The Opposite Is True (Day #87)

I remembered why I’m doing this.

Not that I’d forgotten — I hadn’t.  But sometimes in the midst of the actual doing, the reason behind the doing fades into the background.  As it should.  It’s hard to get things done when you’re busy thinking about why you’re doing them.  The Why can be distracting.

So can a moany, kicky (not a word but should be a word) baby.

These things are related.

As you all know, I’m rapidly approaching my Day #100 deadline and I’m wildly behind schedule.  So far behind schedule that I’ve abandoned the schedule for a “just get as much done as I can today” approach.  I think it’s working.  I have no idea if I’ll have a draft complete by May 11th, but it seems within the realm of possibility that I might.

With 13 days to go, every day matters.  I’m fighting to stay balanced, but it’s hard not to have tunnel vision.  This is important to me.  And while it’s not absolutely imperative that I finish on Day #100, the deadline does matter.  There will come a day in the near future when it will be time for me to go back to work.  On that dark and stormy day, whether I want it to or not (I won’t), the novel will get pushed down the priority list.  Way down.  Which is why I need to finish this book NOW, so I can transition from trying-to-finish-my-novel mode to trying-to-sell-my-novel mode before my days as a stay-at-home-writer-mom are up.  Or – even better – so I can actually sell my novel so those days don’t have to be up at all.

An irony:  when I started this project, my biggest fear was that my baby would derail my career goals.  Baby and career were at war in my mind.  I worried (okay, assumed) that motherhood would require me to accept something Less Than in my professional life.  My baby wasn’t even here yet, and I was already looking for ways to manage its existence, so afraid that he/she would get in the way of what I Really Wanted.  Now, three months into this mommy gig, I am looking for ways to manage my career, unwilling to let it get in the way of what I Really Want.  To be here.  To be present.  With my daughter.  Because of her.

Which brings me back to the Why.

Yesterday, I was staring at my screen, struggling to finish this BFF fight scene that’s giving me so much trouble.  Lil Mil was kicky and moany and fussy.  She was tired.  So was I.  Neither of us had slept well the night before.  We both needed a nap.

I weighed my options.  I could try to get her to sleep in the vibrating, singing, spinning bassinet next to my desk so I could keep working.  I could take her up to her crib and put her down for an official nap.  Or I could pick her up, carry her to the queen-sized bed that was once in her room and is now in my office, and lay down with her.

Yes, the last option was the least productive.  From a sleep-training perspective, you’d probably even call it unproductive.  But as we were lying there, foreheads pressed together, both of us dancing on the edge of sleep, a thought popped into my mind:

This is why I’m doing it.

Yes, I want a career as a writer.  I want someone to pay me to create stories I care about.  But more than that, I want a career that enables me to have those moments with my daughter.  Moments I’ll either have or miss.  Moments I’ll either be there for or I won’t.

And that’s the irony:  I thought motherhood would be at odds with my goal.  The opposite is true.

Motherhood has become the reason for it.

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How has your detour changed your goal?  Has the goal itself changed or just the reason for it?

Speaking of detours – please send me your detour story!  In the spirit of today’s post, I want this Friday to be a tribute to The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me detours.  What unexpected event/opportunity/situation was a game changer for you?  How is your life better because of it?

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