On an Absence of Rhythms, a Season of Interruptions, and Trying to Make it All Work

Happy February! Groundhog day has already come and gone and while January seemed to drag on forever, now that it’s gone it’s like, wow, where did that month go?

I’m still struggling to get my rhythm back with any kind of consistency. A big reason is that we’re still getting used to having a larger-than-we’re-used-to home and property to care for, and figuring out how to juggle that with writing and everything involved in running an indie publishing business alongside a freelance business. It seems like something always crops up that needs to be taken care of now.

Case in point: some largish critter (like, larger than a rat) has been nesting inside our walls, and so we’ve been setting out a live trap every night in the hopes of catching and removing it. For the first couple of weeks the trap caught nothing, but it still required regular tending. And then this week we caught three(!) ‘possums.

 

The first two (shown) we relocated to a creek many miles from here, and then after the third (not shown) we had a talk about how we don’t want to get rid of all of the ‘possums on our property since they’re beneficial to have around (not to mention ridiculously cute), so we let the third one chill in the trap while we plugged up the hole where they’d been getting into the house (praying as we did that we weren’t trapping any inside), and then let that one go. But dealing with all of that ate up three mornings this week, which is the time of day that I do all of my fiction writing.

We’ve also got a ton of yard work to do. My husband’s been doing the bulk of that himself, bless him, but if we’re going to get the property cleared of leaves and limbs before mowing season starts, I’m going to have to step up and start helping. I spent an afternoon last week (in between ‘possum-relocation excursions) helping to rake and haul leaves and the next day I was so sore and exhausted I wasn’t good for anything.

So, basically, Real Life Makes Writing Hard. News at 11.

Actually, I wasn’t good for nothing during that recovery day. I used my time to revisit my author brand and ideal audience and all of that necessary marketing stuff. After a day of researching and thinking, I feel like it’s all starting to come together. I think these last several years have been mainly about figuring out who I am as an author and a writer, and now I’ve got a a better handle on that and have a lot more confidence to write the kinds of books I really want to write. And I think you’re going to be seeing that emerge over the course of the next year or so as I make some changes.

I know y’all don’t really care about changes to the web design or my visual branding, but that’s coming, eventually. More pertinent to your interests is the slightly new direction I’m taking with this horror novella series I’m currently writing. It might not be that wildly different, but it’s definitely got a harder edge than anything I’ve written before.

Ironically, though, this series is probably thematically also the most Christian story I’ve ever written. Not that that means it’s clean and safe. Far from it.

Anyway, there’s also the Southern Gothic YA novel that’s still simmering on my back burner, and I’m also ginning up ideas for the kind of spooky Middle Grade stories that I loved so much when I was a kid.

But those are mostly just seeds I’m sowing for the future. On a more immediate timeline, I’m also still thinking about how all of this applies to my newsletter, and how I want that to be a gift — something fun that you’ll look forward to every month — and not a sales tool. I had wanted to send out a new issue in January, but I feel like I need to put more thought into it first.

So this brings us full circle back to the problem of how to juggle all of this with the day-to-day responsibilities of living and care-taking a large property. As much as I thrive on rhythms and routines, I think I’m in a season where I’m going to have to release any expectations along those lines and just fit my work in where I can. As for example, it’s Sunday morning as I’m writing this post. I don’t normally do any work on Sunday mornings, but I’m squeezing this post in between a Bible study and the pre-spring cleaning I want to get done during this wonderful warm spell we’re having. And later today I may try to squeeze off a few paragraphs of the novella in between laundry and vacuuming.

Ultimately, I just need to suck it up and recognize that I’ve been spoiled and that having entire days and weeks to devote to my writing and business is a luxury and not actually a necessity. I just need to let go of the notion that certain tasks need to happen during a certain time of day.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

Meanwhile, I will be sending out the new-and-improved newsletter soon–and it will likely include the first peek at this novella I keep talking about. If you’re not signed up to get that in your inbox, you can remedy that by clicking here, or just enter your e-mail below.

How did your January go? Are you fully back in the swing of things or are you still struggling to find your way in this new year like I am?

 


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