Move forward: another step toward balance

I got so wrapped up in my search for summer that I completely forgot to come up with a step toward balance for June. (If you want to catch up, here are my steps for February, March, April and May.)

Last month I committed myself to putting our family on a strict budget--and sticking to it. It took a lot of late night con-ver-sa-tions (Curt says we don't argue, we discuss), learning new software, organizing piles of paperwork, soul searching and ice cream, but we finally came to a resolution. All I had to do was keep up with it and keep us on track.

I am so very proud to say that as of right now we are doing much better than I anticipated. I fell behind one week amidst the great peeing on the potty quest of 2010, but quickly bounced back and we are forging ahead. At first I was so worried about how it would impact our day-to-day lives. Would we feel trapped? Would we be able to cut down on spending? Would we still feel like we can enjoy our lives?The funny thing is, that once all the dirty work of laying things out and setting our goals was done and we put our plan into practice, there hasn't been one feeling of being stifled or held back--what we've found is a feeling of tremendous freedom.

Instead of worrying about if our bills really got paid on time or if we can really afford that last big purchase, we know. End of story. We know, and we have all the paperwork filed in the correct place along with a pretty pie chart to prove it. True, we don't have the luxury to go all out as often as we once did, but I think we have found happiness and contentment in living our priorities and finding... wait for it... balance within our family.

I think if I'm going to be really honest, the other thing I've found besides balance is relief. A gigantic exhale in realizing that we are OK and that we can do this. We can remain a single income family for the time being and still do the things we enjoy. But, as you may have guessed, this leads me into my step for June...

A sort of secret goal of mine when I quit working outside the home was to start writing. I have been pondering over several ideas for children's and young adult books for years now, but never found the energy to start working on them. I also planned to dive into this space and make it my own, but that was more for my own sanity rather than a hope that it would someday help make a living.

My blogging goal has taken shape, and thank goodness for that because some days I think it's all that keeps me together, but the other plan has fallen a bit short. I did write a simple picture book just before the holidays and actually gave a mock-up to Curt as a Christmas gift. I showed it to some close friends and family members and got some really good feedback and support. After that, it has been sitting in a drawer untouched. Why?

Is it because I truly can't find the time to look for an agent or publisher? Is it because I don't think my work is good enough? Is it because I'm scared? Hmmm... perhaps I've hit on something. When I really dig deep, I think that an intense fear of failure is keeping me frozen in a pattern that is safe and comfortable and preventing me from reaching out to chase a dream. Maybe the book I should be writing is How to Allow Fear and Procrastination to Crush Your Soul: Successful Ways to Stay Exactly the Same. Oh, but we could all write that book at some time or another, I'm sure.

With baby #2 hot on our heels, I fear even more that with her arrival I will find an entirely new list of reasons why I can't. But how devistated would I be if a whole year passed by with that manuscript sitting in a drawer, unseen by anyone? That year could easily turn into two, three, and so on. No. I am finally ready to say that this scenario is not OK with me.

June 2010 will be the month that I finally draft and send out at least one query letter. I will get the research done and make my dream list of agents and publishers. I will stare the possibility of failure in the face and do it anyway. I will move forward. Why is it that I need to make this goal public in order to find the accountability I need? Why hasn't it been enough to make this commitment quietly to myself? ...probably best to explore that subject on another day.

In the meantime, I have 20 days left in June to "get my rear in gear," as my mom always said. Off I go--wish me luck!

 Head on over to which name? to see what Nicola and others are doing to find balance this month. Feel free to join in if you are so moved. You won't regret it!


Kate said...

I started to type a reply, but it was getting so long that I decided to just write a blog post as a response instead!

Please check it out here:

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

You go girl! I had to laugh at your "should write" title. That would fit me and some of my aspirations and some of your excuses sound a little too familiar to me!
Good luck!
ps. FABULOUS about the budget. A budget should give you freedom not restriction!

sara said...

I loved your words, Kate. Thanks for the shout out!

Nicola, thank you for the encouragement. I definitely need it!

Anonymous said...

You can't keep it quiet because that's the writer in you! You're not supposed to keep it quiet. There is something in you that needs to be expressed and shared with others. I feel the same way about my writing! So proud of you for taking that step!! It's an inspiration to the rest of us! Go get'em girl!