Type.Type.Type. Story complete. Grammar check and edit.
Hover over the send button. No, how about one more read through?
A quick trip to Google. As a writer, my google search history is both horrific and hilarious. How fast do corpses mummify in tropical weather? 5 ways to get arrested and make bail. The biochemistry of an exotic poison. Why do zombies run fast?
Voices from the other room. One child asks for a snack.
“Coming”, I mumble, absentmindedly.
Spell checking and fact checking, making sure I’m steering clear of those annoying cliches.
“Nutella sandwich please,” she requests.
The toaster dings, the spread goes on the bread and the snack is delivered.
Now, where was I? Ah! An obscure article on 17th century Rakshas sightings in Southern India. (Yes really 😎)
The voices are back:
“Amma, I need help to turn on the Nintendo Switch.” - 9 year old.
“Woof, Bark, Woof (Play fetch, pretty please?)” - 9 month old Puppy.
“Amma, can I read what you’re writing? Please, Amma? Please, Amma? Please, Amma?”- 5 year old.
Between wiping faces, settling squabbles, answering work emails plus my main job, it’s almost impossible to find a quiet minute. I’m forever holding up a wait-a-minute finger or asking someone to use their inside voice. I worry sometimes that I am setting a poor example for the kids. They obviously need a mother who is present and attentive.
Then before the guilt and panic set in, the laptop calls to me, and I’m blissfully tapping away, filling up the screen with little tales of romance and horror. Until, the next interruption, I’m the happiest person alive. Because you see, at that point in time,
I’m not in my cozy chair, in the bedroom office, inside my house on a quiet street in suburban California.
No, I’m crouching with my heroine as she stalks her next victim or blushing along when the hot guy asks her out.
I love working part time. Financially, I’m privileged to be able to do my job and pursue my passion.
But finding that balance between work and family is so hard. Even with both kids in school, I’m flailing between drop offs and pickups, food prep and chores. Basically everything it takes to run a well oiled house. My husband is impossibly busy, and he tries his best. But OhmyGod, I can see you nodding, because you get this madness, don’t you? Of course, you do.
Sometimes I cry. It’s cathartic and honestly, I miss the spontaneity of my teen years. When it was easy to believe that BIG things would happen to an average person like me. And sometimes, I kick myself for not counting my blessings, because I have this incredible family.
But mostly, I shut up and write because it gives me joy. Simple, delicious bursts of happiness when the words flow just right and suddenly, everything makes perfect sense. Like the warmth of a rainy day Chai or the smell of your child’s fuzzy head.
In the world of literature and leather bound books, I’m still a baby, learning to take that first step. I will trip and fall, gloriously and often, and I’m finally ok with that. In 2018, I had a personal record of 18 rejection letters. 18 publishers read my stuff and thought it was ridiculous/boring/“not quite what we’re looking for”. This year, I’ve submitted my work to 11 different places. 7 rejections and 4 acceptances. So 2019 is already better.
But what’s really changed is this: I’m finally ok with chaos. The breaks and questions and endless LEGO blocks all over my desk.
And even better is I’ve completely committed to my career switch. When someone asks me what I do, I no longer giggle and mumble “I’m also a writer”. I hold my head high and talk about my short stories. Mention my reader base. And about how they’d love my work, if they only gave me a chance.
I’m done with procrastination and excuses. I’m past worrying that I’m just some wannabe. The only way to succeed is to leap forward. And to believe I can be this amazing mother AND a bestselling author. Why the hell not, amirite?
Type type type. Get the kid a glass of milk. Play a few minutes with the puppy.
Own my sh**.
And look at that! I’m happy with my story!
Time to hit SEND.