Rajdeep Paulus’ YA novel Swimming Through Clouds has won several honors in 2012:
A sample of Swimming Through Clouds is available for free from 13-17 Sept. Rajdeep is mommy to four princesses, wife of Sunshine, a coffee-addict and a chocoholic. As of this past June, she’s a Tough Mudder, and sometimes she wears her orange headband around town when she walks her imaginary dog. Yeah, she’s got some issues to work out. But don’t we all. To find out more, visit her website or connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
A Day In the Life of a Writer-Mom
The sound of “Beethoven’s Fifth” emanating from my iPhone awakens my creative juices at five in the morning. Five. Fifth. Maybe it’s a writer thing. Anyway, all I can think is story. Story. Story. Must get my story on.
But not yet.
First a splash of cold water to the sleepy eyes, a mouthwash, and the sneakers slip on for a sunrise run. Stick my buds in and pump up the volume on my “Inspired To Write” playlist. Jog to my favorite tunes and when the lightbulb moment happens, usually on the final uphill part of the course, I turn on my microphone App and “jot” the ideas down so they don’t slip away with the sweat that rolls off my brow.
Arrive home, start a pot of coffee, jump in the shower, and work up another sizzling scene out in my head as I lather, rinse and repeat. Awesome. Two or three chapters brainstormed even before my fingers hit the keyboard. Almost time…but not yet.
Work my kitchen magic to throw together an eggs, pancakes, and sausage breakfast for my four princesses who need full tum-tums before they head off to school. Even mold the pancakes into cloud shapes to keep the inspiration flowing. As the first batch awaits perfect flipping status, combine kale, strawberries, banana, and peanut butter with a scoop of vanilla protein powder and some milk into a blender for my winning breakfast smoothie. Gotta skip the pancakes else chance a carb-induced coma that this writer-mom cannot risk.
Backpacks double-checked, milk mustaches wiped, and foreheads kissed, send the girls off the school at the bus stop and walk back up to the house, suddenly giddy with awareness that I’m all alone. ALL. ALONE! Time to write. Almost.
Make the beds. Fold some laundry. Toss a bunch of ingredients into a slow cooker for dinner and set it. And forget it. Walk the dog. Empty the dishwasher. And curl my hair. Because everyone knows that nice hair is the key to a perfectly crafted kiss scene. Drink a second cup of java, sit down at the kitchen table, and update my Status with hashtags #writing, #inmymode, and #pumpingoutthewords.
Ready. Set. Stop.
Pay some bills. Call my BFF to catch up. Meet hubby for lunch. Now it’s 1:00 PM and only two hours remain before the girls get off the bus. MUST. WRITE. NOW.
Panic sets in. What if I can’t get the words out? What if I forget how to write? What if the English language just disappears like an etch-a-sketch screen, and all I have left is a tweenage vocabulary of songs from One Direction. CALM DOWN, I tell myself.
A little more putzing around on Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. And Instagram and now it’s 2:00PM. One hour before the door opens and the girls are home. It’s now or never.
A blog. I’ll start with a blog. Surely I can pump out a blog in one hour. Ready. Set… Time to make the cookies. Girls will need an out-of-the-oven snack if I’m gonna earn my Mommy of the Year crown for the fifth year in a row.
Girls come home. Mommy hat goes back on. Did I ever take it off? Homework help beckons, tears wiped from the retelling of an unforeseen cafeteria disappointment, and clocks set to monitor the girls’ Social Media time. Hubby returns from work, eat dinner, and we share a meal and our days.
Dishwasher loaded, leftovers stored, and table wiped down. Lunches and snacks made, emails checked, and backpacks hung by the coats with care. Bedtime stories, prayers, and kisses good night. Where did the day go?
Yep. That’s how my almost perfect writer days go. More or less.
Truth be told, I’m not a morning person, so the sun rises every day. Usually without me. And the jogging thing is not my thing, especially after two calf injuries and a severe case of arch pain, so I stick to biking nowadays. But not every day. And the dog—we don’t have one, although we did dog-sit this summer, twice. And the only dishwashers we have are the very helpful hands of my daughters who take turns helping me with everything from folding clothes to dishes to dinner. The house would be a total disaster without them. They make their own snacks, lunches and know how to pour a mean bowl of cereal.
All this to say, I’m a work in progress, writer-mom. Still tweaking (not twerking, FTR) the kinks of a perfect writing schedule, but I’m not one of those “can’t write till the muse shows up” types. I love to write, and I do write. All the time, even if I can’t get my ideas out on my laptop the very moment my mind births a fun line, perfect scene, dialogue that sings, or a new friend, fictionally-speaking.
Challenged to turn off the other worlds, I have to remind myself to be all there in my real world. My youngest repeating, “Mom. Mom. MOM!” when I venture off is reminder enough, because as much as I love the fictional doors I enter, nothing compares to the blessing I have to parent my princesses. And I say it often, but it’s true: I’ll never write a love story better than the one I’m living.
So the day in the writer life of this Masala Mama is about as unpredictable as the weather. I always hope for 90% inspiration with a 10% chance of interruption, but I’m grateful for 50% chance of progress with a 100% opportunity to live the writer’s dream. Aware, so aware, that not everyone who wants to write actually gets to write. I do. And I’m so thankful for the chance to try.
For even more of today’s best indie teen fiction, visit PlaylistFiction.com.
Swimming Through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus
Glass Girl by Aura Anderson Kirk
The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill
Between These Lines by Jennifer Murgia
It’s Complicated by Laura L. Smith
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