I’ve been toying with the idea of this blog post for a while. Each time I sit down, fingers hovering over the keys, mind going a mile a minute, I pause and lean back. Forewarning, this will probably make no sense at the end, but I’ve got a lot of feelings and this is how I purge them. I’m writing a story now and I think my character has brought out some very deep emotions for me. Which is scary as fuck!
There’s a lot of fear when I talk about myself as a writer and not actually writing a story. To me, my characters are their own people. Sure, there are similarities between myself and most of my heroines. Catherine has Daddy issues, Grace struggles with knowing whether to let go or hold on, and Charlie is afraid of being left behind. Then, they have some of my quirks, like fear of sharks, love of coffee, and I’m sure there are a million other things that I don’t even realize … but that’s all surface.
It’s not who I am at my core.
I’m much more, and the struggles I face daily are easy to hide from when I’m behind the keyboard.
When I wrote my first book, I had no way of knowing how things would go. Sure, I believed my book was the best thing in the world (I assure you, it’s not and I’m fully aware), but I believed it was. I had low goals. REALLY low goals. I wanted to sell 5 books. I figured failing would be much harder if I didn’t think anyone was ever going to read it anyway. I heard from many friends … “oh, what a great hobby.” Granted, it began that way, but after my first, second, third, and so on, it clearly wasn’t.
Each book I write lives inside of me. It may sound crazy, but I walk along side of my characters, loving them, feeling with them, and bringing life to a very scary imagination. Then, I release them into the world and do everything I possibly can to detach so that I feel nothing after. Which most times I fail miserably at the detaching phase. Hence why I block certain websites from my computer.
Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. <– for real.
However, the time I spend with my characters means time away from real life. My husband, kids, family, and friends all fall to the wayside. I notice more and more what little interaction I get outside of the “book world”. Hell, thanks to the internet, I don’t even have to grocery shop anymore! The cycle is never ending because as a writer, I’m always working on the next book. I’m always striving for something else which means I neglect people, my home, my sanity …
I’m not sure what the right thing is, but I know I have to do better. Balance is hard when you never feel grounded. Writing is the best part of me and at the same time it’s hurting those around me–and myself! I’ve gained more weight than I care to admit, I swear I never had these gray hairs before, and I promise I own a blow dryer. I find my self-worth in people who don’t know me. Yet the very idea of walking away, is impossible. I need to write to because it lives in me. I’m literally cranky when I take long breaks, but then I go opposite and shut in when I am writing. It’s really freaking hard for me to work through that, and I really suck at it so far.
As a woman, business owner, writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, and all the other things … I sometimes feel like I’m treading water and barely staying afloat. (I swear a character has said that in one of my books, sorry if I’m quoting myself here.)
I believe success for women often comes with a price. It could be the same for men, but there’s almost an expectation that they’ll do well and there’s a level of support that’s granted just because of their sex. We won’t even get into all that because we could go on and on. My point is that women are still expected to be the ones who keep the “home”. I’m not taking about cleaning and that, but the overall functionality of it. It’s just reality. I still do the doctor’s appointments, scheduling, drop offs, and have to write and run a business. I forfeit sleep, health, and I still can’t get it all done. Yet, it’s expected of me to do it all. I can’t. I literally cannot. It’s too much and it’s killing me slowly. I don’t have enough hours in the day to be everything to everyone and still have something for me.
I want to be a good wife. I want a healthy marriage where we’re not just strangers in the night. Marriage is work and it’s hard. My schedule, his schedule, and just overall stress of life makes things insurmountable on a good day. But a release month … forget it. I’m even more of a head case. I know this, but I’m still searching for a way to stop myself from going down the rabbit hole.
I want to be a good mother. I want my kids to tell me about their days and not making comments about how much I’m on my phone and computer. I grew up in a time where we didn’t have cell phones. We had beepers and no call waiting. We spoke with who we spoke to until we hung up. I can remember my grandmother taking the phone off the hook during dinners so no one could interrupt. The mere idea of not having my phone near me will literally cause my heart to race. That’s crazy! They deserve more than that.
I want to be a good writer. I need to pen novels so I can feel whole inside. There’s nothing more exciting than a blank page for me. I get to create. I get to explore subjects that harbor deep inside of me, wanting to get out, needing a voice, and I somehow have been blessed to be able to do that.
I wish I had answers. I wish this wasn’t just rambling about nothing other than some self-awareness. Maybe I’m hoping someone else reads this and can identify a little. My friends often share the same feelings of inadequacy with their jobs and home life, and that’s what it boils down to for me. I don’t know that I ever feel like I’m doing enough. <– that damn word haunts me.
Do men feel this way? I don’t know. What I do know is that so many women struggle with working and being a wife and mother. It shouldn’t be a choice, in my humble opinion. I shouldn’t have to be one or the other. I just need to figure out how to be both and be happy.