Someone call 911, because I am killing this working-from-home-and-also-writing-gig. I have published a few articles on Medium. I am running a blog. I just broke 30,000 words on my debut novel that I basically started five years ago. Yeah. You can go ahead and call me a published author.
And I have the most supportive family and friends. Last I looked, I had 5 followers on Medium, one of which is my partner and two others are my friends. My career is taking off. I am on fire.
My best supporters are my children, though. Their ages range from 2 to 14. I am dealing with the terrible two’s and angsty teens. Clearly, I thought this all through.
The other day, my 12-year-old walked over and asked what I was doing.
“Oh,” I said. “I’m working on my story.”
“Your big book?”
“Oh, cool! It’s going to be a great book, Mom! Everyone is going to buy it and you’ll get a million dollars!” He hugs me, because that’s just how amazing he is, how proud he is of his mother.
I hugged him back. I don’t think that I have a million dollar book idea. I just have a story I need to write. It’s fiction, but it’s heavily based on my experience as a young widow. I need to write out the horrors of suicide, mental health, sexual assault, addiction. I have to explain the guilt that follows survivors throughout the early months, the early years. I want to create a guide within a fictional world that resonates with people, one that allows me to continue healing. The topics are dark, but as with most of my serious writing, there is humor and hope, friendship and redemption.
A sample of my fictional work can be found here.
My heart swells. I don’t feel comfortable sharing the contents with them yet, but I’m glad I have their support. I want this project to make them proud. I know they’ll read it eventually and I want them to understand, to empathize, to see themselves reflected in the main character’s son.
I turned to my computer to begin the next chapter.
My child continued to sit next to me.
I cleared my throat and explained I like to work alone. I remind him that the topics are a bit too heavy for him. “It’s an adult book.”
“Oh. That’s okay.” There was no attempt to move.
“Um, I’ll just go to the table. I need thirty minutes.”
“Okay,” he said.
“Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!” shouted my 14-year-old. I looked up, wide-eyed. Clearly someone’s bleeding somewhere. “Look at this video on my phone! It’s soooooo funny! I promise! It’s [insert name of YouTuber I keep forgetting] screaming for 10 minutes because he’s playing a horror game! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
“Let me see!” said the 12-year-old.
A fight ensued. I wondered if it would last long enough to let me write a few paragraphs.
My 4-year-old ran into the room. “Mommy, I have to go potty!”
“Baby, just go. You don’t have to get me every time.”
“But my pants are already wet. I think the pee-pee just wanted to get out too fast because then it went out.” She waved her arm through the air. “Like that.”
I sighed and then realized someone was missing. “Wait, where’s the baby?” A crash sounded in the living room. I heard my toddler’s maniacal laugh. I walked in and saw he had stolen the tub of animal crackers I had used as a bribe so he’d sit quietly with me while I wrote. Apparently, it’s more fun to throw the tub and watch animal crackers fly everywhere like edible shrapnel than to actually eat them. For whatever reason, he’s nude.
At least the dog can help with the mess.
The next day, I try again.
“Hey, Mom. What are you doing?” asked the 14-year-old.
“I’m working on my book.”
“Oh.” He pauses for a beat. “So, if you were to have any superpower. Which would it be? Because I feel like everyone likes flying, but it should be something better. Like in [insert name of anime show I never remember]. That superpower is so much better.”
If anyone is curious, my debut novel is sure to be out by 2036. Follow me to read my follow-up post on how I’m killing working-from-home full-time and homeschooling during the pandemic.