Amber asks, "Will you do a post on how you juggle writing and kids? My creative energy is completely sapped." Oh man, I am so sapped. I am a Vermont maple in winter. I've got two mobile almost-one-year-olds and a 4 yo and 7 yo and a husband, who counts as maybe a 10 yo. I'm kinda bragging, because they're cool, and I never thought I'd have such a big family, so I look around and marvel at our hugeness (relative hugeness, you mothers of eight out there), and I think, "Hey, this rocks!"
But I'm sapped too. Finding time to bathe and feed myself is an uphill battle every day. I had a couple of visitors coming over this morning, so I worked so hard to clean my kitchen and living room, trying to keep kiddos entertained for 3 hours while I cleaned non-stop between caring for their needs. And when my visitors came in, I looked around and realized that I had acheived Normal Messy, no more.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, I'm in no shape to be dolling out advice. I barely survive. I'm sure you know what I mean. This marvelous, marvelous chaos. But my center is my creative time. For 2 1/2 hours four times a week, I have a babysitter, and I close my door and write. Turn off the mommy craziness, turn on Writer Woman. It's not an easy transition, but I have to do it. I just have to.
I'm so proud of my friend Dawn Meehan, who is a contestant on Survivor this season. I've never followed the show before, but you bet I am now.
In this video, Dawn talks about being a mom, and how she involved her kids in her Survivor preparations. I get very excited encouraging other moms not to neglect themselves but to find and pursue their passion, their creative outlet. It's a balancing act for sure, and I'm constantly checking in with myself and my family to make sure my writing life isn't overwhelming my family life or vice versa. But I'm a better person and a happier mom for being a writer too.
I love that Dawn had this impossible dream, and she made it happen! Everyone's dream is different. Funny enough, being a contestant on Suvrivor is also on my to-do list, right under "Eat own eyeballs" and "Play tennis with a Blanc Mange." (Actually, the latter rates quite a bit higher still.) Rough it in the wild, go without sleep or food or bed, swim or run till you vomit, immerse yourself in a backstabbing high school environment, go without shampoo or makeup on national television? Count me OUT. But I'm so excited to see Dawn do it!
Carly! She who wrote: "Oh my gosh! So exciting! I hope I win! I can't wait to read this! OF COURSE I would go to Austenland if it really existed. I am a super obsessed Austen fan and actually have my own entire wardrobe already since I do historic costuming. The idea of three weeks in the actual "period" just sounds like heaven!"
Congrats, Carly! I put in the numbers into a random number generator and I was crossing my fingers that it was a smaller number so I didn't have to count up to 600+. Yay. Carly, send me an email at squeetus (at) gmail (dot) com.
I'm so pumped by the exciting response to this giveaway! So many of you wanted a copy. That's just awesome. I'm getting really excited to share.
By the way, I'm on twitter too. I don't tweet much, but more often than I blog. My tweets also go to facebook. Just in case you're like, "I just cannot get enough of that sparkly Shannon Hale! If only I could roll around in her sparkliness more often." Problem solved! You're welcome.
Here's the new Midnight in Austenland cover. The jacket spine you see left. It's much the same as the previous one I showed you, just zoomed and juggled a bit. There are often many versions of a cover before a final is selected. While I am consulted, the book cover is chosen by my publisher, as is the case with 99% of books. (Many authors don't even get consulted, so I'm lucky!) I hope you love it.
And I have (or will shortly, postal service willing) an ARC to give away! You have till Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 10 pm to make a comment on this post to enter the contest. One comment per person. I'll use a random number generator to select a winner. And to give you something to talk about, if there was a real Austenland (i.e. immersive Austen vacation), would you go and why?
I've had every intention of blogging for the past week and a half. So little time! A few highlights:
The wrap party was smokin', in a tobacco-free kind of way. So great to hang casually with all those cool folks who had been working so hard for seven weeks. And so great to get jiggy wid it! I love dancing, and haven't danced outside my house since long before my twins pregnancy. The highlight: our awesome editor slapped together a 5 min trailer of the movie. It looked AWESOME! (IMO) This isn't the trailer they'll release, and who knows when that'll happen, but it was so cool to see it.
Coming home! I ran into the house, grabbed my Max and Maggie, and we power-snuggled on the couch. The babies, exhausted as they were, couldn't help grinning at their big brother and sister.
Being home! I love being here when my second grader comes home from school. I love eating dinner with my entire family. I love reading books together and talking together and hugging and laughing. I love being a mom at home.
Getting back into routine. It's great to be in my own house, even though it's so disorganized I have weeks of work trying to get it back to the less-offensive disaster that it was when I left. It's great to have regular writing time again and get back into my work-in-progress.
And with that, I'm off for some soul-purging rewrites. Adios, ameobas!