Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Chain: A matter of priority


It's blog chain time again. Laura asked: Regarding your writing career, what’s the best mistake you’ve ever made and why?

Several months ago, I probably would have said my best mistake involved querying my first ms too soon. Not only did it lead to the realization that my first drafts aren't bricks of gold, it lead me to a great group of writing peers that would provide valuable knowledge and feedback.

But many changes have occurred in the past several months. Those changes have made me re-evaulate the priorities in my life. In that re-evaluation I discovered the worst mistake in my writing career has been focusing so heavily on the fictional characters that in my head that I've missed some great moments with the main characters in my life -- my daughters.

I hear you. You're saying, "But the question was what has been the best mistake -- regarding your writing career -- you've ever made and why?"

Well, the best mistake could not be happening without having made the worst mistake.

In case you haven't noticed, my blog posts have been few and far between lately. It's not just my blog that has been neglected. I've turned my computer on in the past few weeks only to access my music collection (and there were those two interviews I did for work). I haven't typed or sent a query or a synopsis. I haven't built a world. I haven't even cracked into the mind of a character in months. The only writing I've managed to squeeze in has been done with a ballpoint pen in my journal at the end of the day.

Sometimes it feels wrong. Sometimes I hear that voice in the back of my mind nagging me to get back to my computer. Sometimes it feels like a big mistake to put writing on the back burner. Some people might even call my recent acts of neglect a form of writerly career suicide.

Then I think about how rewarding it has been to live my life for real instead of vicariously through characters, and I realize it's been the best mistake so far.

I mean, fictional characters will be there forever, but my daughters will only be young once.
Michelle posted before me. Find out what Christine has to say about her mistakes tomorrow.

12 comments:

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

It is very tough balancing the needs of your family with your writing needs, isn't it? That's why I do most of my writing on my lunch hour at work. I agree family has to come first, but I hope you don't give up writing completely!

lynnrush said...

Nicely said. Balance is tough, for sure. Prayin' for ya.

Sarah Bromley said...

Balancing writing with family is so tough. Family is something we all hope to always have. Writing is something we can always do when there is time. If you're happiest with the change in your priorities, great for you! We don't write to live or live to write. We live and in the meantime gather up the experiences and emotions we need to eventually write.

Crimey said...

I'm constantly struggling with balance issues. Eventually we'll figure it out, but for sure, family first. The characters will always be there.

Christine Fonseca said...

Dude I SO GET THIS POST!!! And Man, I have no idea what I am going to say to answer it!

Margie Gelbwasser said...

You're very right. Kids grow and it's important to be their for your family. Everything else will fall into place. Great post!

nomadshan said...

Best of luck balancing everything, Kat!

lbdiamond said...

Oh, yeah, balance is essential! It's easy to get quite obsessed with writing and revising and finding the perfect words to describe a scene. As you say, it comes at the neglect of life. I'm so glad you're taking time to spend with your family--relationships--the real ones--are what's most important in life. Plus, life experiences will make the writing you do do all the more powerful! But I bet I'm preaching to the choir, here. ;)

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I've missed you, but I absolutely agree about daughters. We only get one go-round with them. So I am glad to hear that you have been living life in a full way with them. I always know that time spent with my daughter is time I will *never* regret.

Eric said...

I don't think there's ever an answer to these questions that is wrong. And I don't think your choice to focus on your daughters is necessarily a killing blow to your career. What that says to me is that you know what's important to focus on and when it's important. That means when you DO jump back into your career fully, the writing won't suffer because at that particular time, it will be most important. Nice answer, Kat.

Cole Gibsen said...

I can so relate. Too often when I'm writing I feel like a bad mother. And when I spend all day with my daughter I feel like a bad writer. One of these days I hope to find balance.

Michelle H. said...

The fact that you need a balance in your writing and family life has to be the best (mistake?) Perhaps the bigger mistake is when people, and I don't mean just writers, ignore what's really important in their lives especially when family is involved.