One year ago today, my debut novel, Love Nouveau, went live. The novel itself had been nearly a year in the making but the dream of being an author is one that dates back to grade school. No one ever could have prepared me for all the ways writing a book would change my life … for better and for worse.
For those that know me, the most commonly asked question I received was “How? How the hell did you find time to write a novel?” You see, I worked (and still do) full time in an industry that means a forty hour work week is closer to sixty hours. On top of that, I had two kids … young kids. Young as in I had a twenty month old AND a three-month-old “surprise” baby when I first typed the opening words of Love Nouveau. New mom status meant no sleep with the newborn, making sure my toddler didn’t feel left out, getting in quality time with my husband, proving myself even more at my day job, all while trying to keep my sanity. Hardly the best time to pick up and write. Right?
Yeah. I would be the true definition of crazy.
So what I’d really like to say is that I was Super Mom. And more often than not, friends and family saw me as such.
But something had to give. And Super Mom, I am not.
In fact, I think my mom card should have been revoked. My better half played mom, dad, cook, housekeeper, and gardener. He made sure I always had clean underwear and my stomach never grumbled. He never once complained when I’d be up late in bed, feverishly chipping away at my manuscript. He’d encourage me to take the time I needed to get the words in. He did it all with a smile because he was proud of me. So proud.
So I’d come home from work. Hang out with the minis for a bit, put them to bed, and write until the little dude woke up to eat. Sometimes I’d get in thirty minutes, other times I’d get in a few hours.
And somewhere along the way, I lost sight of my family and things got rough. Really rough (and that’s putting it kindly). I know what you’re thinking … “There’s no way I’d ever do that.” And it’s easy to sit back and say those words to yourself. But I promise you, it’s so easy to get caught up in it all (the writing and the social media aspect). And by the time you realize what you’ve done, it’s often too late.
I’ve learned the hard way that time management, especially when it comes to matters of the heart, are nonnegotiable. When something is important to you, you figure it out. You find the time. You make the time.
That is the case for both my family and my writing now. My first two books I did a crap job juggling it all. But now, I’ve got a better pulse on my priorities and know which balls to drop first when the juggling act gets too overwhelming.
Now that I’m working on my third novel, I’ve learned the invaluable lesson of time management. I no longer let the proverbial voices dictate my family time. I’ve learned to write when I can. Sometimes that means I get a few hundred words typed out on my phone while I’m going to the bathroom. Sometimes that means I’m dictating the latest plot twist into my phone during the morning commute. Sure, it’s not as often as I’d like for it to be … but that doesn’t make me any less of a writer. Even if that means I’m not opening my manuscript for a week or two … because while I’m always a writer, I am first and foremost a mother and a wife.
Writing a novel is one of the most isolating things a person can ever do. But it is never the work –or sacrifice– of just one person. It truly takes a village. And I wouldn’t trade my incredible village for the world.
So to all writers out there … whether you’re working on your first novel or your fifteenth, may you never lose site of what is important. Get those words in when you can, but never at the price of your family.
B.L. Berry is the New Adult author behind The Art of Falling Duet, including Love Nouveau and Love Abstract (now available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited). If you enjoy snarky banter, flawed characters, and curveballs in your romance, you are bound to enjoy her writing style.
Residing outside of Kansas City, B.L. Berry lives with husband, two children and black pug. Each day her family thanks the makers of e-Readers, because without which they would be living amongst stacks and stacks of romance novels. Conversely, each day B.L. Berry thanks the makers of e-Readers for hiding her book-hoarding tendencies.