I was in the shower early this morning, pondering my to-do list, which is possibly longer than Raine, when a voice popped into my head. What about the other things you really want to write?, it said.
While I didn't drop to my knees in awe, I did pause my vigorous shampooing, "Are you talking to me, God?" A heartbeat later, "Or am I just talking to me?" It didn't help my confusion any when the soundtrack in my mind started warbling dito baaaaa ang sulok kong takdaaaaa sa ilalim ng araaaaaaw... (semi literal translation: is this my spot under the sun?); which made me think that either my inner jukebox is a closet baduy or the neighbor's YesFM is more insidious than I originally suspected.
The past three months have been hectic, and in the midst of deadlines, coordination, hunting down writers and photographers, conceptualizing editorial lineups, proofreading, researching, writing, editing, counting words and counting toes (when Raine insists on sitting on my lap), I received two very flattering offers (and no, they weren't from The Hubby).
The first was from this huge magazine publishing company. I'm doing a mockup issue for them, a sort of Magazine Lite--all the articles without the ads--to see if it's a viable new title. They offered me the Editor-in-Chief position when the mag goes to print next year. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. Mine anyway. I've been working, thinking, breathing, writing, conceptualizing magazines for nearly a decade. To be EIC of a real magazine, a commercial-sell-to-the-public magazine (my magazine work has largely been custom magazines, not consumer) is wow. I've been wanting to head my own magazine, to give it direction, to share my passion with readers. And working with this publishing company is a great opportunity.
But. Yup, there's that big but (and I don't mean mine). It will take all my time and energy. I know it will. Friends who work in that company (or even in the publishing industry), much as they enjoy it, admit that there isn't much of them left for anything else. So where would that leave The Hubby and Raine? Sure I'd be making good money; I'll be in a creative (but cutthroat) environment; I'll be doing things I'm good at and I enjoy--but what are my priorities?
After much prayer and discussions with The Hubby and playing "What Ifs", I said no. And it felt good, sort of, turning down that fantastic opportunity. I could feel a sense of reassurance, a sense that God has something better planned for me. Then came the second offer.
This time it was from my long-time client, whose annual watch magazine I've been doing for more than a decade. He knows that I don't want to work full time, so he offered me a full time-part time job. I'd report to the office once or twice a week, and I'd work at home at my own discretion the rest of the time. I'd be working on the magazine, and basically the other stuff that he regularly farms out to me. I'm pretty much steeped in the watch culture, so while I'm no expert, I am passably knowledgeable. So the work wouldn't be that hard. And I like my client; he and his company are one of my favorites. They're generous, easy to work with and we respect each other's capabilities. Again, it would be a great opportunity. While it will still take up a lot of my time and energy, it wouldn't be as deadly as the EIC position. And it would help with the finances, cover the tuition and school fees of Raine (been thinking of sending her to play school twice a week, but The Hubby said we can't afford it yet).
I was discussing this new offer with my mom last night, and I wondered if I just am looking for opportunities (or excuses) to not be a full time SAHM (stay at home mom). And I wondered if I'm not really built for pure domesticity. I have all these domestic plans in my head--I'll bake cookies and make flavored oils and vinegars for gifts; I'll make soap again; I'll organize the family finances; I'll revolutionize the way we do the grocery; I'll homeschool Raine--but I never do any of them because there's always something else for me to do. Some article I had to write. Some expert I had to interview. Some book I had to read to unwind (it IS crucial to have some me time). In theory, if I quit my writing gigs, or at least did less, I'd have more time to act on all these plans. Theoretically. And so If I accepted this offer, it goes back to having no time to do anything.
I suppose I was still subconsciously playing around with these possibilities in the shower this morning, when I heard that voice in my head. What about the things you really want to write? Because if I'd have no time for SuperWife/SuperMom stuff, what more for those personal things that I've been dreaming of writing? Right now, I write for a living. I write what people tell me to write. And what I want to write for myself--the children's stories, the essays, the short stories, the novel, the blog post even--they've withered into vague, colorless ideas at the back of my head.
What about the things you really want to write? Is that God reminding me to wait on his perfect timing? Because He promised that I would write something great. Something that will be remembered. And I wrestled a promise out of Him that I would publish a book of my own.
I guess it's hard to shake off that saying that 'God helps those who help themselves'. He doesn't really. He helps those who have faith in him. It's a fine, fine line between helping yourself and acting in faith.
So what do I do now? What about those things that I really want to write? Are you talking to me, God? Or am I just talking to me?