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No, I'm not returning to the law firm after five-plus years. But I am going back to work.

To serious writing, that is.

Many of you know that I have been struggling with how best to balance my mothering and writing lives. I've been pretty open about my confusions and conflicts. And the reality is that the past five years have really been about family. For the most part, I finished writing my first novel Life After Yes, by the time Big Girl entered the world. And I've managed to maintain this blog, yes, and that's writing, important writing of a particular breed, but I have not prioritized my fiction.

Until now. You will notice that I call Life After Yes "my first novel." Some would say this is presumptuous because it presupposes that there will be others. You know what? There will be. Go ahead, call me confident. I don't mind.

There are so many ideas and stories alive in my head as I tap these keys. There are complex characters whom I know intimately like good friends and I'm ready to bring them to life. I owe it to them. I owe it to me.

I had this wonderful lunch with my agent last week. Over sushi, we talked about many things. We talked about little girls (she has two girls the age of my big girls) and big dreams. We talked about my latest story, the story I've been developing with her for over a year, the story I can't wait to write. Diplomatically, she sent a simple message over sashimi, the exact message a good agent would send:

Just write it.

And that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to write the freaking book. And it won't just happen. I know this. Finding one hour pockets of time between drop-offs and pickups and afterschool activities and birthday parties will not be enough. Instead? Instead I am blocking off two whole days a week to devote to my next book. I will also write during said tiny pockets on other days, but these Writing Days will be bona fide work days. I will sit at my big desk in my wonderful study and write. And when I get stuck, I will edit and read and research. I will do anything that will contribute to the integrity of my story.

This might be a terrible idea. I'm willing to admit that. This dip into discipline might last just one day or one week. We'll see.

Or. This might be just what I need. Time and space to sit and let them come - the words, the questions, the characters. My second book.

This will not be easy for me. I know that. It will not be easy because I have a hard time spending stretches away from my girls. It will not be easy because I have not spent a day at a desk for years. It will not be easy because writing is not easy. It never is. It's glorious and gray and gritty, but it's not easy.

A mother of a child in Big Girl's class asked for a play date this Thursday. At first, my response was: Sure! That sounds great! But then I wrote to her in an email: I'm starting to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays so those days won't work. This was strangely difficult for me to do. I'm not sure why. But it was also empowering. Because writing? It is my thing. My passion. My work.

So today is my first day back at work. I'm at my big desk, terrified and thrilled, facing the blank screen and writing a story. One I care so much about. One I think you will love.

It's about time.

{Wish me luck. Pretty please.}

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Why do you think it is so hard for me to see my writing as work and dignify it as such? Are you optimistic about my two-day-plan? Do you think I am setting myself up for disappointment by imposing such a rigorous structure on my writing schedule? How do you fit in your own writing or other passions into your very busy lives?

Three Today!

The Feeling of Family