This summer has been a STRUGGLE for me.
For those who will judge me and leave nasty comments, you can stop reading now. Because I'm being honest here and telling it like it is. Judgers can go judge somewhere else.
See, I'm a self-published author who, over the last five years, has gained a decent following. I have dedicated readers, many of them have read all twelve novels I've written, as well as my three short stories. Many of them write reviews for me, many of them are part of my street team. I've garnered a good following after five years of being on the market.
But I'm also a mother to two children, ages seven and five.
Finding the balance between the two has always been tricky.
I wrote my first book when my oldest was less than a year old. I would literally breastfeed her with her little body balanced across my forearms while I typed out words on my laptop. During nap time I would quietly sneak out of her room and return to my computer and type out words as quickly as I could while she snoozed.
The first book I ever published was written during the exact length of my pregnancy with my second child. My self-imposed "finish by" date was a week before my due date. Repeat the same process with child one, only my nap time windows were more spastic and varied.
And life continued. I played with my toddler and infant, and then with my two toddlers, seeing as my children are less than two years apart. And then gradually they moved up into preschool and I was so very grateful for year round preschool so they could go and play and learn in the summer and I had three hours a day, three days a week to keep spinning stories, and eventually start earning an income that helped support our family, and then I could play with my children and have a blast and have balance and not stress that I was neglecting one or the other. Because we found a great routine that worked beautifully for our family.
But then something happened. My kids got older. My oldest just finished first grade and my youngest just finished his last year of preschool, and there's no more year round because now we're living in two places (I won't go into this too much, but we live on Orcas Island, WA in the summer, and in Utah during the school year).
Last summer (2014) was insane. I wrote like you wouldn't believe. How else would I have written and published four books in less than one year? And I felt guilty because I was working all summer instead of playing.
Finding balance is difficult when you're a working mother.
So this summer, I vowed that I wouldn't work so much. I was going to take time to go on adventures with my kids. We'd go to the lake and the beach, and take hikes. And we've done all that. It's been a blast. There's been loads of sunscreen, and sand everywhere in my car all the time, and a constant rotation of towels through the wash, and frogs, and so much laughter.
But it's been stressful for me.
Because there is a direct tie to the number of hours I put in working on writing and marketing and how much money I make. If I take a few days off, I see a dip. Direct. Cut. Dry.
Because get this: there are around 2,000 books published EVERY DAY. That's over 700,000 books in one year.
Not kidding. I did some research on this today. The numbers vary because it's difficult to track everything with self-publishing, re-prints, public domain works, etc. I was finding sources that said anywhere from 800-5,000 per day, but the most reliable one I found works out to be 2,000 EVERY DAY.
So as you can see, the competition to be found and READ is fierce. That's a lot of product in a market that is constantly changing, dropping, climbing, swerving in how many people are reading. Reading avidly. Finding the time to read. Actually reading the books they one-click.
I feel it. Every hour I'm not working. I feel myself being buried. I feel like I'm losing ground, that ground I've spent the past five years building. The pressure to produce more and more and faster and faster is huge.
Thankfully, I do have a solid foundation underneath me. Even though it feels like I'm losing it, it really is still there. Not all, but MOST of those who have been with me from the beginning are going to wait.
And I thank them for it.
Because even though it's hard, even though it sometimes causes my anxiety to peak-taking the time off, being a mother is my most important job. All the other stuff is going to have to wait. Because I will never have another summer with these kids while they are seven and five again.
I love it.
I'm Keary Taylor. I'm a writer, but mostly I'm a mother. Finding the balance between the two is HARD. But it's all about perspective and daily reminders in my children's laughter as they grow up every day. They inspire me every day and it's my job to set an example for the kind of adults they will be someday.
To my kids: I will keep doing the very best I can. I love you guys infinity.