Simplicity and Priorities

Originally published August 29, 2009 on my home and creative blog.

Hi Friends. I’ve been doing some thinking since Nicholas’s birth.

For the first few days, I was terrified about how I would handle two kids by myself while KD is at work. In the evenings I would get lonely and depressed and cry because of all the impending changes, with some family drama added to it. I was sad because Juliana is no longer my baby, and I worried about finances and raising a boy, and all that kind of stuff.

Thankfully, after about four or five days, my hormones started to rebalance, and I stopped getting so emotional. I make a point to spend some one-on-one time with Juli. KD went back to work this past Tuesday, and we’ve been handling things pretty well. Well, except the housework, but that’s nothing new.

But this is what I’ve been thinking about: I need to simplify my life. I’m not a busy person, but I can easily get my priorities messed up. Which has been the case in varying degrees for the past five years.

My first focus needs to be relationships. With God, my husband, my children, and my family and friends. I need to cut out the things that compete with these relationships. Like time spent on the computer, craft/decorating stuff, shopping, etc. I need to take care of my family first, then if there is time and money, I can do other stuff. Sounds like something I should have been working on since I our wedding seven years ago…but it’s never too late to start, right?

My second focus needs to be housekeeping. Looking after our home is my responsibility, and should be my pleasure. A clean, safe, organised home shows
my family and guests that I value their comfort. I am happier when my house is clean, and I know KD is. Juli and Nick are too young to notice, but they soon will. I didn’t have a great housekeeping role-model while I was growing up–I had a single mom too busy keeping food on the table to care for our house–but I need to be a better one for my kids. I’m not saying I have to be perfect (I gave up being Martha years ago), but I need to be responsible.

My third focus will be the hardest to get back into. I have never mentioned on this blog my childhood passion, and my subsequent failure to do anything about it. So, here it is: When I was eight years old I decided that I wanted to be a writer. Of books. I didn’t really know anything about short stories at the time…which is a pity because I probably would have been more successful had I started with shorter pieces. I had hundreds of ideas through the years. My favourite pastime in my lonely childhood was to create characters and come up with book ideas. Most of the titles went like this: Somebody and the Something Something. You know how it goes. I wanted to write books that I wanted to read. I keep all my ideas in a 3-inch thick binder. I would write a chapter or two, then get sidetracked by a new and better idea.

My desire to be a writer remained strong as I grew up, and through highschool, where I discovered that there was such a thing as short-stories. It was in my grade 10 English class that I actually wrote a poem that I still think was pretty good. Then I managed to finish a short story, in response to a comment from my teacher saying that “no one would want to read a story about a bench”. So I wrote one and she said it’s the first time a bench had made her cry.

I got married at age 19, and still I wanted to be a writer. I couldn’t go to college right away, because KD was still in school, but the plan was that once he was done, I would have my turn. I kept writing, and got up to 11,000 words in one children’s/teen’s book. But then I ran in to a plot snag and got scared. I’m still scared of writing. I’m afraid that I can’t come up with a decent plot, and that my characters lack depth, and that I can’t really write anyway. So I eventually decided to change my focus and become an editor. The degree I’m working toward is for professional writing and editing, and I have so far loved my grammar and editing classes.

I still want to be an editor, and once I get my life a little bit more organised, I want to pursue freelance jobs. I have already edited (for pay) two science fiction novels, but haven’t heard whether she has published them or not. And part two of this goal is to get back into writing. I can’t let fear keep me failing in this. Writing has always been a strong passion in my life, and it is a shame that I have let it go for so long due to fear.


7 thoughts on “Simplicity and Priorities

  1. Sounds like me! I grew up writing (partly because I was lonely). Don’t give up on your dream to write!!! Some of those ideas are probably still great ideas, so now that you know more about the craft, pull them out again and take a look. I highly recommend Story Engineering by Larry Brooks; I’ve also heard that Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell is excellent for plot problems. Maybe your library has them??? 🙂

  2. I’m rooting for you to accomplish your goals, Joanna. Besides cheering, I’m encouraging you to check out Laureen Gunther’s article, “Three Ds, Twin Ps and One Big T” in May 2011 “FellowScript”. Onward.

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