Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Frantic? Who, me?

Hi! Louise Gouge here.

Picture this: You are living your dream. You get paid to do the thing you love most. Life is good.

BUT!

It’s always the “buts” in life that give us grief, right? Let me explain how this works in my situation.

When I was a young girl, I dreamed of being an artist of some sort: an opera singer, an actress, a writer. As time passed, I had fun singing in church and acting in church dramas, but my greatest satisfaction came when I married my sweetheart and we raised a family. When my children were nearly grown, I started writing. After working for years to hone my craft, I was blessed with book contracts, and I’ve been writing under contract for almost twenty years. Of my three childhood dreams, this one had actually come true.

Yea! Dreams fulfilled! Right?

Yes, absolutely. But here’s my “but.” Writing under contract means that I have a set amount of time to complete my novel and a date by which I must submit it to my editor. This is important because my publishers have all of their book releases carefully planned. If I don’t get my manuscript to them on time, it interrupts their schedule. They have to scramble to fill that spot. My spot! Thus, extended deadlines affect not only the publisher, but also the writer’s career. A responsible writer lives up to her contract and meets that all-important deadline. Sometimes it’s easier to do than others. Sometimes, as a deadline approaches, we writers get a little frantic.

Frantic? I can do frantic. In fact, lately, frantic has become my modus operandi. (At left, see Louise in a not-so-frantic mood at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL.)

You see, in addition to writing, I have a “day job.” For two days a week, I’m also a college professor of English and humanities. I have lessons to plan, classes to teach, and papers to grade. That leaves only four days to write. (I take Sundays off.) Not a lot of time to write a well-planned, well researched novel.

In addition, I have a busy family life. My widowed daughter and two grandchildren live with my husband and me, and the children are homeschooled. On the days when I’m writing in my home office, I have the privilege of listening to piano or guitar practice. Music to write by! Even when they start learning a new song and make many mistakes.

Of course there are many other school activities going on all the time. Sometimes, another homeschool family comes to our house so the moms can share their individual expertise with the other children. On those days, recess takes place right outside my window, another form of music to my ears.
Early this year, one of our sons was diagnosed with brain cancer. After surgery, he's now on chemo, but still manages to pastor his church, which my husband and I attend. For many weeks, I was privileged to take part in his care, driving him to appointments, etc., until he was able to drive again.

In the management of our house, we adults take turns fixing supper. My turn usually falls on days when I need to get a lot more words on the page or when I’m particularly inspired and don’t want to lose the thoughts churning through my brain. We can’t order in pizza or Chinese all of those times! So I cook. My grandson particularly likes my chicken pot pie, an all-day project to make!
(At left, our family, including those who live in their own houses and I'm sure don't have nearly the chaos we do.)

Just this morning, we were all in our small kitchen fixing breakfast. Hubby was getting ready for work, daughter and both grandchildren were preparing for their day, and we all needed to keep on schedule. Chaos reigned, and I wondered if I would ever get to my computer to work on my book that’s due on October 1, especially since I’ve reached a plot point that doesn’t seem to want to work for me. Ack! Writer’s block.

But when I finally made it to my computer, all the right words seemed eager to get on the page. I sailed past the block, maybe because being with my family loosened something inside of me. After all, no success in the writing world can match the worth of a loving family.

So, yes. I’m living my dream of being a published author. Yes, I spend many days being frantic as I trudge/gallop/limp/sprint toward my next deadline. But in the end, it’s all worth it. I love my books. I love my readers. And I love my family most of all. I wouldn’t change my life, no matter how frantic, for anything.

This coming Saturday, my upcoming novel, Cowboy to the Rescue, will be featured right here on CraftieLadies. Please come back and leave a comment. Next Monday, I’ll be giving away one copy of the book to someone living in the U. S. or Canada. I hope to see you there!

11 comments:

Christine Johnson said...

Congratulations on your new book, Louise! I imagine the hustle and bustle of the family also gives you many ideas for your stories. Your son must be an inspiration to his congregation. The Lord is surely working mightily through him. Thank you for sharing this slice of your daily life.

Missy Tippens said...

Louise, what a beautiful family!

Carolyne Aarsen said...

My goodness. Stories like this make me feel like a slacker! I have such a quiet house and all day to write. Instead, here I am on Craftie Ladies reading about your frantic days. You inspired me, however, to get back to work.

Leann Harris said...

Louise what a good looking family. I'm glad your son is doing well. I'm like Carolyn, and feel like a slacker. But in those busy times, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other.

Winnie Griggs said...

Louise what a handsome family you have! And your new bookcover is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this little peek into your life with us.

Debby Giusti said...

Louise,

I can "hear" your grandchildren playing outside your window! Lovely noise, for sure! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your life and sharing the picture of your beautiful family.

Continued prayers for your son and hugs for your daughter who experienced such loss. I'm sure both children gather strength from their sweet mother.

pol said...

Louise you sound soooo busy, I don't think I would thrive on all that chaos. I am happy you are able to do all that you do, anxious to read your new books, Hope the words keep flowing....
Paula O

Louise M. Gouge said...

Hi, ladies. I just got home from teaching all day, so I'm catching up. Thank you for your kind remarks. My family truly recharges me. My dear hubby cooks supper on the days I work because I get home at 6 pm and I'm so tired. This was a great day at work, however. Good students. Lots of response to my teaching. That always feels good. Now I put on my writer's hat and finish an interview for Cowboy to the Rescue. Fun!

Jolene Navarro said...

Louise, Thank you for sharing a bit of your family. I teach also. Teaching art, I feel recharges my creative brain.Staying focused can be a bit hard. Thank you for inspiring me.

Pamela Tracy said...

You're lucky! I'm a college English professor too. But, I'm there five days a week. LOL Besides teaching, grading, etc, I'm also on four committees.

I have a nine year old. Not home schooled but we've soccer and skateboarding and dive team LOL

You're right. We're living the dream.

CatMom said...

Yes, family is SO precious!
Thank you for sharing a peek into your life, Louise.
Praying for your son.
Blessings, Patti Jo