Sunday, June 12, 2011

June or JK?

Somehow today, the family conversation turned to my writing. (Honest, I wasn't the one who brought it up!) My husband and daughter wanted to hear the synopsis for a middle-grade novel idea that I've mentioned in the past. My husband thinks (and I agree) that it is an idea that is quite possibly marketable, much more likely to be published than the novel I've been working on for the past seven (!) years. He said I ought to start working on it, and that if I could get interest in it, then I might be more likely to get the first one published too.

The problem is, it's going to take a LOT of research before I can start any writing. This idea is another historical, and as you probably would guess from previous posts, I am a hard-liner about historical accuracy. Plus, this story involves actual historical figures quite prominently, which means it's even more important to be accurate. I love doing the research, but....it takes a LOT of time. A lot.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. When I brought up the amount of time needed to do the research and then the writing and the revision and how hard it is to find any time to write, my husband said, "You can't be June Cleaver and Gilbert Parks and JK Rowling all at once." (Gilbert Parks is one of my teaching colleagues who has been teaching for nearly 50 - yes, you read that right - years. For all his years in the business, he is still one of the most energetic and involved teachers I've ever known.) I understood what he was saying - a person can do one thing really well, or a person can stress over trying to do everything well.

I posted his advice on my Facebook page, and very quickly a number of my friends jumped on to say things like "Yes you can!" and "Why not?" I guess they think Jeff is being a male chauvinist, but realistically, he's right. People who are really successful at something tend to devote the lion's share of their time and energy to that one thing. As just one example, how many hours a day did Michael Phelps spend in the swimming pool?

I think my friends are still buying in to the "Superwoman" concept when they say it's possible to be the perfect wife/mother, the perfect employee, the uber-successful writer at the same time. I guess it depends on what your standard for "perfect" is, but in my life, there's just not enough time in the day to be "perfect" in all those roles. This past school year has been super-stressful -- and all I found time to do was be an employee and a mother/housewife, and I was definitely less than "perfect"! Writing fell by the wayside completely. I did some substantial revision when I chaperoned my son on a trip to Chicago in early March; the next time I was able to do any work on my book was late May. I had to go back and re-read the whole thing just so I could remember who the characters are!

What this boils down to, I guess, is that I really appreciate that my husband understands single-minded pursuit of "perfection" and has given me permission, no, encouraged me to go for it. Now whether he still buys into it when there are no clean socks in the drawers.....ha, ha. The two things I always manage to do are keep the family fed and in clean underwear. Dust bunnies off the floor....well.....they'll just have to wait. I have some research to do....

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