The baby woke up at 5 AM and I didn’t get to bed until midnight last night, because we had a dinner party for my husband’s lab. To say I’m tired is an understatement. And I know that writing is going to be shelved this morning because the house is a giant mess and the dryer broke.
My usual 9 AM to 11 AM writing slot is going to be spent calling a repairman, freezing leftovers and cleaning a kitchen that looks like the cat did all the cooking last night. I try not to beat myself up about not writing when life happens. Life is what it’s all about, it’s what should come first. But, I’ve never had to be so flexible with my schedule as when I became a mom. So when these days happen, I try to think about my writing when I’m doing something else. To me, that counts. I don’t think it would count if I only thought about my writing and never did it, but there are days when it’s just not going to happen and thinking about a plot line or a character has to fill the gap. This can really get me pumped when the next writing session happens. Being forced to step back from writing by other mom duties means when I actually do write, there is more focus and clarity in my writing. So today, I’m going to think about the new short story I’m excited about. I LOVE writing short stories and I always begin a new one when I finish a novel. (Okay, so that means this is only my second short story!) It helps me clear the palette and gets me revved up to write again while I wait to hear back on agent submissions. It makes me feel less powerless when waiting for months on end to hear back about representation. It helps to remind me that I write because I love it and it gets me focused on something else besides the novel.
One thing that is really hard to deal with when you’re a tired writer mom is rejection. I’m currently waiting to hear back from an agent who has my partial manuscript. (I am on the agent search after completing my second novel and going through several rounds of editing) Anyway, the agent with my partial sounds like the perfect agent for me. She seems positive, proactive, a great communicator. She likes the kind of book I think I’ve written. She’s had the manuscript three weeks tomorrow and her normal response time, she says, is five weeks. If she sends me bad news today, as tired as I am, I’m going to feel like I’ve been dumped by a boyfriend. That’s the thing about the agent hunt. You get a crush, you look them up and try to get to know them on-line, you write to them, you put yourself out there, and you hope they love you. You start loving them before you really know them, before you know whether they even like you or not. Good news is ten times sweeter when you’re a tired mom, but bad news is ten times worse, too.
How do you deal with fatigue and writing? Do you push through and write anyway? Does fatigue spur you on? Do you shelf it or think about a particular element of your writing instead of doing it when you’re tired?