Friends and Family

Survival of the Fittest

by Monique O’Connor James

The one question I’m asked more than any other is:  When do you sleep? Every time I’m asked this question I laugh, because the truth is I sleep when I’m sleepy and for as long as my eyes stay shut.  Writing is one of the things I love most about my life; a life that includes a full time job selling insurance, and my other loves, two children and a wonderful husband.  If we were just talking about making dinner and keeping the bathtub clean, then maybe my sleep habits wouldn’t come under scrutiny so often.

Being a writer requires not only that you find the time to write, but also that you live a life which gives you experience worth writing about.  And, let’s face it we are so much more than just writers, wives and mothers.  Our jobs include a list of occupations which would make us over qualified for most corporate positions; event planner, domestic engineer, psychologist, nurse, teacher, veterinarian, CEO, accountant, mechanic, plumber, etc., etc., etc.

If you sit down to think about all the things we do, you’d never do something crazy like add writer, artist, or musician to the mix! However, writers write because they were born to write.  It’s not a choice, but a drive which wakes you from a dead sleep and forces you to express your emotions and thoughts.  I would think it’s much the same for artists and the like.  Even though, in my case, I have to find the time to write, it is one of the most relaxing and satisfying parts of my life.

So, how does one who already has a full plate add another occupation to the list and stay sane?  The important thing is to stay balanced, and take care of yourself.

  1. Address the sleep issue – truth be told, I don’t sleep as much as the average person.  The best time to write for me is between 10 PM – 2 AM. However, I believe in listening to my body.  When it tells me I’m tired, I rest.  This may mean going home from work and crashing at 7 PM, but if I follow orders, I’ll be good to go for a week or so.
  2. Figure out exactly what it is your family needs and work to give it to them – okay this is easier said than done, but let me give you an example.  My youngest likes to snuggle.  She likes fifteen or twenty minutes lying in my bed, with just the two of us.  I think this is pretty easy to comply with.  My oldest, likes to talk the moment I walk in the door, so I try to sit down and listen. My husband likes to talk after the kids are in bed, and within 30 minutes he’s asleep.  When his eyes close, I sneak off to write.
  3. Eat – it’s easy to rush around being superwoman and then steal away to write and realize at midnight you haven’t eaten.  Set an alarm if you must.
  4. Squash the guilt – Everyone in your life enjoys something. Maybe your husband plays golf  or video games, and the kids run off to their friends and participate in all those extracurricular activities you cart them to.  It’s okay to do something for you.

Whatever the hobby, or second career J, if it’s something you love and it makes you happy then everyone in your life is better off for it. Yes you must sleep, but you also must make time to be the person you need to be, so you can be everything to everyone else.  I hope you can make time for the things that bring you joy, because for me writing brings me happiness and peace, and I can survive working two jobs!

THE KEEPERS

Jess denies God.  In his infinite wisdom, he’s taken everyone she’s ever loved. Moving to the French Quarter was a ploy to erase the guilt she felt for rebuking her faith.  Perhaps, if she hadn’t met Justin, an angel preoccupied with getting back into God’s good graces, and drowning in his hatred for humanity, her plan would have worked.

Justin’s general disdain for the human race makes him difficult to like, but some higher power has appointed him her keeper.  Justin’s convinced he can mend her broken relationship with her maker, but in the process he learns a thing or two about his own humanity.

Never mind falling in love, that’s not supposed to happen.  In fact, it may even be forbidden. Jess just wants Justin to understand her plight, and he wants to protect her from a world she doesn’t know.

If neither are equipped to save the other, then whose soul will live and whose will perish?

Now available from Astraea Press, Amazon

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