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19 February 2014 @ 05:04 pm
Reader Questions: Doing it all  

Thirzah asks keeping kick-ass real? Why is it ok to have a hero/ine shoot people in fiction, when we’re opposed to guns & violence in real life?

Well, I write about a god-fighting shaman, so I’m not sure how *real* I keep kick-ass, but… :)

I think it’s all right for us to explore violence in fiction precisely because we don’t in real life. It’s a way for us to imagine and experience things we actually really hope we don’t encounter in real life. A lot of fiction is about heightening experiences, or exploring the dark/scary/interesting places in our own heads, and getting the thrill of the visceral reaction to it without, y’know, being a murderer. Or getting a sword stuffed through us, or whatever.

Thirzah also asks: Also! How [do you] write a zillion books, post a billion posts, walk a trillion steps, raise a small child and *still* get time to go to the cinema?!

Pretty sure this isn’t actually the part of the question Thirzah expected me to answer in depth, but I’m going to.

I have not, in fact, written a zillion books since having a small child. I’ve written…*stops to count*…6. (shaman rises, stone’s throe, mountain echoes, skymaster, seamaster, baba yaga’s daughter, because somebody’s gonna ask.)

Okay. Six is quite a few books in 4 years. I’ll grant anybody that. However, it’s 1.5 books a year, and previous to having a child I was writing a lot closer to 3.5 books a year.

People think it’s pretty funny when I’m stressed and unhappy about only getting a book and a half done a year, but it’s amazingly not funny to me. Dropping from 3.5 books to 1.5 books a year is a *huge* blow, and I have extremely high–unreasonably high–expectations of myself. It is literally an every-day struggle to not beat myself up or try to anticipate what I could be doing if everything went smoothly today. It’s incredibly difficult to not commit myself to all the projects that sound like fun, and it’s equally difficult to try to narrow down what specific project I should be focusing on next when I’m accustomed to being damned near able to do it all.

I’m told that people have a perception of me just being someone who Gets It Done, apparently partly because I don’t talk about my difficulties a great deal in public. (I certainly feel like I do enough in private.) That’s very flattering, but it’s also frustrating, because I don’t at all feel like I’m Getting It Done a lot of the time.

As for walking and the cinema, well, I walk to the cinema because if I don’t get some time to myself I’ll lose my mind. But I am aware every goddamn minute that I’m going to movies or watching TV or whatever that I am not writing, and while I recognize that in fact I cannot be working every hour of the day (because who are we kidding, parenting is relentless work) I still feel torn up and guilty about it. So that’s the reality, actually. It’s not only not as easy as it (apparently) looks, but it’s not even half as functional as it (apparently) looks.

And I try to schedule blog posts in advance. *schedules this one…* :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

M. C. A. Hogarth: presenthaikujaguar on February 19th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
*offers hot chocolate*

Throttling back because of parenting has been one of the more frustrating experiences of my life.
kitmizkit on February 19th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
It's good to know I'm not the only one. *drinks that hot chocolate* ♥
M. C. A. Hogarth: presenthaikujaguar on February 19th, 2014 08:31 pm (UTC)
Ironically, I know that I'm not giving everything to my art... but my family knows I'm not giving everything to them either. Neither of them are satisfied with the pieces of me they have. :,
Merlin Of Chaos: sad merlinmerlinofchaos on February 19th, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
Roughly once a week I ask myself or my spouse: "Why do we have kids again?"

I mean, they give us good answers to that question unintentionally.

But they also keep me asking.
A large duck: Ray Lillyburger_eater on February 19th, 2014 07:17 pm (UTC)
You have my utmost sympathy on the loss of productivity. That's incredibly hard to deal with, and even doing 1.5 books a year with a little one is a huge task. I was "lucky" not to be a professional when mine was tiny so the pressure was less (well, it was very different).

What are the odds that you can be more forgiving of yourself for doing what you can at a difficult period? Every parent has to sacrifice things and moms have it worst; I think you're doing great.
kitmizkit on February 19th, 2014 07:26 pm (UTC)
This, horribly, is my version of being forgiving of myself. The best I can manage is grim near-acceptance, which is better than actual rage.

Thanks for the kudos, though. It helps to hear other parents weigh in.
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on February 19th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC)
You are much too hard on yourself, you know. You are Amazing, in so many ways.
kitmizkit on February 20th, 2014 06:36 am (UTC)
I know, and I wouldn't expect as much of anyone I was watching who was in my position. This, however, has very little effect on my own expectations of myself. @.@ And thank you. :)
ruford42 on February 20th, 2014 02:39 am (UTC)
I've never encountered anything as rewarding, aggrivating, frustrating, or as agonizingly hair-pulling as being a parent. :) The fact that you find time to do anything other than crash into a pillow the moment he can be distracted by friends is impressive to me.

That said...any hints of when Stone's Throe and Skymaster will come to market?
Kate Kirbykirbyk on February 20th, 2014 01:10 pm (UTC)
In the end, you've got to be true to yourself. Which for you means passionately dedicated to being a writer.

I like to think that kids don't take as much time, and particularly time of the random interrupt variety, when they get to be school aged. But what do I know? (I do know that when you're creating, a random deal-with-this-now thing is brutal, though. And young kids are /full/ of those.)

I don't want your life at all, but that's cool, because I don't have it. :)
silkiemom on February 20th, 2014 10:53 pm (UTC)

Parenting is pretty darned relentless work. No matter how much parenting you do, there's always going to be more that you could do. Sometimes it's hard for me to deliberately take time off for me, because I feel like I should be doing *something*. But not taking time off backfires and just leads to me exploding messily and being completely useless.

Hang in there!