It's not too late to join the fun at the DIYMFA book club. I'm enjoying the community so far, and the prompts are fun to explore. Today's prompt asks about a time when I had to honor my reality.
Generally, I'm more of an Adam Savage frame of mind when it comes to reality:
I want everything: to be a great mother and wife, teach brilliant lessons, cook magnificent meals, exercise enough, write all the words, travel to all the places, see all the shows, volunteer all the places, and still find time to read, eat, and maybe watch some movies.
You should see it when I'm sick. It's terrible. I'm the worst patient. I get so angry about being slowed down for recovery!
But sometimes, I have to admit that it's not actually possible to do it all. I do, after all, still require sleep, despite the amount of caffeine I consume.
My husband is my best reality-checker in this regard. He spots it when I've really overbooked myself and am going to drive myself crazy, and expresses his concern somewhere between "gently" and a "come to Jesus talk" depending on the severity of the situation. We have some very direct talks about choosing priorities and letting some things go, but not the ones that will really give me regrets.
When I committed to writing every day and really giving this whole "writing thing" my best effort, he helped me plot out the parameters for what that could mean in our family, without bankrupting us or alienating all my loved ones. He's really got my back in the best possible way in all this. It's hard for me to say no to an opportunity that appeals to me, even when it's not practical to participate.
An example of this is the Son of a Pitch contest. It's a pitch contest organized by a writing friend. I've been a hosting blogger and second round feedback provider and judge for a couple of years. It's a great contest, with a really positive and supportive vibe and I LOVE being a part of it. But it's held in September and February.
Did I mention that I'm a middle school teacher by day?
So, yeah. September and February are the starts of semesters. Not the best timing to take on something so all-absorbing for an entire week. Especially since I also insist on working on my own WIP daily at the same time--that one is a deal-breaker for me, the one promise I've made to myself that I DO NOT break.
In September, when I last did Son of a Pitch, I really struggled to find the hours needed to do it right. So, to honor my reality this year, when I was invited to judge again, I said that February is really not good for me.
When you're still building a writing career, it's hard to give up an opportunity, hard to trust that there will be others. But it's all about balance and a girl can't live on literary fumes alone.
I'm still learning to be reasonable with what I expect from myself, setting the bar high enough to push me without breaking me. I suspect it'll be a lesson I learn and relearn all the days of my life.