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Thursday, January 20, 2011



By most writerly-type accounts, I have a dream job. Or - more specifically - I don't have a job at all. Cue the tickertape parade, ya'll, because I'm a full time author. A full time author with a bill-paying spouse and absolutely zero income requirements.

Does it get any better than that?


Now, before you go thinking I've got it made – or, even more laughable – that I've "made it," I'd like to invite you to be me for a day. Brace yourself for the glamour, my friends - this is one reality show yet to make prime time.

5:00 a.m. – Alarm goes off a full hour before necessary. It's the "writing alarm" – the one you set so you can get up and amass wordage before the kids invade the day. You are excited. TODAY is the day you'll get your characters off the floor where you left them and out of the first chapter. You can feel it! Today will be different!

5:01 a.m. – You're still listening to the alarm. The bed is warm, you're comfy, and you know the H will get annoyed and cut off the alarm so you have zero motivation to move. Your characters will be perfectly fine on the floor for another hour.

6:30 a.m. – The H is late for work - his fault for doing the whole alarm-cutty-offy thing. He's not amused when you mumble this from beneath a thick, fluffy pile of blankets while he pulls on layers after layer of long underwear to face a 20 degree morning.

8:00 a.m. – You awake to the distinct odor of a three-year-old wearing a wet pullup sitting on the bed somewhere in the vicinity of your head. If you're lucky, you only smell pee. He repeats "Good morning, Mommy" – louder each time - until he wakes up the baby.

8:10 a.m. – You're up, the baby is up, the offender has been banned from your bed for life. You need coffee or, rather, Sam's Club brand vanilla cappuccino. It's instant, so you put a cup of water in the microwave.

8:11 a.m. – There's not a whole lot you can get done in the two minutes it takes to heat water in the microwave, so you unload the dishwasher.

8:12 a.m. – Then you load it.

8:30 a.m. – Feeling accomplished with the dishwashing thing, you open the handy dandy netbook to add more brilliant words to your WIP. A mere two seconds after you vow not to go online until you've written at least a full page, you are so distracted by what you might be missing in your inbox that you decide it's more prudent to take a quick look than it is to lose writing time to incessant curiosity.

9:30 a.m. – Still online. 'Nuff said.

9:35 a.m. – Kids want pancakes or French toast. You feel guilty knowing you're going to try to make up that lost writing time later in the day, so as a pre-emptive strike on your conscious you agree to make pancakes or French toast. (Well, there's that and there's the idea of a steamy, buttery stack of stuff covered in syrup.)

11:00 a.m. – You're still flipping breakfast over a hot stove. You vow to use the griddle next time, because getting it out can't possibly be more trouble than making 30 whatevers one at a time for a herd of five ravenous children (plus a baby with only two teeth).

11:30 – You find the forgotten cappuccino water in the microwave. Reheat.

12:00 – Two of your six children are still asleep. You've yet to find time to eat your cold breakfast, and now the other kids want lunch "because it's noon." The pan is still hot from breakfast. You threaten them from the kitchen with it.

1:00 p.m. – The kids are working on their home school assignments, no one has questions, and there's peace on your two acres of Earth. Time to tackle your manuscript.

1:05 p.m. – A squabble erupts over a pencil (you don't know why because they each have a set of 24 personalized pencils that promised to put an end to this). You referee. The sound of the world ending wakes up the baby.

2:00 p.m. – After almost an hour of howling interrupted-nap-woes, the baby has returned to peaceful slumber. The other kids are (literally) in their corners, Pencil Gate resolved, accomplishing things. You experience a twinge of envy.

2:02 p.m. – The computer is open. You can't remember the file name of your manuscript. (Yes, I'm serious.)

2:10 p.m. – The mailman is at the door. It is at this point you realize you are still wearing pajama pants and have yet to corral the girls with a bra.

2:11 p.m. – Everyone went careening from their work stations to see what package came today, so you go ahead and do the group lessons. Ancient Assyria, here we come.

3:00 p.m. – Writing time. And this time you mean it. Right after you check your email.

3:45 p.m. – You've just finished telling every friend, message board, and social network you know about the stellar review or awesome reader e-mail you just found in the inbox you were not supposed to be anywhere near.

4:30 p.m. – … and now you've squealed in turn over their great news, fab reviews, and left comments at their blogs. You know you haven't made adequate rounds, but it's past time to start the bread dough for dinner.

7:00 p.m. – The meal rivaled anything Paula Deen might put on the table to acquiesce the guilt you're about to feel about shutting the bedroom door so you can work on your manuscript. After piles of homemade mashed potatoes, fresh baked bread, home-grown veggies, and a roast worthy of Sunday dinner, you realize you didn't exercise today.

7:10 p.m. – Your readers and peeps have left emails and messages in response to your emails and messages. You reply.

8:00 p.m. – You remember you have a blog / guest blog / interview to finish. Yesterday.

9:00 p.m. – One of your delightful offspring is asking for the 10th time in two hours if you'd like anything to drink. You give up on "no thanks" and ask for cappuccino, at which point you remember the cup of water in the microwave. You hope the kid is smart enough to reheat the water.

9:05 p.m. – Cappuccino comes, and with it word spreads that the barrier of the closed door has been successfully breached with no fatalities. Bringer-of-cappuccino demands a quarter for his services. You decide you like his business acumen and glare until he goes away, quarterless.

9:06 p.m. – Having seen a sibling return from your territory unharmed, ten-year-old boy comes in to discuss the garden. (The one that's a good three months from going into the ground.) You close the computer and give him your full attention because (a) your kid is beyond excited about gardening and doesn't care a lick about video games and (b) not only is he still speaking to you in these tween years, but he clearly values your opinion. This is way better than fiction.

9:34 p.m. – You really don't care this much about the garden.

11:00 p.m. – The other writing stuff is done. Rather than opening your manuscript at this late hour, you set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. and vow you'll get up early to write. You don't have to go to work, so you'll have all day to get those characters off the floor and out of chapter one. And you're almost too excited to sleep.

Tomorrow will be different.

Sarah stays at home with her six precious children, each of whom are adorable when they're asleep. Contrary to what you might expect after spending a day in her life, she only contemplates murder within the pages of a book. The cast of her first romantic suspense, RUN TO YOU, is getting killer reviews ( click here ) while the characters from her new novel are getting cramped up after a few weeks in the same position on the floor. But no worries. She'll work on that … tomorrow.

16 Moonbeams (comments):

Rachel Haimowitz said...

OMG dear, once again, there is absolutely NOTHING about this post that isn't absolutely hilarious. Perhaps you should consider writing humor essays instead ;-)

Sarah Ballance said...

Rachel doesn't like my fiction? ROFLMAO! (KIDDING!) I actually have another life in nonfiction, but it doesn't come with book covers, advances, or royalties. I'm easily swayed, it seems, by flash and cash. *hangs head ... (so you can't see me grinning)*

What you don't know is less than 48 hours ago I was in a panic with NO CLUE what to write, LOL.

C. Zampa said...

After reading this, Sarah Ballance, I'm marching straight to my boss's office and kissing him, hugging him and thanking home for my DULL nine-to-five job! LOL. Er...the nine to five job which I thought, until reading your post, was so stressful.

Yes, dear one, maybe tomorrow it WILL happen! LOl...

All I can say is, you managed to produce two really good books inspite of the lack of...capuccino! LOL.


Gracen Miller said...

Sarah, as always your blogs entertain. I giggled my entire way through this and can't tell you how many times I've found my coffee in the microwave hours later or a day later. Even though I don't homeschool and I only have 2 children, this is such a typical day!

For a person that once worked a 9-5 job and now is a stay-at-home mom, WOW what a life-changing event when I quit work. The 9-5 job was sooooooooooo much easier than rearing children. But child-rearing is so much more rewarding!

Grat blog and super glad you joined us today!


Sarah Ballance said...

Zampa, oh to be a fly on the wall for THAT! *Giggle* You can send him my regards. ;c) And TODAY, TODAY it will happen. Some progress, anyway. Um ... right? LOL. And thank you very much for liking my books. :c)

Sarah Ballance said...

Gracen, it's a joy to hear it from someone with both perspectives. I happen to think I'm one of the luckiest people on the planet, but there are days I'd love to be on some OTHER planet. ANY other planet. (One with a working microwave.) Thanks for hosting me, dear! (I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put a little somethin' in that sweet tea we were talking about, LOL.)

Adrienne S. said...

And you fuss at me for not finding time to write ... LOL!!! This was hysterical, with that usual Sarah Ballance wit and charm. <3 it!!

AllureVanSanz said...

Can't relate to the herd of munchkins, but I can to the constant interruptions! If it's not my child then it's her father or maybe the dog. And of course, there's my inner voice constantly poking at me, convinced something dire involving my career awaits me in email or facebook.

Anything to get out of writing sometimes, hm? And I love writing! I have no idea why I avoid it.

Awesome post as always.


Cara Marsi said...

Sarah, your post is so funny. Just reading about your day had me so tired I need a nap. You should be nominated for sainthood. Seriously. Six kids. You home school. You bake your own bread and grow your own veggies. My God, woman, you are a wonder. I have one child, now grown, worked full time for decades until a few years ago, get my bread and veggies at the grocery store. I feel like a slacker compared to you. You're amazing. And funny too.

Sarah Ballance said...

Adrienne, you've got me beat. HANDS DOWN! ;c) I have NO IDEA how YOU do it!

Sarah Ballance said...

Allure, ROFLMAO! YES! That's it! Something positively DIRE could happen while I'm disconnected from the world. Meanwhile, I should have written at least two novels since my last one, lol. SIGH. Dire. Love it!

Sarah Ballance said...

Hiya, Cara! If it helps any, I never mentioned cleaning anything, LOL. And all of that quaint homegrown/homemade stuff is just plain cheaper. I'm the queen of frugal (at least until I get to Vistaprint.) But Sainthood, I WILL consider! ;c) Thanks so much for the visit!

Melissa Pickering said...

This is hilarious. I think I'll go make a cup of coffee. Oh wait... what time is it? Time to make dinner. Oh, the baby's crying... Dinner will have to wait. Did I brush my teeth today? I need a nap.

Nichelle Gregory said...

Hey, Sarah!

Great post! I don't know how you keep it together with two give me a run for my money everyday too. I can't tell you how many times I've found my mug of coffee or tea in the microwave. Sometimes, I just give up on having it warm and just drink it down cold!

You're a testament to the strength of woman! ;-)

Sarah Ballance said...

@ Melissa, you said it! Nap. Good. I'm so exhausted, LOL. But there's always tomorrow ... snort.

Sarah Ballance said...

Nichelle (hi!) - You don't actually have to keep it together with six. Everything is so crazy all the time, you just have to appear slightly less nutty than the next guy. (Did I just say that out loud? LOL!) Thanks for stopping by! You are TOO kind! ;c)