With all of the demands of life--work, family, and other things--it has been a while since I last visited the writing forums. So, I took some time out lately and meandered through the old familiar territory. In the process, I felt this weird sense of ... well, of being lost. I saw the names of remembered friends, all with a slew of posts to their credit within the last couple of weeks. And yet, it has been well over a month since I've posted anything or even looked at the forums.
So, what's the problem with me? I wondered. Have I failed to manage my time? Have I lost my priorities?
At lunch last week, a friend asked how things were going on the writing front. I commented that things were still going fine, but it was all slow. Before I started writing, I never realized how much work was involved in the process. I never realized how much time you could spend just to finish one story and get it out the door. Maybe it's just me, but when it comes to writing a finished draft I'm an exceptionally slow worker. As I mentioned to another friend lately, for every story I have there is a mountain of revisions. Even my piece of flash fiction that was published in Flash Fiction Online saw at least a half-dozen revisions before I originally sent it out.
And there is my problem. With all the demands of family and work added to my slow writing process, I find I don't have a whole lot of extra time to frolic in the forums, so to speak. On the one hand, I feel like I'm missing out. I feel like I should have more time for the forums. I understand the importance of networking and building a platform, and this is why I have created my blog. But every minute spent in the forums is a minute I could have spent working on my novel or on a short story. Even posting this entry to the blog feels like I have cheated my stories out of their time.
Am I the only one? Am I losing the battle, or am I being too hard on myself? How do other people have time for the forums and still put in quality time with their family, keep their performance up for their day job and keep a solid writing regiment going?
It's days like this when the gremlin hops on my shoulder and squeals in my ear about how I should just hang it up. I can never support my family and still put in the time needed to build up my writing. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment, though, because I still keep doing it. Or maybe it's that stubborn attitude that everyone keeps telling me I have.
So, for all my friends in the forums, please know that I haven't shunned you. I haven't stomped off with my undies bunched in a wad, either. I just haven't found that right formula that makes it all come together.