Today I’m pleased to present a guest blog post by fellow Vine Leaves Press author Theresa Milstein. Theresa is an editor at Vine Leaves as well as an author. She lives in the Boston area and teaches special ed in my hometown of Belmont, so I already like her even though I don’t know her! I’m excited to read Theresa’s prose & poetry collection, TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCE, which was released this week. Check out the information at the bottom of this post for where to buy the book, as well as info about a contest where you can win a FREE copy (or other cool prize)!
Take it away, Theresa!
My writing process has changed considerably over the years. When I first began, I worked part time and was much younger (had more energy). My children were younger too, so life was busy until they went to bed. I found it easiest to write at night. Since I didn’t know many of the rules, I could belt out a cliché-ridden manuscript in a couple of months. And I had little idea of what revision meant, so I’d look it over a bunch of times, tweak it, and be done. There would be months I wouldn’t write again until another idea came to me. This routine went on for a number of years.
Luckily, I soon found a writing community that connected me with critique groups, workshops, conferences, retreats, and books on writing. The more I learned (and aged), the more I slowed down during drafts, and they were all the better for it. Eventually I began working full time as a teacher. That changed everything. I was too busy to write during the day, too exhausted at night, and so I experienced my longest drought. I was miserable.
Something had to give. I’d received the advice to write short stories to learn to make each word count and have an easier time becoming published. I thought an added bonus would be I could manage writing smaller pieces when I was busy. But something else occurred to me—time wouldn’t be handed to me on a silver platter. I had to make time. From that point on, writing became non-negotiable. I started a Facebook group to hold myself accountable on a daily basis. So nearly every day, I wrote something: a short story, a piece of flash fiction, a poem. And I became happier.
Then I started graduate school, and scheduling time seemed impossible. After a few attempts and almost giving up, I decided to set my alarm an hour earlier than I needed to. When everyone else is sleeping, I sit with a cup of coffee, cat on lap, and a laptop. And I write.
Recently, I’ve been tested again. Since the election, I’ve been using my writing time to inform myself of what’s going on and to take action. This “informing myself” part has been pretty depressing. I’ve been going days without writing. I’ve read a couple of articles* from people who are going through something similar, but it hasn’t helped me to write consistently. I’m trying to give myself a break. And I’ve written some poems in reaction to our new reality, so all is not lost on the writing front. I tell myself that writing is still too important to me, and I’ll find my way back into a routine. In the meantime, I’ve also been focusing my energies in preparing for my book launch.
How do you make time to write?
Theresa Milstein writes middle grade and YA, but poetry is her secret passion. Her vignette collection, TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE, will be published by Vine Leaves Press in March 21, 2017. She lives near Boston Massachusetts with her husband, two children, a dog-like cat, and a cat-like dog. For her day job, she works as a special education teacher in a public school, which gives her ample opportunity to observe teens and tweens in their natural habitat.
TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE is available:
$3.99 AUD (eBook)
iBooks | Kobo | Nook
$12.99 AUD (paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Leave a comment and you’re eligible to win a prize during my blog tour!
1 $25 Amazon gift card
1 signed paperback copy
Answer the question:
“If you could relive any moment in time, what would it be?”
Extra entries if you share on Facebook or Twitter and link it to me.
@TheresaMilstein on Twitter.
@Theresa Milstein on Facebook
#ReliveMoment or #TimeandCircumstance
Winners will be announced on April 5, 2017