Well, I did it. I turned in the manuscript on Sunday morning. And I’m proud of it, not only the fact that we met the deadline, but of the work itself. It’s a lovely book.
After I hit the send button and announced it was done, Stella asked why I wasn’t crying.
“Because I’m too tired?” I said, my eyes filling with tears.
I went out and got fancy lattes and hot chocolates for the girls and we toasted to the book being done, and then I took a short nap before we headed out to the Science Museum’s butterfly exhibit and Imax movie, which was the perfect thing to do. I probably would have slept all day if we’d been home, and I’m actively trying to be “fun mom” to make up for my months of “I have to go to the coffee shop” and “I’m sorry but I have to work” and “I need to lie down for just a few minutes” and my general irritability. (We also hit MOA’s rides after school on Monday, which they loved. I’m 2-for-2 in the new fun mom category.)
I’m elated to be done. Definitely. But more than that I’m exhausted. I can’t shake the tiredness that has settled in my bones. I tried to run outside the other day and it felt like I was running in mud. I’ve been going to sleep super early, and finally the last two days, sleeping later than 4 am, which is a relief, but still, I’m wiped out, totally discombobulated.
There is a certain kind of pleasure in being primarily focused on one project, pushing to the side the things that can be, well, pushed to the side. But now that the book is finished, all of those little (and not so little) things—hello, blog!—are now clamoring for my attention. I’ve begun to look at next year and sort out teaching and retreats and the schedule into the summer. And family trips and conferences and editing and updating my website, lining up author interviews, ordering new business cards, etc. etc.
I know need to turn my attention to most of those things, and I definitely start reading the news again everyday, as disturbing as it is. But this morning I wondered what I could let slide completely. Do I really need to step back in and do all the things I was doing before I was so busy? I’d love to carve out more time for reading and thinking about writing in addition to recommitting to the novel (hello, novel!) and working on a few short essays. That sounds like so much fun. But what has to go to create space for what I really want to do? I’m not sure yet, but I’ll be thinking on it.
How have you created the space in your life for the things that matter to you? What have you had to let slide?