Thursday, May 26, 2011

When the Course is Diverted

by Cheri Chesley

I haven't gotten any writing or editing done for 2 weeks. Feels like a horrible confession, though it is my own fault.

Like so many writers, I struggle to find the balance between writing--what I know I should do--and the knowledge that my family needs me to earn money. Sometimes the temptation for "easy" cash overrides what I know I should be doing.

I've been babysitting a couple of extra kids for the last couple of weeks. Which is why the word easy is in quotes. There is nothing easy about having four 2 yr olds running around this dinky little apartment. And now that my kids are out of school, there are 9 kids here today. It feels like a code violation. That's just too many people to be allowed. :)

But that all ends tomorrow, and I will only have my nephew's little boy for a few hours. That means I can get some writing or editing done, right? I sure hope so. With my kids home, that's harder. Though if the weather holds up I can just send them to the park across the street. Here's hoping.

Another diversion in my course is more personal. As parents, we've made the decision to home school not only my 9 yr old daughter in the fall but also my 9th grader. We all know who the majority of responsibility for home schooling will fall upon. At the moment, I'm feeling like I've sabotaged my writing career. But, we've given him years and many opportunities to "start fresh" and start to take responsibility for his schoolwork and homework. He's chosen not to, repeatedly. This, to me, is a natural consequence of his actions. I don't see home school as a punishment, but rather an opportunity for he and I to work side by side and develop those study habits he should have developed by now. That way I can send him back to high school for 10-12 grades and he can succeed. The decision is probably way overdue, but you tend to make the most mistakes with your oldest child, simply because they came first.

Where will that leave my writing? I'd planned to take this summer off actual writing because I never get much done with the kids home anyway--and thought if I took the pressure off myself I'd feel less of a failure. But now I'm behind on my edits, and at least one e-book revision and a rough draft--not to mention a project I'm doing just for fun. The plan originally was to have these things done by the end of May so I could take June, July and August off and pick up again in September when we'd fallen back into the schooling pattern and I knew what my time would look like.

But, now, I'm not sure anymore. Home schooling a high school student has to be more labor intensive than home schooling a 5th grader. And then there are the regular 2 kids I babysit. It's not like I don't have the support I need from my family and friends, but I just feel a great responsibility to do so many things--fill so many shoes. My writing is important. Supplementing my husband's income is important. My children's schooling is important.

Suddenly all I want is a vacation. :)


Weaver said...

Good luck with the homeschooling.

Melissa Cunningham said...

Ah, my dear. I'm so sorry it's so hard right now. Just remember that things happen for a reason and at certain times. There's something both you and your son are going to learn through this experience. You'll get your time to write again. Write early in the morning or late at night if necessary. (although I hate doing that) But you're doing the right thing. Your kids need you now and they'll be gone soon enough. Cherish these "stressful" moments while you can. You'll be rich and famous once you don't need the money. =)

Tina Scott, author, artist said...

Take good notes during this stressful time--it has plenty of good potential for a novel later--after you've lived through it. Good luck with it all. You are so brave for homeschooling. I wish I'd been as brave with a couple of mine.

Cheri Chesley said...

thanks, everyone. I'm going to work through it. That's just what I do :)

Kaye P. Clark said...

I homeschooled my three youngest children and I enjoyed it. I found that allowing the kids to explore their interests helped motivate them.