On Publishing, Goals, Life and Balance (Or Lack There Of)

The last few months, I’ve been a bit MIA. Not enough for anyone who doesn’t know me well to notice. But enough. Because things have been happening. Good things, which I hope to share down the line.

But bad things, too. Difficult things. Today marks two months since the day I lost my father. And tomorrow is my birthday. The first I’ll celebrate without him. It’s going to be hard.

The last year has been rough. I’ve been balancing pretty much full-time work, with writing, book-related travel (a lot), CAKE stuff, and barely enough time with my family and friends. I say barely enough because it hit me (hard) after the loss of my father just how much energy I’d been putting into “author life” instead of “life life.” The week my father died, I was still so focused on deadlines. I think about those moments now and I can’t believe it. It floors me.

Even after he died, I kept going through the motions. I didn’t know how to stop. It took my business partner Dhonielle dismissing me, quite literally, saying I wasn’t allowed to work, to actually stop. For a time at least. She took everything off my plate and became my buffer to emails and requests and drama and non-sense. She insisted.

When I sobbed about all this yesterday — because of course the tears haven’t stopped, though some days are worse than others — my (fellow writer) husband Navdeep pointed something out to me: my dad would have wanted to meet those deadlines. He would be annoyed if I dropped everything to sit listlessly by his side 24/7 because a) he liked his space. And b) he was a workaholic too. He always had an endless to-do list, and in the end, he hadn’t managed to check off half the things he hoped to.

The urgency in me, it comes from him. In fact: I’m just like him. Exactly. Stubborn, set in my ways, driven, focused, go go go all the time. I’m his kid, for sure. And one of the biggest things that drives me — and always will — is the need to please him, to make him proud. I know deep down he was proud of me. I hope I’ll continue to make him proud.

But one of the biggest lessons I took from this enormous, shattering loss, is that sometimes, you just have to stop. To pause. To take a break and do something else, and to realize that the chaos of work, work, work will be there when you come back — and that it never stopped to give your MIA-ness a second thought.

One of the things my dad always wanted to do was have a little condo that overlooked the ocean. It was his “when…” goal. More than five years ago, he started looking for just the right one. He kept searching for five years, putting it off, thinking the “when…” hadn’t arrived just yet. He almost got there, but not quite. It breaks my heart.

So I’ve decided to change my “when…” to “now,” as much as I can. I’m sure I’ll plow full speed ahead, charging forward, trying to cross all those things off my endless to-do list. But sometimes I’ll just stop and make time for the nows.


8 Responses to On Publishing, Goals, Life and Balance (Or Lack There Of)

  1. Claire Gem Sep 22 2017 at 11:27 am #

    I too still mourn the loss of my father, who was my biggest motivator to work, work, work. Lots of similarities here, between your father and mine. Probably between you and me as well. My father has been gone almost 17 years, and although the pain lessens, it never goes away. An empty space remains, like that between two teeth when one has been removed.

    My “stop and slow down” wake-up call came last October when I was diagnosed with cancer. The whole world suddenly looks very different. Very real. Very important.

    I had a “when I retire” dream too…of buying another horse, getting back into riding which I’d given up years ago. Less than a month after my last radiation treatment, I brought home my horse. I started riding again before the radiation burns healed.

    I’m so glad I did. I haven’t churned out three novels this year, like the past two years. Only one. But I know my dad would have been as supportive of my return to riding as he was of my writing.

    • Sona Sep 25 2017 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks for sharing, Claire — I’m very sorry to hear about your father and your wake-up call, but so glad it’s inspired you to grab the nows right now. I hope I’ll get to read all about them one day.

  2. Julie Sep 22 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    Sona, I loved this. Thanks for sharing about your dad and your loss, and for inspiring me to make changes, too. <3

    • Sona Sep 25 2017 at 11:43 am #

      Thanks Julie!

  3. Julianna May Sep 22 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    Beautifully written from the heart. A good reminder as I tend to live in the “when I ___, I’ll ___” too. Time is going by too fast!

    • Sona Sep 25 2017 at 11:43 am #

      Thanks Julianna! XO

  4. Lisa Sep 22 2017 at 7:06 pm #

    I lost my father in 2008 and my mother in 2011 and I hear your pain. It’s so hard, and particularly hard at birthday times (yours and your kids’ and your father’s, too!) I love how your husband reminded you of what your father would have wanted for you, that was insightful. It’s always a balancing act, family, work, writing, and it’s always a challenge. I’m glad you have such wonderful people in your life to help you through this. That’s the most important thing. Take care of yourself!

    • Sona Sep 25 2017 at 11:44 am #

      Thank you, Lisa! The birthday was rough, but there were moments of joy, too, thanks to the family surrounding me!

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