I’ve fought this fact of life for a long time, but it turns out to be true: I can’t succeed as a travel writer, an editor, a fiction writer, a blogger, a teacher and a full-time mother all at the same time. Not even if I get up before dawn. Not even if I work on a precise schedule. And have a killer work ethic. And a supportive family.
The reason why it doesn’t work is not because there are not enough hours in the day (though there are not). It’s not because you can’t be a jack of all trades (that’s debatable). It’s because to succeed at anything that matters, you have to be all in. If your whole heart and mind and sweat and tears are not present, you’re not making your best effort. And if you’re not making a best effort, why are you spinning your wheels?
My husband the unabashed Harry Potter nerd put it more simply when I complained to him about ‘doing it all’. “Maybe you need to make horcruxes,” he quipped. And a light bulb went off in my head: I already had. And here I was, weakened and diluted and crawling through the gutters, desperately seeking unicorn blood just to perform the smallest tasks. (Now who’s the Harry Potter nerd?)
Doing one thing and doing it well is undervalued today. We are splitting our attention constantly, from emailing a teacher while assisting with homework to putting a conference call on speaker while participating in a Twitter party (not that I would ever). Sometimes, multi-tasking is unavoidable. Sometimes it’s even helpful. But it’s rarely maintainable.
So I’m making some changes. Firstly, starting in March, I’ll be a full time freelance writer and editor. I’ll miss aspects of my early reading intervention teaching job (all those little readers), but I have to remain whole. And while I love this space where I can write freely and creatively, there will be times Never-True Tales sits quietly until I can return to it, rather than get my divided attention.
Where will I be? I’ll be in the travel writing space 90% of my work day. I’ll be pursuing family adventure and writing about it, hopefully encouraging other families to get outside and into the outdoors with their kids. I’ll be overseeing travel series and vacation projects that equip people to experience better travel, and I’ll be working with travel brands to make travel more affordable and more accessible.
I’ll still be Powering Down once per day, and I’ll still be using the core of that time to hone my fiction writing craft. I have so much to say, and so much to learn. I have so much I’m passionate about. I hope to continue to share that journey with all of you here.
So if I’m quiet here every once in a while, it’s because I’m hunting down those horcruxes and rebuilding my efforts into something stronger, more solid, and longer-lasting.