Just four more hours. Imagine how much we could get done! But here's the thing... I have a bad feeling that even if I had four more hours, I'd probably spend it doing laundry, yelling at my children, cleaning my kitchen or driving the kids to some other kid activity... Probably not writing. That said, some stuff has gotten done lately. I finished the anthology, tentatively titled "Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001". I even had a cover created by the multi-talented Mia Darien, author of the Adelheid Series (and a multitude of other good things...) I'm not quite ready to share yet... but I'm taking the book to the upcoming Maryland Writers Association Conference. I've got an appointment with an agent there, though I'm not too nervous or hopeful, mostly because short stories aren't really the bread and butter of the publishing industry. I also don't feel that the first story in the anthology is the strongest, and the agent only wants the first five pages. What to do? So far...think a lot about it and do absolutely nothing.
In the meantime, I've been wrestling with ideas for the other novels that have been developing in the back of my brain. I do realize that working on nothing results in nothing, so to avoid being mired in indecision about what to do, I've forced myself to march ahead. I've been reading Wired for Story, a really fascinating and helpful book by Lisa Cron (who teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program among other things). That book, combined with my efforts at actually outlining and plotting in great detail before writing, have helped get things moving. The novel I'm building, currently titled (but definitely not going to remain titled) "Blood Feud" might end up slightly better than my first effort thanks to all the guidance. But what seems so simple when reading about it becomes much more difficult when trying to apply it. So there's that.
There's also the small issue that my children seem to be able to smell something in the air when I'm trying to write. If I get up at five, the minute I sit in front of my keyboard, I hear their door open and tiny feet appear on the stairs. If I stay up late, they mysteriously cannot sleep. If I try to steal a few minutes in the morning before the bus comes or after school, they choose those few minutes to have a knock-down drag-out screaming match, often in my office. I think I wrote before about choosing to make the time, but I'm seeing that sometimes it is just impossible. And I tell myself that the kids won't be this young and incredibly demanding forever, that there will be years to write... But I don't want to put my dreams on hold. Is that selfish?
Anyway, I know I haven't been much of a correspondent here... and it's a symptom of the disease outlined in the paragraph above. Strategies? (If only it weren't for this pesky job of mine, then I'd have uninterrupted hours of quiet... of course we wouldn't be able to afford electricity... )