Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm a Liar/Compromise?

Writing isn't really about getting published, not for me anyway. Yeah, that was my dream as a teen, and it would be really cool now, but in reality writing has given me hope. It has given me something to dream about, plan and look forward to.

The rest of my life is routine, no change in sight. There will always be dishes, laundry, and kids, but I can write a story and reach the end.

I put up a good show on this blog, but the truth is I'm afraid of actually finding an agent and getting published. That dream has been my life line. What do I hold onto if it's gone?

Lately, my hubby has been worried, frustrated, even angry with me and this "writing thing". Which in turn makes me feel the same way. I don't expect him to GET IT, and he has some valid points.
  • I spend way to much time reading blogs,
  • or writing blogs (I have five blogs)
  • chatting with people I've never met and probably never will
  • I don't interact with my kids as much as he thinks I should (probably true, but they just want to play the wii anyway.)
  • the house is not white glove clean
  • when we try to have a conversation (hubby and me) my book or my bloggy friends are all that I can talk about. In my defense, all he talks about is work or church.
  • I put in the hours of a full time job with nothing to show for it--his words not mine.
This week he mentioned that he hopes no one ever shows interest in the book because he's afraid he'll lose me even more. OUCH!

The scary thing is that when I was in the darkest days of my depression, writing gave me a reason to stick around. It was just for me. A way to explore the corners of my mind, work out emotions I couldn't deal with as my own, but when put on a fictional character I could view them differently. Logically.

I write because I NEED to write to stay whole. I write and seek publication because I would be a hypocrite if I didn't try. My whole life has been spent telling others they can do anything they want. So, I have to do what I want as well.

How do I compromise? How do I shut off the compulsion to write, communicate, and socialize so I can be the wife and mother I should be?

I have writer friends who have said, "Enough is enough!" They stopped querying and packed the stories away. Is that the only way? Should I stop and wait until my kids are grown and gone before chasing this dream? Just the thought of doing that makes me feel like I'm suffocating.

Do I stop blogging and querying and just write? Perhaps I finish writing the whole four book series, then revise and edit it to death over the next few years. I have three other ideas after those.

Would that be enough? Will it ever be enough? I feel ripped in two.

Mom or writer? Is it possible to be both and be good enough at both?

Without hubby's support, my doubts are mounting.

22 comments:

  1. Like you, I don't write for publication. Of course I daydream about it, but writing keeps me on track, and helps with my anxiety. When my brain is filled with stories, it takes up the space that 'bad' thoughts used to occupy. As for your situation, I don't think there is a way to be the 'right' mother and wife. There are a LOT of authors who are moms. I'm not one of them, but I know of at least twenty of the top of my head, both published and aspiring. Perhaps you need to rearrange your obligations find the balance between your familial obligations and the obligations to yourself.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide to do!

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  2. Sending you (((hugs)))!

    I think most of us who write, but not full time, can understand. It's hard juggling this NEED with the other things in life, but I do believe there's a healthy balance in it all, we just have to find it.

    Good luck to you!

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  3. I really didn't expect publication and I'm not holding my breath there will ever be another book.
    But I do understand your frustration. My wife has never discouraged my writing, but I know there are many moments when she thinks I devote too much time to writing, promoting, and blogging.
    I'd recommend sitting down with your husband and discuss both sides without accusations or threats. Understand his views and make yours known. Find out what's most important to him - the kids, clean house, attention from you, etc. From there, you will need to find a balance. Maybe scale back the blogging. (Five? I'm impressed. I can barely keep up with one!) Balance everything to the point where you can both live with it - not that it's as much as you want or was in the past, but what you can live with.
    Trust me, I know it's tough. But don't give it all up.

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  4. I definitely had to cut back on blogging: it interfered with the amount of actual writing I was doing. But from time to time, I need that kind of interaction with fellow writers, and I can only get that online. I only blog once a week, and I try to write the most when I'll be least disturbed, like Saturdays when I have the house to myself.

    So yeah, I let housekeeping slide a little, but that's never been much of a priority. LOL!

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  5. Oh honey, I really know where you are coming from - I wrote about this for a GP tomorrow, actually (its about coming back to writing after the depths of despair). Balance is a hard thing to find, and being a wife, mother, writer and whatever else is on the list is beyond tough. I guess, for me, it comes with treating it as a job in some respects - carving time for each and everyone of the things that keep me sane. A hard thing to achieve - but the only way I can stay motivated to continue my writerly path.

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  6. This all sounds so familiar...
    I've felt the same way and I'm sure that my husband has as well (although he probably would never say it out loud).

    My two cents? It sounds like the problem is not so much your writing, as your involvement with the social media side of writing (and, boy, have I been there). You can be a writer without blogging, but you can't be a writer without writing.

    If you have to give something up, ask yourself what is more important to you. Have you dreamed of being a writer or a blogger?

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  7. Ah the endless cycle of guilt. It's tough, trying to be a wife and mother, and still pursue the dream.

    The only answer to your questions is to look down each path and ask yourself if you'll have regret.

    If you do give up writing, will you regret it? Will you be angry at yourself for putting it aside, will you resent your husband for his lack of support and for contributing to your guilt? Will you feel unfufilled by letting go of the dream?

    Or, if you stay on the path, will you feel guilt that you are not there for your children & husband 24-7? Will you regret that you put so much time and energy into this dream that you feel you missed out on your own life? Do you see yourself quitting anyway if it gets too hard, if rejection hurts too much?

    I think only you can decide these things. For me, I made my dream something I could share with my kids. Each day I sit down to write, each rejection I get, each time I get up after being knocked down, it's all about me showing my kids and husband that if you have a dream that you want will all your being, then CHASE IT. Don't let anything stop you. In this way, I make my dream become part of the real world of day to day.

    Think about how important this is, and what you are willing to cut back on or give up to keep it. It's never all or nothing, and compromises can be reached. I think it is essential tho that if you do decide to keep going, you talk to your family and explain that you don't expect them to necessarily understand why this is so important, but you do ask that they respect your desire to do it. Not trying to knock your hubby, but negativity is never a good thing, support is sometimes a luxury, but at the end of the day, everyone has the right to dream, and to try for something they think they might be good at.

    All the best!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  8. Ouch, that's tough.

    I think I might have it easier, since I was already writing before my husband met me, but I have had to explain to him exactly what I am getting out of it, simply so he understands where I am coming from.

    I think communication is key. It could create an unhappy situation if you cut back the hours you spend blogging and writing, and your husband is still unhappy with your habits. You would be extra frustrated, and he wouldn't understand or realize that you're trying to compromise.

    So if you sit down with your husband and explain to him the calm and peace and joy you get out of writing--not just for publication, but for yourself, he might understand better that you're not doing it for "publication" but more for yourself. If he has any hobbies like playing video games or golf or watching TV you could liken it to your writing.

    I would also stress that you need to be yourself too. You are a mom and a wife, but you are also a person outside of that, and I think stay at home moms have that worse because they are expected to be there 24/7 for their kids and husband, while the husband has time to be himself at his job or out with his friends.

    The best thing would be to find a balance between spending time with the kids and husband and writing. I think you NEED to be a writer--it's part of who you are, and the best thing would be for you to get your husband to understand that. You can be a writer and a mom at the same time. Like another poster said, there are thousands of moms out there who do both. It just takes balance and understanding.

    *BIG HUG* Good luck!

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  9. *HUGS*

    I, too, have the advantage of people knowing about my writing before I date them but I feel you pain.

    I think Elizabeth summed it up wonderfully. My last relationship went down the toilet for many reasons but one of them was because I didn't explain what writing meant to me and why it was so important. We weren't right for each other anyway but it's a shame I didn't try to help him understand. Like you, I write because it's how I cope with the world. So yeah, I feel you.

    I'm not sure I can say it better than anyone else has here. Compromise is good but it can only work if he knows what you're giving up.

    And, I mean, everyone has to cut back now and again so don't feel guilty if you have to take a step back from blogging or something. I had to cut back on blogging and I don't even have that many commitements in my life.

    *SUPER HUGS AGAIN*

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  10. Leave your husband. Ok, not really! I believe we all experience some family frustration when it comes to our writing. My family has been breathing down my throat for over a year now, not realizing how much goes into writing/editing, etc.

    Never give up on your writing. Write because you love it. However, compromise is important as well. 5 blogs is a lot to maintain and I know social media is important, but it would be more important once you are published. In order to appease your family, maybe it's time to put some of the blogs/networking on the back burner for a while.

    Just my two cents! Good luck Charity!

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  11. Writing is cathartic for me. I live under the assumption that it is for all writers. If I'm not writing a book, I'm writing long emails, a blog, a short, a song, anything at all to let the words out before they fester.

    I've had a hard time with everything lately, but I know one thing is true: I'm a miserable person if I'm not writing, and I take it out on the world and get very depressed. My muse returned unexpectedly on Monday and I feel it is because for the first time in a long time I wasn't having a bad day. I've learned one comes with the other. Good mood - writing happens. Bad mood - find food and watch movies.

    If writing is therapy for you, stop focusing so much on finding time to do it and just relax and enjoy it when you do have time. Kids on the Wii? Jot down some paragraphs, edit a bit. Everyone in bed? Jot down a bit more. It will lead to medication if you stop all together. If you have no true goal, if publishing is not your end game, then treat writing like a hobby and not a chore or responsibility.

    That's just my two cents.

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  12. Getting published would be a dream come true. Having my book on the shelves would be amazing. But...writing is enough. You know? It needs to be enough, I think. Just a brace, just in case nothing ever pans out, you don't crimble into ity bity pieces.

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  13. Once again, you've all made me feel so much better. It's nice to know someone "get's me" and you've all given some wonderful advice.

    What I've learned from all the comments today is this:
    I have to have a heart to heart with my husband and let him know what writing really is to me.
    I have to prioritize my time. Including: set writing time each day for guilt free writing, let the food blogs die, thin my google reader, set a timer for Facebook (10 minutes tops), try and schedule posts in advance (like I used to do), make sure my family knows that I am here for them even while chasing this dream.
    Write because it's what I love to do.
    Query because I feel like I'm close too, and I would had to be plagued the rest of my life by "what ifs".
    Take breaks and unplug when things get unbalanced.

    Thanks everyone! You should know that after unloading all of this on you, my mind was free enough that I sat on the floor while my kids watched TV and wrote in my notebook. On my wip. It's the first I've written all week and it felt wonderful!

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  14. Sounds like everyone else already has it covered. Adding my two cents of agreement and support. You'll find a balance.

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  15. Charity,I'm going to stop lurking and comment on this one--I think I have put off some of my own dreams because I didn't think I was capable of doing more than just mothering at this stage. But I worry that by the time my kids are independent, I won't have the energy to start. I know how it is to exist in a sort of daydream as the ideas are forming, and that world is so attractive, it becomes irritating to be interrupted by the real one.
    Here's my point: I once read a comment by the wife of Elder Nielson (or possibly another apostle) where she said that, even though her husband's hours were long, when he was home he was home. She meant that he was completely in the moment when dealing with her and their children. I fail at that repeatedly but I think that if I could do it, I'd get more alone time from everyone for doing my own thing.
    I feel for you.

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  16. Oh, Charity *huge hugs* way over from this part of the world!
    I can see how much and how well everyone else has expressed their two cents, so I won't repeat things that have been said.

    Instead, I'll let you in on a little secret:
    not one single person around me "gets it" why I'd rather sit down and write instead of going out, or watching TV, etc.
    I also have the disadvantage (so-to-speak, community-wise) of being a Hungarian girl, living in Romania, writing in English!
    So you can imagine how many writers I've met in real life. All my writer friends are people I've met through blogging and starting posting flash fiction and poems on my blog on Fridays as I've reluctantly and very much scared out of my mind joined the #fridayflash community. But I wouldn't trade any of my online friends for anything in the world, because they make me keep at it, they encourage me and help when they can, even as it's with just a few words.
    Like you stated in your post, I also write because I need to write.
    It's become who I am, and I won't deny it even if it makes my friends frown and look at me like I'm a nut-case, they basically couldn't care less that a few of my flashes and poems have been accepted to ezines or that I just received my own print copy of the Best of FridayFlash anthology.
    Like you said, it's not about being published, though I'm extremely happy and grateful to have been very lucky to have these chances and get my writing accepted in a few places.
    But even if none of it gets published ever again, I'll still be writing.
    It's who I am!

    And as it's obvious that it's such a big part of who you are too, I know you'll find a balance!
    I hope that talk will have the desired effect and you'l be understood!
    (And if need be, I'm only an email away) :)

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  17. Charity- I can't really add any more sage wisdom than the other commenters, but I wanted to comment. Hugs to you. Sounds like you have a good plan to start finding balance again based on your comment.

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  18. I just wanted to add another voice to the chorus of people here offering support.

    We writers really are a nuisance to the people around us, aren't we? But I think if we want to be complete, we have to ask our loved ones for patience and support.

    You said two things in your post that especially caught my attention:

    Writing was a way out of depression for you, and writing makes you feel whole.

    Maybe it's not obvious when your family is asking questions about how much time you spend writing, but these two statements strongly suggest to me that you shouldn't be asking whether you should keep writing. It's a matter of figuring out how to work things so that you can keep writing.

    Plus: you are querying! That's amazing! Keep doing that, and keep writing more!

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  19. Thinking of you as you seek the balance in your comment -- and I was SO glad to see that comment where you took the advice from your blog followers and listed your course of action, because I was kind of worried about you! Don't let your husband stifle your dreams, and don't feel like there is some "perfect mom" or "perfect wife" that you need to become. I am not an expert in trying to please my husband (ha) but I get the feeling that there will ALWAYS be one more thing: one more shortcoming, one more expectation I just don't meet. So I don't let it get me down when I feel like he needs more from me. I just try to be realistic about what I can give.

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  20. Hello,

    I found my way over here from your 'faces' blog, which I think is a cool idea for a blog.

    If you shelve your dreams halfway, you'll never know whether you would have been published. Compromise might be the answer. See how it works if you spend a little less time at the computer and more time with the family.

    In your position, I wouldn't even think about giving up writing for a moment. If you're going to be unhappy giving it up, then that isn't an option. Hope you find a happy medium.

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  21. I agree with J. L.
    Find other things to cut out of your life before you give up your dreams.

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  22. I only just found out about this post because you mentioned it in your latest one, otherwise I'd have been here much sooner.

    It's hard for non-writers to understand how important it is for a writer to write. The truth is that he'll probably never get it but you can talk to him about it a little and try to make him understand that it's part of who you are and what you want to do with your life. Tell him that your love for him and your children is what inspires you to write because it fills you with joy and you want to share that with others.

    Also, if you were to give up writing because of his doubts and yours, you would come to resent him for it. It would become like an extra person between you that was slowly hurting you both. You can't allow that to happen.

    My last point is that it's important for all of us writers to make time in our lives that is not writing related. Set aside a couple of days a week that are not writing days. Spend that time with your family. Doing this will make your time writing that much more valuable and efficient.

    I hope you work this out. It's hard to write when you don't have the support at home for it. I know how that feels and it's not easy. In the end you just have to follow your heart.

    Jai

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