Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Triathlon Tuesday: What Doesn't Kill You...

At the end of 2012, I was finishing Primal Instinct so I could send it to the editor who had requested it. I was also training for the Disney Marathon (that was coming in January 2013).

I remember saying to myself: I can train for a marathon or I can write a book, but I can't really do both. Not with everything else I have going on in my life.

Awwww... I look back on the girl I was eighteen months ago and cannot help but want to smile and pat her on the head. Bless her little heart.

I registered for the 2014 Ironman Florida (IMFL) race on November 3, 2013. At the time I was looking for a challenge and felt like this was a good time in my life to do something as difficult as an Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run). And I'd sold my first book, but hadn't heard anything about writing any more for Harlequin, so I would have time to train.

True story: three days after I signed up for IMFL, I got a call from Harlequin. They wanted me to write four books in nine months.

So now, instead of just writing ONE book and training for JUST a marathon, I would be writing FOUR books and training for one of the  THE HARDEST EVENTS ON THE PLANET.

Please excuse my yelling. And hang on while I wipe the spittle off my screen.

I've been doing my best to keep my cool, keep my head on straight, keep my eye on the prize (really, any number of "keep my..." adages apply) during the last few months.

I have four school-aged kids (each with their requisite activities; and a teenager who I'm discovering needs more one-on-one attention than a toddler), a full-time job teaching college (although, admittedly that is not a 9-5 job), am training for an Ironman Triathlon (which currently takes 8-10 hours/week, but will eventually take 18-20 hours/week in August & September), and am writing four novels.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

People ask me a lot how I manage to get everything done. 

I usually reply jokingly that sleep is overrated. (But the truth is, I love sleep and rarely get less than eight hours a night. I'm very protective of my sleep. Seriously.)

Here's the truth about how I get everything done:
1. I pretty much completely eliminated television from my schedule this spring. I watched one show: The Blacklist because I just couldn't help myself. In 2014 I have sadly said goodbye to: The Walking Dead, Almost Human, The Vampire Diaries, New Girl, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (although dang it, it looks like it finally got good), Nashville, Modern Family, and How I Met Your Mother.

Television is a time-sucker and does very little good in terms of stimulating creativity for me. Once I stopped watching it, I found I didn't really miss it.

2. I said no. No, I cannot be the chair of that committee at work. No, I cannot play sixteen different games of Words-With-Friends. No, I cannot be responsible for the entire bookfair at my kids' elementary school. No, I won't write that bi-weekly newsletter. Please contact me again after November 1 (once the Ironman is done, and my Omega Sector books are completed).

3. I get up earlier and go to bed earlier. This was hard for me. I liked my I'm-a-night-owl-artistic-type-so-I-will-regularly-stay-up-until-3am mentality. No. Now I'm getting up each morning usually before 6am and getting two hours of either writing or workouts done in the morning. I'm exhausted by 9pm every night, but that's okay, because I'm not trying to have my creative or physical juices flowing then. I'm just hanging out and chillin' with the fam. And I'm asleep by 10:00.

And the schedule doesn't end just because it's the weekend. Same thing. Although maybe starting at 7am.

4. My family is starting to work together as a team. I can't do everything, and my family is awesome, so everyone helps out. Kid #1 can do laundry. Kid #3 is an excellent cook. Kid #4, God bless her, wants to help as much as she can and often does stuff without me asking. Kid #2... well, he pretty much stays outside playing as much as possible. He's figured out if I can't see him, I don't ask him to do stuff.

Hubby helps out as much as possible too. And most of all, almost never complains about the fact that I constantly talk about stuff like chafing, blisters, core strength, and different flavors of Gatorade.

Would I do it all again this way if I had the option to go back? No. For the love of all that is chocolate... no, no, no. I would not sign up for IMFL for 2014 or would spread out my book deadlines further or not have so many kids. Or something.

But it is this way, and I've got to get it done. So I am. One day at a time.


  1. You've got this, Janie! You are a big bowl of AWESOMESAUCE and there's no stopping you! And when you turn in that fourth book, if you're done with that IMFL, of course, go to bed for like a week!

    1. Thanks, Barb. You know full well the deadline pressure! Actually if I can just make it to Sept 1 (when book #4 is due) I'll be feeling pretty good. :)