The conversation got me thinking about how I accomplished the sometimes seemingly daunting task of finishing a novel. (I don't know the actual statistics, but there are a LOT of would-be novelists who start writing a novel...but never finish it. There are a lot more people who have an idea for a novel but never even start, or who don't get more than a page or two written).
In addition to the novel that was published last year and the one I just submitted, I've got several novels in various stages of completion waiting for me to get back to them. They are all projects I will get back to (rather than those statistical novels that never get written), I've just found that for me, it's best to actually get a few thousand words down on the electronic page when the Muses start dancing, than to wait until later "when I have time" to write it. I never "have time", I have to make time.
What all this really means is that I spend every free moment writing. I don't go to parties, I only go on movie dates with my husband once a month, I hardly watch any television (I have two guilty pleasures, Project Runway and Face Off--and of course when Doctor Who starts up again, I'll watch that. I think I missed an entire season of Primeaval and two seasons of The Closer, two of my absolute favorite shows.) I don't even try to keep up with what's current in the news. I catch the headlines now and then, try to be aware enough of politics so I can cast informed, intelligent votes, but all that Primary stuff? I didn't have the time for it until it came down to the last couple of guys running. I can't vote in the Republican primaries anyway, I'm a registered Democrat.
And when I take a few hours for myself (I sort of lost a whole day playing a stupid computer game), I feel incredibly guilty. The only thing I don't feel guilty about is reading--because reading is part of a writer's job. Even then, I often think, "I should be writing my own novel, not reading someone else's".
My social consists of meeting with my critique group twice a month. You know. To talk about writing. I'm even taking a writing class.
My daughter is old enough that I don't need to worry about watching her every second, but sometimes I worry, because I feel like an absentee parent, spending nearly every waking moment locked in my little office with the door closed, clacking away at my keyboard. I'm here, I'm in the house, but that closed door is one huge "Do Not Disturb Sign". Is she going to grow up and need therapy because her mother was never "home"?
This summer, I'm not going to have much of a garden. By last year, by this time, I had tomato plants on order, Richter's had gotten their yearly order from me, I was starting to think about what I was going to put where, and what I needed to buy... this year, I'll be lucky to get out and clean out the beds I've got (oh, I do not want to face the strawberry beds! I let them totally go to pot last fall because I was busy writing). I haven't looked at a single seed catalog. My husband still wants me to do some tomatoes and I'll probably get a few (I like black krims and white queens, which just are not available at Kroger) and maybe a couple of cucumber plants, but I don't think I have the energy for much else, especially since I need to find a job. (A part time waitressing gig is looking better and better--because it will give me the time to write.)
So yeah, I've written a book. But, it didn't come without sacrifice.
Would I change that, go back to writing part time? Not on your life! I love my job.