A year ago I decided that I’d had enough of working full time in a career I didn’t love. It wasn’t that I was bad at it, it was that it left no time for two of the most important things in my life: my son and my creativity. Writing, if if happened at all, oscillated between utter ease and utter drudgery. My son was misbehaving so badly that weekends in our house were battle zones, and we longed for Monday just to get away. That’s no way to live if you can help it.
I left because I knew I couldn’t be my genuine self–first a foremost a mother and a writer–in the environment I had built. I left because being at home more often would give my son a more stable foundation. I left because I knew I needed to make the effort with this writing career, and if I didn’t start working at it, it might never happen. While I’ve been writing since I could string words together coherently, I knew that talent/prowess did not a career make, and that there was a lot of work to be done.
Now it hasn’t been easy. Success hasn’t been measurable in money and renown. But when I look back on the last year, where I was then and where I am now, I’m astonished. I’m not a stay-at-home mom, I’m a write-at-home mom. It’s not a luxury everyone has, nor is it something that works for everyone. But for me, the formula is a good one.
This weekend was one of the most beautiful weekends I’ve ever spent with my husband and son. At three, the little one is learning more and more every day: composing his first songs, telling his first stories. He’s gone from a selfish little toddler who screams when he doesn’t get his way to a child who wants to make people smile, who dances to music even when there isn’t any, and who loves with his whole self. And I haven’t seen my husband smile so much in a very, very long time.
And at the end of the day, I sat down and got my 1K in, because I am still telling stories. They are still a part of me, if not more than ever before. I’m learning to have confidence in what I do, to be proud of my work. I’m learning how truly remarkable and generous people are in the speculative writing and publishing communities, learning how to foster those friendships, too. I’m learning to be thankful for what I know, and strive to fill the gaps between what I don’t (not to mention learning that it’s okay not to know everything…). I’m learning about the importance (and necessity) of beautiful friends.
Most importantly, I’m learning to be me. To let go. To breathe deep. To love more. I suppose that, in itself, is part of my own story, and even I don’t know how it will play out. But for now… being here is enough.