The other day I was on the phone with a friend who was, bless her, "offering the opportunity" to go into business for myself. Multi-level marketing of some kind. I believe the new word for it these days is "direct sales." That's not what this post is about, however. Let me break down part of the conversation that followed after my friend had finished her well-meaning spiel:
Me: Okay, let me just be honest. I have no interest whatsoever in selling stuff like that. And I know you probably get this excuse from people all the time, but this time I am dead serious. Even if I had an iota of interest, I absolutely and unequivocally have ZERO time to devote to it. I already don't sleep and I already spend every waking moment editing and planning for my books to be published. So I appreciate the--"
Friend, cutting me off with a laugh: Oh I know! I know how crazy it is as a mom. I feel the same way. We barely have time to do our hair. And you have 4 kids so I can only imagine... Thanks for being straight with me, but I just wanted to make the offer because I think you'd be great at it...
Now I'm sure that this friend of mine truly does know what it's like to be a busy mom. She has 3 boys under the age of 4 which is nothing to sneeze at. But it was clear that she didn't believe me when I said I have zero time. I was pondering this after we got off the phone and have in the week or so since. Time is something I have precious little of and I mean that literally with every bit of literalness that the word "literal" encompasses. There is no "rearranging my schedule." The solution is not cutting out frivolous activities or re-prioritizing my days. I have already, long ago, cut out every smidgen of fat. I stay up to at least 1 am every night; 3 or four of those nights I make it to 3 am (this past week I was up til 4 one night). I wake up at 7:30 every day. If I nap, it may be once a week and then only for about 30 minutes. I don't watch TV except for Sundays with Brad. I don't go out. I don't have a social life. I am lucky if I make it to church activities that happen during the week and then I always go begrudgingly. I have managed to put PTO on my priority list, and arranged a regular play date for my kids each week. My husband does my grocery shopping. I make dinner. I pray. I read my scriptures (a LOT actually). I do FHE. I walk to and from my kids' school twice a day.
All that time in between? I am editing/writing/researching. I am a regular on facebook, but it is a convenient outlet that accomplishes both my social needs and research needs. I get an incredible amount of fulfilment from it. It is, by no means, wasted time to me.
In fact, I work SO hard on editing and everything it encompasses that a few weeks ago I said to Brad, "I finally get what a Sabbath day is all about. If I didn't have it, there is a real possibility I would edit myself into the grave." Brad replied, "I know. You need it to save you from yourself."
Let me switch gears now.
A couple days ago, it finally hit me how CLOSE I am to publishing. My kids were running around downstairs, playing some game, and I had just sat down to start working again and I had the overwhelming urge to hide in the closet and speak to Diety. You know those moments I'm sure. But it wasn't necessarily to escape my kids. It's just that I think better in a dark, enclosed space and I felt the need to do a self-assessment. This urge to pour out my heart can hit me rather suddenly at times.
So I did. And while I was in the closet, in the dark, I felt utterly drained. Not tired physically (I think I've gotten used to constant physical exhaustion), but tired emotionally. Tired of the last 2 years in which I have set everything aside to pour everything I have into this. I've sacrificed everything there is to sacrifice that is morally and ethically acceptable. I have not held back. I made a commitment to publish and I come from a long line of Wirsings (my mom's side) that believe that if you are going to pursue something, your goal should be to be the best at it. You don't settle for less and you don't stop until you ARE the best. What that essentially means is we don't half-ass the things we commit ourselves to.
While I was in the closet, I cried because I think that's just what you have to do sometimes. It's cathartic. I asked myself why I was crying, and the only answer was that I felt like it. And as I was crying, I began to do a self-check on this project of mine, questioning my decisions for this or that, asking myself if I have regrets about any of it. Asking myself if I could have done more but didn't.
And the only answer I had was peace and genuine anticipation to share this baby of mine. I am positively thrilled with every aspect. And in retrospect, I can see how perfectly the whole plan has aligned to make this work worthy of the effort I have put in.
My editor, my photographer, my cover designer, the research for my Colorworld concept--these are all aspects that have aligned with a congruency that make me marvel at how effortless it all was. I didn't have to cross any hurdles to achieve them. There have been no false starts. There are thousands of moments in the last 3.5 years that I've had in which I've seen things just end up in my favor when it comes to this series. Sure, everything else in my life for the last 3.5 years since I started writing Colorworld has been a load of mad chaos and trials, but through all of that, my efforts to write this series have never been thwarted. Inspiration has always come nearly instantly. Answers to prayers have come quickly. The way has always been made in such a way that it feels like Heavenly Father Himself has come down to open the doors for me.
The encouragement that kind of divine validation has brought is nothing short of profound. I don't know that I can properly express it so I won't try.
These are the things I thought about in the closet and these are things I have poured out tearful gratitude for to my Heavenly Father over and over since all this began. But this moment was different in one way; there is one flaw amid all those inspired moments:
Why am I still editing?
Because really, despite how AMAZING this journey has been, I am STILL editing. And I probably will not be done editing until I hit the publish button.
Let me make sure you know how frightening all this is. Here I am, about to put out a portion of my 3 years of sweat, tears, and massive sleep-deprivation for the world to rip apart. Despite being committed to doing it and having no doubt it will happen, it's still scary as heck. Because although I believe in and LOVE my concept, the story is the vehicle. And the writing is the vehicle for the story. And both the story and the writing are all on me. And I am perfect at neither.
And THAT, my friends, is the one part of this that still leaves me wanting. I could always say it better. I could always be a better writer. Heavenly Father has given me everything I have needed on this journey, but the project, as much as I'd like it to be, as much as I work to MAKE it so, will never be perfect, because it ultimately depends on ME and no one else. It's both a sad and a happy revelation.
But to have these two conflicting concepts coexist is the definition of beautiful.
Because I DO know that I have tried my hardest. I have expended every effort. I've read everything I can fit into the moments available. I've typed until my fingers hurt (literally), until my eyes sting, until my body BEGS me to sleep. I've read article after article. I've read story after story. Analyzed structure. Picked apart grammar rules. Read every word I write at least a hundred times. Deleted most of it. Rewrote it anew. Deleted. Wrote. Over and over I've done this process of ripping it all apart only to re-piece it together again in a different and better way. And it is STILL not perfect.
But in that dark closet, I found peace finally. I finally believed that it is enough.
And in case you haven't seen it yet:
You should check it out.