life events (four books in five years, two kids in three years, two broken legs in six months). And like Kiersten says, so much of this business feels totally out of our control. I think I submitted to that too much. But it’s time for me to take some of it back.
And so I flipped to a blank page and mapped out the rest of 2017. And then I projected forward to 2018. I even made a couple 2019 notes, since that’s when I’ll be launching my next book, BETTER THAN THE BEST PLAN.
I also made a list of all the big book ideas I’ve had rattling around in the “Someday” file in my head (I’ve wanted to write a contemporary middle grade for a long time, and I’ve got an idea for an adult book). And then I plugged those in, too.
I ended up dumping everything into a Scrivener file I titled “CAREER MAP,” which will make it easy to check up on my goals and revisit them as I go. There’s even a folder in there for all those book ideas.
And so, with a new baby and a toddler and just under four months left in 2017, I finally feel like my feet are under me again. It’s time to buckle down, keep my eyes on my own paper, and DO. WORK.