Welcome, welcome back for another Writer Wednesday!
Today, we have the lovely Trakena Prevost here to talk about some of the struggles in balancing writing and your every day life. I know from several authors that this can be a difficult thing to accomplish, so I’m very intrigued about what Trakena has to say! Aren’t you? Scroll down a little bit to see!
As an author, mom, and wife who also works a full-time gig, I’m often in search of the ever elusive thing we call balance. Balance is the shiny unicorn we all know exists, but few of us ever see it, and fewer still capture it. My quest for balance has felt like a never-ending battle with many wins and losses, but there are a few things that I’ve learned to incorporate if I hope to win the war.
Do What’s Important: When folks say that children change everything, they are not lying! There are tons of expectations, and balancing that with everything you need and want to do is messy to say the least. Lots of my acquaintances from high school do the whole uber-mom thing where they play with their kids, take them to places like the children’s museum, and bake…oh do they bake! But that’s just not the kind of mom I am. Do I love hanging with my kiddo hunched over a fun book? Heck yeah! But I don’t have time for baking. Nor do I fill all of his free time with fun outings. I have to prioritize.
So, how did I do this? I made a list of all the stuff that has to get done every week, including writing, and I put it in order of importance. And let me tell you, it’s a seriously long list. Before I got married and had kids I could spend hours in my room writing with my tunes with no one being the wiser. Now there’s laundry, and groceries, and meal prep, and working out, and working, and spending time with folks I liked enough to marry and whom I gave birth to. And between all of that, if I’m not careful writing will fall off a cliff. So, I prioritize and plan. I’m not saying it works perfectly all the time, but it gives my writing a fighting chance.
Drop Some Things: No matter how much you prioritize and plan some things just have to go. Thankfully, modern society has made it easy to cross some items off my list without having to lose them entirely. I rarely wear a new stitch of clothing that wasn’t purchased via online shopping. And I LOVE Amazon for all my quick, “I need toothpaste and don’t have time for a store run!” moments. I haven’t gone into a grocery store to shop for at least six months. I’m not saying I never go in, but my days of an hour every Saturday morning shopping for items we need to eat are OVER! My local grocery chain offers this lovely service where you order online and drive through to pick them up. Sure, I don’t always get the produce I might have chosen, and it does come with a small fee, but it’s worth it to get that time back. That time often goes to writing.
Take Care of You: In a perfect world, I’d fill all of my excess time with reading, writing and binge watching shows. Unfortunately, if I don’t get my behind off the couch to exert some energy regularly my waistline would get out of control. So I schedule time during the week to do these things, and to overall decompress. And I don’t feel guilty when I do it either. Shit gets real sometimes and if I don’t take care of myself I break. There are times when I have to look at my hubby and just tap out…and that’s okay. He lovingly rolls his eyes, kisses me, takes my kiddo upstairs, and proceeds to not bother me for at least an hour. This small process keeps me sane and helps me be a better mama and wife and writer. You can’t give what you don’t have in your bucket, so refill from time to time.
Don’t Get Caught Up in the BS: This was the hardest lesson of all in my quest for balance. When I first had my kiddo I was so determined to be the perfect mom. I would work and write and workout and make sure he was happy and loved. I would do it all! About a month in I was exhausted and crying a lot. I hadn’t written in what felt like months and I had no desire to. One day I’d had enough. I realized that I’d never be that mom. I was a different sort. I’d introduce my kid to super-fun nerdy culture (his room is Doctor Who themed) and read to him every night. I’d instill a love of our history into him and spend as much time with him as I could. And, yes, sometimes he’d get Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as a babysitter as I got in a quick workout, carefully watching from behind him. I had to learn it was okay to just be me and to drop all of the overly perfect what-it-means-to-be-a-mom BS folks try to sell you. Because when it comes down to it, I’m already the perfect mom for my little man. And I’m even more kick-assed because I write stories for him and all the other kids and teens out there!
I’m not saying I have this thing called balance down. I often get twisted around by some hurdle – there are so many hurdles – but I give myself some leeway to fall and get back on my wagon of being the best working wife and mom and writer that I can be.
Trakena Prevost was born and raised in the great state of Texas, where everything IS bigger and the people are super friendly. She spends most of her time running around after her young son, trying to annoy her husband to distraction, and oscillating between being completely obsessed with reading and crime dramas. She also just so happens to write down the fantastic stories rumbling around in her head – mostly to quiet the voices that take residence there. When not reading and writing, Trakena spends her time working in HR, hanging with her family and friends, and desperately trying to force her love of reading on her little one.
Trakena is dedicated to writing paranormal stories with multicultural characters, where race is not the main conflict. Her passion for this stems from being a young teen in love with paranormal fiction, but being unable to find any stories she liked with characters that looked like her. She hopes to change that reality for her son and all the other kids of color out there who love to read as much as she does!