Husbands, kids, dogs, bosses and writing…Who’s first priority?

House of Seer book 1
'Forces of Nature' Trilogy
My life has changed. Not in the ‘oh my god I’m now a best selling author’ type of way, (unfortunately), but definitely changed. I hadn’t anticipated just how much becoming an author would consume me – or my spare time – when I embarked on my life long goal of writing a book. I also underestimated that at my stage of life, there are certain other priorities which demand attention just as much as my characters!

I have wanted to write since the age of nine, when I read ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier; it remains my favourite book, and I have revisited it many times over. The opening lines are considered the best of all time, and quite rightly so. The magic, mystery and spookiness of that first paragraph still gives me goose bumps! 
Reading ‘Rebecca’ sparked a desire to write, and I was encouraged all the way by a fantastic English teacher, who loved everything I wrote apart from the horror stories – they gave him nightmares (mission accomplished). I continued to write into my late teens and early twenties, and published short romances in a student magazine. I then retreated from writing as my other career in HR/Learning & Development took over, along with attempting to become a grown up. 
I met my husband and we filled our spare time socialising and holidaying (bliss!), before getting married and starting a family.
Suddenly my spare time was filled with a tiny human being as opposed to leisurely lunches at the pub, or Friday night rugby games and karaoke. Then I had another tiny human being, and sometime after this we also acquired a dog…

So it’s rather bizarre that about three years ago I had an idea for a story. It was actually a dream…one of those full-blown detailed dreams that played out before me. I could sense the emotion, see the characters and the landscapes, and woke up to write as much of it down as possible. 
Over the course of two years I messed about with the story and attempted to write it – I had lots of doubts, wrote then re-wrote numerous scenes, ditched thousands of words, then reapplied them, stepped away for almost three months and chastised myself for ‘playing’ at being a writer…it was like trying to put together a 70,000 piece jigsaw whilst on a gigantic rollercoaster.

But I did it. And my book ‘House of Seer’ - the first in the ‘Forces of Nature’ trilogy - was released in June this year, and it’s doing well. 
Shocks the hell out of me…

I expected to sell a few copies to friends and family, and drift away into obscurity, pleased that I had fulfilled my dream. I didn’t actually expect to continue with the story in book two, (which is now in demand and the readers are getting impatient!), nor the time it takes to market and promote via social media. I’m very new to all of this, and haven’t as yet sussed out what other vehicles I can trust to help and support me!

And then there is the actual writing. Yeah…that’s when life gets complicated! 

I still have those two human beings, although they’re not so tiny any more, I still have a husband (thankfully), and I still have my career…oh and we still have the dog!
My life is busy and finding time to write is hard (thank you Scooby-Doo for keeping my small ones captivated whilst I write this blog!).

There is something called work/life balance, which most people strive to achieve; there is also living for the moment, when you can grasp precious time and dedicate it to something you love to do. For me this is when I have to prioritise and this can be hard going.
For example, I may choose to write rather than play with the small humans; I may finish a chapter I’ve been struggling with, as opposed to having a date night with the husband; I will prefer to edit than go out with my team mates, and miss the fun and frolics they get up to!
And how do I feel at the end of all these decisions? Guilty. I feel guilty for choosing to write…but I’m also learning that this is worth it. 

My choice to write is having a positive impact.

For my small humans, they now want to read all sorts of books, and ‘write’ their own stories, (as far as four and five year olds can do), and it amazes me the power of their imagination. I believe that I am encouraging this development - coaching it, letting it free to explore as far as their own limits…the imagination is an amazing thing and both my girls have vivid ones.
For my husband, it’s having some time for us to explore our own interests, so that when we have a date night it’s exciting to talk about what I’ve been working on. My ideas are usually formed, chapters written enough to start to flesh out, and he provides a great opinion, because he is so removed from the process. He’s my critique, my confidante, my cheer squad and my reality.
With work, my teammates and my boss show how proud they are because they are so supportive of my efforts. They have all read my first book, and are keen for the second, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Sometimes I get home from chatting with them about a scene, or a character, and their conversations excite me so much that the words just come!

And then there’s the dog. My gorgeous cocker spaniel who can’t tell me to ‘just write it’, to reassure me when I have doubts, to cheer me on and offer feedback. Instead she constantly tries to sit on my lap when I get the laptop out, or launches herself on me, mid-type-flow, for a cwtch! She breaks my concentration with love. 
Often I need a break…
But she also allows me to explore my imagination when I take her on walks in the forest or to the beach. She waits patiently when I stop to try and think of a word for something, or a name for a character. She accepts my mumblings out loud and hopefully doesn’t think I’m crazy. So for that, she can jump on my laptop! 

As long as I’ve just pressed ‘save’…

Written by Eleanor Elliott

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