As promised, the fabulous Ainsley Brooks…
Like Michelle said, 2013 was a roller coaster of a year. Truer words, my friend, truer words.
When I had my son, I felt blessed beyond measure to be able to quit my job and become a stay at home mom, but five years and another child later, the luster of that lifestyle had begun to dull. I spent the summer of 2013– all three months of it, every single day of it– at home caring for a five year old and an almost two year old. I remember when I first became a SAHM, I’d get together with friends and their new babies for play dates; we’d go out for coffee while our little ones napped in their infant carriers; story time at the library was a novelty. Five years later, my mommy friends and I had more kids, nap times were an illusive and unpredictable luxury, and the only conversation we could manage was maybe a hastily tossed off comment on Facebook.
During the summer of 2013, I went weeks without seeing an adult other than my husband or my mother, who would pop in occasionally on her lunch break. Most days, I met my husband at the door, shoved the baby at him, then went back inside to start dinner. Again. The only “me time” I got was when I was left blessedly alone to do the dishes. There were days I don’t think I even sat down. The only thing that got me through it was the knowledge that August would arrive eventually. It had to.
And it did. My son started kindergarten, all day kindergarten. And we started my daughter in a part-time program, which she hated. For the first two weeks, she cried so hard she threw up. Hello mommy guilt. But soon, she adjusted, and even came to look forward to school days. Finally, some free time for Mommy.
And the next week, my husband lost his job to corporate downsizing.
So much for care-free and relaxing.
Hubby had been working in the corporate world for fifteen years. He’d endured shifts in management philosophies, decreasing benefits packages, stagnant wages, job insecurity, numerous recessions, and now the crowning corporate indignity. To say he was fed up with corporate America was to vastly understate the point. Fortunately, we had some savings, enough that he could take some time to explore other options. Ultimately, he realized that what he most wanted to do was spend time with the kids. While I had been drowning in parenting and household duties, he had been craving more time at home with our children. The solution was obvious, but not simple. We switched places.
I have but one marketable skill, and the marketability of that single skill could certainly be called into question. I am a writer, a wordsmith, a storyteller. Hubby and I decided it was probably now or never in terms of me pursuing my dream of being a published author. I considered querying agents and editors, but even in the best case scenario, I wouldn’t see any income for at least a year. My family didn’t have a year, so we made the decision to self publish the novel I’d been tinkering with on and off for several years.
On the recommendation of a writer friend, I found a small publisher who offered copy editing and cover design services. She took a look at my first two chapters and accepted me as a client. She also pointed out areas where my manuscript needed work, and suggested that if money was a priority, then having the book go live at ebook retailers the week before Christmas was the way to go. This was in October.
I had intended to make the transition from full-time parent to working writer slowly. I thought I might even take a month or so to relax, maybe read a good book or two.
And the universe laughed. Chortled even. A universal guffaw might be more accurate.
From mid-October to mid-December, I revised a 156K-word manuscript to a better, tighter 80K-word story that was ready for publication. I learned everything I could about ebook publishing and marketing, created a website, produced content for that website, created a social media presence for my author self, and launched a blog tour. Plus, there was the not insignificant task of training Hubby on the ins and outs of stay-at-home parenthood. Oh yeah, and right in the thick of it all were Thanksgiving and Christmas. That wasn’t stressful at all. As my five-year-old son is fond of saying; that was sarcasm.
The year’s parting shot was to smack me with the virus to end all viruses, one that had my head in a trash can for two days. Really, it was like 2013 flipped me the bird on its way out the door. Good riddance.
I am a published author! My book, The Star Prophecy: Book One of The Daughters of Prophecy is available for the world to read. And people are buying it and leaving me some great reviews. 2013, for all that it was an epic shitstorm, was also the year that my dream, the one I’ve had since I was a child, came true. I am a published author!
Hello 2014, I offer you a toast with a glass of sweet lemonade. I made it myself.