For years, I allowed hosting responsibilities for family birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions to sidetrack me from writing. As a mother of 3, and piano teacher to 25, the needs of my family and regular paycheck always came first, and my writing? Dead last.
My worst time of year, writing-wise, ran from mid-November through New Year’s when, inevitably, I’d dropped my pen and become a party-planner of the grumpier sort. Entertaining wasn’t second nature for me, so I often felt resentful of my obligations. But, one year I discovered that wasn’t the only way to party. A week before Thanksgiving, when a particularly intriguing story idea hit, I dropped my cookbooks and started writing. Within a few hours, I’d completed a rough draft.
“I’ll work on this again after Thanksgiving,” I vowed. But, to me, a rough draft is like catnip to a cat. I can’t put it down! It finds its way to the kitchen table at coffee breaks, goes with me on errands, and makes time fly in medical waiting rooms.
That year, to my amazement – in addition to family, job, and holiday prep – I actually finished that story, and mailed it out before Thanksgiving arrived. Even more amazing, though, was how I felt going into that holiday. Instead of feeling tense or put-upon for hosting a meal for 20, I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction. I was more peaceful, more balanced, and less anxious, all because I hadn’t dropped writing cold turkey to prepare for the hot one.
By refusing to sideline my passion, I was a far happier hostess. My party didn’t bomb, and I learned a valuable lesson. People with “regular jobs” pull off special events and occasions all the time, and no one expects perfection. After all, “they work.” Well, writers work, too. I’ve finally learned that maintaining my writing boundaries during crunch times is actually best for me, and those closest to me.
Case in point: my middle son is getting married next week, and what am I doing?
You got it. Writing!
A freelance writer, piano teacher, mom and grandma, Wendy Hobday Haugh lives in upstate New York with her husband and two cats.