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Danielle Haas

Mother of two, Writer of romance novels, Lover of wine

Month

July 2016

Lay Off The Pressure

One of the issues I’ve had with starting my writing, is feeling like a phony. I started the whole thing as a hobby, and once it took off I wasn’t sure where to go with it. Honestly, I didn’t even tell anyone but my closest family and friends that I was even writing a book. I don’t know if I felt like it would add more pressure, or if I felt like I had no business pretending to be a writer. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I felt like I needed to reach some sort of milestone before I felt comfortable telling people about my writing. First it was reaching fifty pages, then it was 100 pages, and then it was being more than half way done. In my mind, reaching these milestones would make me that much more of a “writer”.

Once I finally starting telling people what I’d been up to, I was so surprised by their reactions. Everyone was so supportive and wanted to know more about what I was writing. Instead of putting pressure on me to write more, or write better, it made me more excited to share what I was creating. It made me realize that these milestones I was aiming for didn’t make me more of a writer. I was a writer because I was sitting down at my computer and writing down the words that popped into my head. They don’t have to be good, and there doesn’t have to be a certain amount of them, they just had to be there.

I’ve come to realize it’s the same with my kids. I still feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing half the time. With Tootsie, my four-year-old daughter, I felt such an insane amount of pressure to make sure she hit every milestone, not just on time, but early. She needed to be walking, talking, reciting her alphabet earlier than all the books and articles said. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and that was my job. I needed to excel at my job, which meant Toots needed to excel as well. And she did. She was, and still is, one of the smartest little girls I’ve ever met. But who the hell really cares? I don’t mean who cares that she’s smart. She would be just as smart if I hadn’t been the crazy mom setting up tot school for her when she was 18 months, but who cares how early those things happened? I know who, no one!

So why all the pressure? Why do we drive ourselves crazy by setting such high expectations for ourselves? I’m convinced that no one really knows what they’re doing. Most of us are just making it up as we go along. But the best part of that is, making stuff up as I go along just might end up giving me one hell of a career.

 

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Teaching an old dog new tricks

Ok, so I might not be considered an old dog, even if some days I feel like it. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’m a stay at home mom to my two beautiful children. I love staying home and teaching my children to do, well, everything, but recently I felt like I needed to something more. I felt like I was losing myself to the role of wife and mother, and even though it is a role I love with my whole heart, it’s not everything that I am. I decided I needed a creative outlet, something where I could use my brain for more than repeating the alphabet and getting lost in another riveting story about some Disney Princess. I decided to pick up a pen, and see if I could do something with it. I absolutely love to read! There is little in this world I enjoy more than becoming completely lost in another world, and staying there until I have read the very last page. Writing is something I used to do for fun, and for a brief time studied in college, but I hadn’t done anything with it in too may years to count. I’ve often wondered if I could create the type of world I long to escape to, and if there would be any way others would want to escape there with me. So, like I said, I decided to pick up a pen and  see what happened. And what happened is I found a passion buried deep inside me that I never knew existed. I never dreamed I could write an 83,000 word novel, or that I would have another one finished mere months after I completed the first one. I never imagined I could create an entire world that would become my second home, or create a family that would become my friends. I still don’t know if this world I have dreamed up is a place others will be able to lose themselves in the way I hope. I do know that I won’t stop writing, at least not now. Now, at this time in my life when I have small children constantly demanding my attention, writing has come to my rescue and has brought me back the piece of myself that I was missing. It has shown me that there is more to me than mommy and wife, it has given me confidence to be a better mommy and wife, and it has driven me to succeed in a way I never even imagined. So, maybe I might not be that old of a dog yet, but these new tricks I’m teaching myself will hopefully stay with me for a long time to come.

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