All Things Come in Time

And…we’re back in front of the computer at work.

Saturday was actually a surprisingly good day. It was good for Bryon to see his mom and dad. Neal’s attitude was stellar. He’s in no pain, he was talkative, and he feels the docs did all they could. Phyllis is a little less balanced. She’s concerned about her ability to take care of him. We encouraged them to check out their local hospice possibilities. Bryon has decided that this really hasn’t changed much. We know that his dad is dying, but we don’t know exactly when that is going to happen. At Neal’s age, we wouldn’t know that anyway. We’ll ramp up the visits, but we’re not going to miss out emotionally on the time we have left. Our minister believes a lot of people set themselves up for pre-emptive grief, and try to shoot past those feelings by already imagining loss. We’ll be okay with living in the now, no matter how sad that makes us.


Tonight it’s my plan to get some writing done. I have been focusing more on studies rather than production, given my travel and emotional action. And I still have some trip prep to do as well. Only 10 days until Wiscon, and after that, the time between Wiscon and Finland/Norway will disappear in a blink.


Usually this is the time of year I think about what I’ve accomplished in my writer life, given the proximity of Wiscon.

This has been the year where I lost my almost agent opportunity, but I gained more promising rejections (and some acceptances!) in the realm of the short story. This has also been the year that I have begun to really control my writer education, and become a more active writer in terms of planning and editing. This is the year I write a certain amount of time each week, rather than focusing on words on the page.

These are great steps forward. What I had hoped for going into this year was an agent and a book deal. What I got was an affirmation of the organic process of writing, and a belief in my own continuity of goals. I am seeing improvement, I am in the community more, and I am getting there, slow but steady.

I believe more than ever that writing, as with anything, is a natural extension of where you are. I saw Sarah Prineas doing her first guest gig at Demicon, and we were talking about some issues some writing friends were facing down, and I suggested that it was true, that what you did was really trade up your problems. Maybe, I said, I should stay cuspy. Maybe this was the easiest time of my writing life. We laughed about that, but I think there’s something to this.

I really don’t know what kind of a writing career I will have. I write books and they will get better. I’ll hit writing career benchmarks when it’s time. I am content. I will try to hold onto this whenever I am thinking that things aren’t going as they should. There is no perfect life. There is only working with what you’re given, and finding new ways to work with that and to keep trying and learning.

Meanwhile, I go to Finland and Norway because I’m a writer doing research. I meet up with my friends at conventions because I’m a writer who knows other writers. I send things to my friends who critique them because I am a writer who is growing. I teach. I have good friends. I live. Writing and its ups and downs do not control my life. It’s part of me, but it’s not all of me.

I keep plugging away, and I keep living my life. I won’t be waiting for the day I’m (agented/published/in a box store/adored by millions). I’ll keep looking at what I have and seeing the good in it, and making more things happen. I won’t whittle away my life to the future when things are exactly what I want them to be. I wasted enough of my life doing that, and I’m done with that.

Wishing you productive word counts and ego security.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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