Of Course

Of course, this is when she sleeps. Now, when we should be out the door within half an hour and it will take at least that long to get her ready. Of course, she sleeps hard. Hard enough that once I put her down, I have time enough to brush my teeth, and pluck my eyebrows (which are remembering the bushy caterpillars of the teenage years), fold laundry, even type this post.

Or start to. It is still uncertain at this point whether or not I’ll be able to push the “Publish” button before she fully wakes.

My NaNo attempt has so far resulted in words! Not nearly as many as I’d hoped for – certainly not as many as I would like – but there have been words.

I’ll take what I can get.

And I’m relearning how to cram a word here and there, in between feedings, and cleanings, and my attempts at self-care (which, let’s face it, are primarily the wonderfully prolonged snuggle sessions with the little one). Occasionally, I’m even able to multi-task and write at the same time.

One hope of NaNo was for me to give myself some outer accountability. But I have discovered that all the accountability in the world will not phase a newborn. We operate on her schedule, no exceptions.

You know what? I’m ok with that.

But managing my own expectations of myself is a never ending process.

Advertisements

#NaNoWriMo17

In a strange turn of events, I’m actually participating in NaNo this year. For the uninitiated, that’s National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as November, when people sacrifice their lives to crank out 50,000 words of novel. In 30 days.

I’m doing a modified challenge and talk about the details over at Anxiety Ink.

The last time I participated, years and years ago, I realized NaNo wasn’t for me. Writing for speed made me break my stories in horrible, often irreparable ways. (At least, they weren’t worth the cost to fix.)

But the writing process, for most of us, is a thing constantly in flux. What we need can change from year to year, project to project, or day to day. I don’t know if that word count demand would still leave me with broken stories.

I won’t find out this year. My fundamental goal in participating this year is to figure out how to write productively with an infant. Right now, she’s asleep on my chest as I type around her, and she doesn’t seem to mind. I’d put her down and save myself the discomfort, but then she’d be awake within five minutes and demanding food within ten.

She has no appreciated today’s attempts to put her down, rather than letting her sleep in my arms. And quite honestly, I don’t want to put her down; she’s growing so quickly and I don’t want to miss a single snuggly baby moment.

November has not helped me out, so far. Then again, November usually ends up being a weird, chaotic, overfull sort of month. Today was the first I could even attempt to experiment with setting her down more frequently.

I’d intended daily prompts. How many have I done? Exactly none. (Though blog posts like this count towards the word count I’m tracking on the NaNo site, and I’ve made a fair dent this evening in getting details out of the way so I’ll be able to sit down and work on some prompts.)

Some novel work might make its way in, but I wanted to allow myself to focus on figuring out the routine – my new process, now that I have a tiny human depending on me for everything.

The first week of November is nearly gone. I have written more today in two hours than the last four days combined, and I’m not done yet.

It’s a good feeling, to combat the creeping sense of failure that has been growing.

Wish me luck!

I Am Superwoman: Part Two

In case you missed it, you can find part one here.

With everything going on, I made two requests of my baby-to-be: arrive in October – anytime, so long as it’s October – and be under eight pounds.

I thought those were reasonable enough, and she apparently agreed.

At work, I managed to pass along the bare minimum of training so our new hire could run the office by the end of September. When October arrived, I could finally breathe. Training continued and October 6th became my last day to work. With the baby due on October 15, I hoped that would give me time to get the house in some semblance of order.

Early, early the morning of October 3rd, she decided she’d waited long enough. After a two hour labor (I’d never heard the term “precipitous delivery” before, but now am intimately familiar with it), our perfect baby girl arrived.

The thing about such a fast labor? My body never had time to catch up. In more ways than one. See, I never felt that flood of endorphin- and hormone-laden emotion everyone guaranteed would hit me like a freight train. The nurses put her on my stomach, and I felt nothing to differentiate her from any other baby I’d ever held.

I wondered what was wrong with me – what had broken and how I could possibly be a decent mother like this. I worried that I’d made a terrible, awful mistake.

Then that night when a scare landed her in the NICU an hour away from me, I wondered if I was about to lose her and this was my body’s way of protecting me.

She’s fine, by the way. Amazing, in fact.

In all that lonely soul-searching (I didn’t breathe a word of this even to my husband, who followed her to the NICU that night), I remembered that all relationships take work. I’d never considered that choice and that effort extended to parent-child relationships, but it makes sense. You have to work at it. You have to make a choice to work at it.

Or I did.

That choice for me was a no-brainer.

Everything since has felt so incredibly perfect and right. I’m loving motherhood. And you know what? I’m pretty awesome at it. My husband calls me superwoman.

I Am Superwoman: Part One

I’m sorry;  I’ve been so busy being awesome that this blog has once again fallen by the wayside.

You know that feeling when things just click and you absolutely know you’re kicking ass? Yeah. That’s been me.

Rewind to the final trimester of pregnancy – that time when women are advised to take it easy, slow down, eliminate stress. What do I do? I’m a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my oldest friends. My social life screeches along at full tilt and I see so many theatre shows. My husband and I even take in dinner and a show with my high school theatre teacher/mentor and his wife.

I do not have words for how awesome it is to be friends with him as an adult. Weird, when I pause to consider how dynamics have shifted over time, but awesome.

I even acted in a play. At eight months pregnant. Go me! In an odd, unplanned turn of events – a hell week development – I ended up operating sound, too. From backstage. On my phone.

Related: my husband is beyond amazing and QLab is a program that solves so many theatre tech problems.

September also had another wedding (I only attended that one!) and two awesome writer-friends came for separate visits. Which means we hosted for two and a half weeks   of our September.

That stuff was all planned for, to one extent or another. Some had been in the works since before I got pregnant. Some other things came up that I just couldn’t say no to (or didn’t know any better until it was too late).

What didn’t I plan on? My boss giving her two weeks’ notice. On the same day I had a letter to submit stating my intention not to return after the baby.

I never did submit that letter.

The thing is, this town has a three-person office and we’d just hired a new part-timer to replace the one who left earlier in the summer. (This all happened her first week, poor woman.) So I was already training her. Then suddenly I was interim Town Administrator, Treasurer, and Tax Collector, while still carrying all my previous workload and responsibilities.

September became the month from hell, but, Dear Reader, I kicked its ass.

I may have been waddling around on appendages that look more like overpuffed marshmallows than feet, but I felt like superwoman. Even though I dropped things – promises, responsibilities – in every aspect of my life. How I didn’t develop stress-related pregnancy complications we’ll never know.

This sleeping baby is worse than a cat when she starts to squirm, so the rest of this saga will have to wait for part two.

Shake It Up!

So it was past time for a little spring summer cleaning of the blog, most of it cosmetic, but you may notice an extra widget in the sidebar. (I might be in avoidance mode, but there is no part of this national healthcare farce I am ok with. Because I can’t be ok with the message, “Just f*ck off and die.”)

That’s right, folks: I have Instagram.

I upgraded my phone in May from a Windows phone with few apps and poor connectivity in areas where I actually want the connection to a shiny new iPhone 7. Social media suddenly became easier! Before, it felt like a chore and offered one more thing to overwhelm me.

One huge bonus? I’m able to check in sporadically to social media and email without getting sucked into bunny trail distractions. This means that when I come home, I don’t feel so tied to the computer.

Go me! More time and opportunity to write! To be creatively productive!

. . . Ok, I feel your skepticism. But the opportunity is there! I just lack in follow-through. (At least I know I’m in good company?)

I created an Instagram account not knowing if I would actually use it, but it was a goal I’d set for myself at the beginning of the year. And guess what?

I use it. Probably more than Facebook and Twitter combined.

And I love my username: @writinginterrupted. It’s just so perfect, in so many ways.

When Things Don’t Go According To Plan

If you’ve been following along over on Anxiety Ink, you know I tried to do a Thing that didn’t go anywhere near the way I hoped.

I set a date and time for a writing workshop on worldbuilding. I reserved the space at the library. A few people told me they would definitely-for-sure be there.

Then with maybe 48 hours to go, the cancellations came in.

‘Disappointing’ doesn’t begin to cover it. I had been so excited to finally do this thing I’ve thought about and wanted to do for years, only to have it all collapse at the last minute.

But I’m currently in the process of shifting my life to a greater focus on all things creative. My attempts to lead workshops do not end here. This will be a Thing and it will happen.

And in the meantime, I’ll be using the excuse to get familiar with this video equipment we have and turn my workshop plans into short videos.

Do you have any writing topics you’d like to see covered? What is something you’ve always wanted creative writing classes/workshops to do or talk about?

And if you have any favorite YouTubers who talk about writing, I could use some recommendations!

Busy Busy Theatre Bee

Though I’ve been quiet on here, I’ve been busy. It’s funny how creative things seem to spawn more creative things.

I’ve had a ridiculous number of offers and invitations to audition, participate in a reading of a new play to be presented to a professional theatre company, participate in a staged reading of Macbeth (as Macduff!), to be in a show later this summer . . . even an offer of a role that I had to turn down because of other theatre conflicts.

Being in a position to turn down a role sounds like a pretty fantastic humble-brag – especially when even getting cast just doesn’t happen much – but it’s stupidly stressful.

It’s been more than a little frenetic when I stop to think about it, so I try not to. But I’ve made new friends and new theatre connections. We’ll see where they take me! And it’s also an amazing ego boost to be offered so many opportunities.

At the most frantic point, I did three auditions in a week and a half. Because that’s what everyone does when four months pregnant. (At least first trimester exhaustion had relaxed its grip by then.) One of those an open call for a professional theatre, which is something that has terrified me.

The experience was absolutely terrifying. But now that I’ve done it once, maybe it won’t intimidate me so much to try it again.

It doesn’t feel possible that all this has happened in the span of three months. While attempting to negotiate the reality of a first pregnancy.