When you have kids, the start of the school year feels like the start of the new year. In Michigan, most schools begin the day after Labor Day. This means today I’m on my third 5:30 in the morning wake up. I’d forgotten how EARLY it feels to stumble out of bed at dark-o’clock. My teenager is NOT a morning person, but he has to be on the bus around 6:30 am, so here I am up (but not quite awake), in a show of solidarity. Ya-ya!
The good thing about waking up before sunrise is the quiet. You can get a lot when there’s nothing else going on. During the summer, I tend to let things slide. I don’t have to get up as early. I don’t get much writing done, trading writing time for gardening time. I tend to stay away from social media. Everything just seems to move slower and that’s okay with me. But after Labor Day weekend, I know it’s time to get back to work.
I haven’t done much blogging this year. I don’t know why last year’s presidential election turned so ugly, why there was so much anger and mudslinging, but all that hate in the news has turned me into a social media hermit. I know you can’t hide your head in the sand, but there’s been sooo much negativity out there and I’m overly sensitive to it. Too much negativity and I feel depression trying to get its hooks back into me. So I took the easy way out and insulated myself from most of it. I’ve missed my online friends. I’ve met some amazing people. However, I think I made the right choice stepping back for a while. Although I didn’t plan it this way, 2017 has been about prioritizing and figuring out what’s important in my life.
I’ve fallen back to writing in notebooks rather than using my laptop. That’s been helpful. A notebook is so portable. I was starting to feel like a failure. I really thought I’d have self-published one of my stories by now. I’ve been playing at being a writer for a number of years now, but I got into this writing thing late in the game. I wasn’t one of those people who dreamed of being a writer since childhood. I’m a voracious reader. I wasn’t a writer until more recently. Writing is fun, but it’s not easy. Plus, it’s taken me a long time to find my voice, to figure out what kind of writer I want to be.
Originally, my stories read like romance novels with a paranormal edge. They were whiny, cringe-worthy things. Blech! Now, that my kiddo is older, I’ve been focusing on writing stories with a young adult audience in mind, something my kid might read. There’s nothing like a teen to open your eyes to the world.
Me: That character’s crying because they’re sensitive. (Trying to justify cringe-worthy dribbles.)
Kiddo: Are you sure they’re not constipated? They seem constipated to me. Or…Why is everyone whining? Why can’t they just get on with their lives?
Yeah…harsh, but helpful. It’s kind of handy to have my very own Beta Reader in the house. I feel like my writing has become stronger because of him. He recently gave me a, “Whoa! Now, I’d actually read that if I saw it in a book. Write more of that!” So, no longer feeling like a failure. In fact, I’m kind of glad that I allowed myself time to grow. Plus, it’s fun to have someone to trade books with. Kiddo’s recommended reading list has introduced me to some amazing writing. It’s gotten me out of my comfort zone. I think I needed that.
Anyway, all is well. I’m alive. I’m back. Yay!