Being Real

This morning, I feel like being real.

I mean, I’m always REAL. But I mean, the dirty bathroom kind of real, the shut your bedroom door so no one sees the mess kind of real.

Some of the real grittiness of life people don’t want to see, if we are being honest. They have their own grittiness and don’t need to be messin’ with mine.

Everyone asks me how I do it. When I start to tell them how I organize my day, or my method of calendaring, eyes glaze over. So I don’t think they really want to know the detailed account of my minutes. I’ve started making jokes about my piles of laundry and that brings a laugh, and a glint of satisfaction that concerns me.

I think people wonder what had to give so that I might have time to be an author. And I wish the answer was, “nothing that I valued had to go.”

But that’s not entirely true, so now I’m being real.

You know that awesome book you have that totally sucks you in and you don’t need food, or sleep or even the bathroom while you are reading it?

That’s how writing a book is. Once you slip into that world, your fingers flying across the keyboard, you are lost, and all interruptions seem secondary.

That sounds lovely, right? It actually is. Drafting a book is a magical journey to another place.

But then you have to edit. Which is painstaking and careful and brow-beating work. Where something is not working and even if you don’t know exactly how to fix it, you have to fix it. But editing is where things start to shine and your intent becomes clear. It’s like a slow reveal gem buried deep in the earth. Editing consumes me in a different way than drafting consumes me.

And then there’s proofreading which is fine.

But if you write books, chances are, you want people to read them. So there is a whole side of writing that has nothing to do at all with actually creating stories. Marketing, platform building, networking work. I sort of LOVE/hate this work. I love the people aspect of it. Love to meet new people, love to connect, love having people in my life. I don’t want to talk about the parts that are grueling. I mean, I can only be real about a few things at a time.

So if I let it, writing could take over my life, and there are two-week stretches when I have a deadline and it actually does take over most of my time. The trouble with the time vacuum is that I have a vibrant and rewarding life outside of writing.

And this morning, it got real.

I got a text. “We are coming to get Audrey at 8 this morning.” Cute friends, taking her to breakfast. So I walk by her room at 7:15, considering whether to wake her or let them surprise her. AND I SAW HER ROOM. I feel like I was in there just the other day, right? And it was clean?

Then my older teen saunters over. “Mom, do you know where our calculators are?”

He has the ACT this morning and must leave in twenty minutes. And I happen to know we have gone on a graphing calculator hunt before and come up empty handed. We buy a new one every year but we never actually have one to use. So I leave Audrey asleep in her bed and move to help my son. After much drawer and old back pack digging we find one, but it is not charged. Then we find another, miracle of miracles, but the batteries are old and crusty. The hunt for AAA batteries ensues. In the meantime, clock is ticking for girls to arrive and embarrassing room awaits. Then BAM breakfast. “Have you eaten anything?” Of course not. I scramble for something edible and quick. I cannot give him cereal before the ACT, isn’t that bad? Too many carbs? I vaguely remember peanut butter being a good thing, so I slab some on a couple rolls and add Nutella for luck and hand them to my son, with a water bottle and power bar for snack and send him out the door. Back to Audrey’s room and I start to notice the other rooms in the house. So you get my point. Authoring for me means messy rooms. I am willing to give up cleaning to write books. But when my older kids took the ACT, before I became an author, everything was laid out the night before and they arose calmly with plenty of time to do their best. Right now as I type, I am panicking a little bit because I don’t know if he brought a spare number 2 pencil. I don’t even know if he brought A pencil but I’m assuming even a sixteen year old guy would remember that.

In the meantime, other teen didn’t finish his merit badge in time for a particular deadline, and I didn’t get to hug my youngest after losing a basketball game in double overtime.

But good things are happening too. Older teen will finish his Eagle Scout project next week and be almost done earning his Eagle Scout award.

Let’s, just for fun, make a list of all the things.

Two sons’ progress towards Eagle in Scouting.

One daughter preparing to go to the Philippines in May. This includes researching and acquiring all things that will keep her alive over there. As well as getting her shots. And giving her the emotional support and building love she needs before she goes for 18 months.

One daughter returning from 18 months in Spain. Finding her apartment, with specific friends, adding all her classes.

One son’s support as he gets ready to audition for HS band.

One daughter’s talent development in voice and piano and possibly volleyball. This weighs on me a little bit.

My responsibilities at church. These are large and varied and all consuming if I let them. My husband is the Bishop of our congregation. And so by default my role at his side could be as large or small as I make it. And I also have a job leading the music program for the children at church every Sunday.

Friends. I do have them still, I hope.

The yard, the house.

Dentist Appts. I mean, this deserves its own blog post.

And so on. Everything fighting for its moment at the top of my to-do list each day.


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An award winning author and mother of six. Check out my news and published historical romances. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. She is a member of the RWA, the SCBWI, and LDStorymakers. She is also the chair of the Lonestar.Ink writing conference. Twitter—@authorjen Instagram—@authorlyjen

7 thoughts on “Being Real

  1. Inspiring to see a woman of faith exercising her life liberties and pursuing happiness, all while loving others well. The clutter is simply not important and won’t be remembered. Love and passion endures! Thanks for sharing your realness.

    1. So pleased to find people agreeing about clutter not being important …. I step over mine daily, yet its presence (for me) does sometimes have a negative effect on my creative writing phases.

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