Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I am overwhelmingly grateful for my book deal. It definitely ranks up there among the Best Things that Have Ever Happened to Me, along with being born to awesome parents and meeting Hot Stuff. So, I thought I'd give you a glimpse into just how much my life has changed since I got my deal. I'll use last Thursday as an example, even though I don't get Big German Book Deals every day. (Personally, I think all mornings should start with a phone call about German book deal offers, but that's just me.)

1:00 AM--Collapse, exhausted, into bed after scratching out another 1200 words. Fall immediately asleep, only to be awoken at
1:30 AM--and accompany bawling Dojo to his room, because heaven forbid he wake up in the middle of the night to find me IN MY OWN BED. The horrors. The horrors. I am the worst mom ever for not sitting awake all night in his room.
3:30 AM--Wake up aching, sweaty, and cramped from falling asleep in the rocking chair while waiting for Dojo to fall asleep.
3:30 AM--Collapse, yet again, into bed.
6:30 AM--Weep tears of exhaustion as my kids come and demand I wake up. Except not really, because tears are futile in the face of their FEED ME NOW demands.
7:00 AM--Pretend to sleep on the couch and spin sweet dreams of a well-rested fantasy life. Finally get up and sneak into the kitchen to write a blog post before Dojo screams at me to come and watch Up with him for the five thousandth time.
8:00 AM--Answer the phone as I wrestle with Nayna to get her hair brushed. Find out about an incredible foreign rights deal. Laugh.
8:15 AM--Laugh some more as I pack daughter's lunch.
8:45 AM--Laugh some more.
9:10 AM--Panic as I realize that all of the laughing and dancing leaves me with ten minutes to dress myself and both kids before Nayna needs to be at school.
9:28 AM--Pull into school parking lot just in time, parking my tiny, ten-year-old Kia amidst the Lexuses, Buicks, and BMWs. Consider possible ways to work in my German book deal to conversations, but have only talked to the women next to me twice. No appropriate segue besides, "Hey, little Jonathon looks adorable today bythewayIamgoingtobepublishedinGermany. Do you know anything about the assembly tomorrow?" Decide I ought to have a shirt made, instead.
9:45 AM--Grocery store run for the two items that we inevitably run out of during the week.
10:00 AM--Home with Dojo, starting three hours of pretending like I might be able to write something, but actually just being dragged around by my All-Powerful and Rather Short Overlord. 34 lbs of pure whiny bossiness, that one.
11:00 AM--Finally get a hold of Hot Stuff to tell him about the deal. He's at work and all that ends up getting through is "Deal" and "Germany." He is forced to hang up, unsure whether I was talking about foreign rights or WW2 treaties.
12:00 PM--Realize I never got a chance to shower.
1:00 PM--Pick up Nayna from school.
1:30 PM to 6:00 PM--Count down until Hot Stuff comes home. Actually manage to communicate what happened to him. "Wow. Really, that's amazing. Wow." My thoughts exactly.
6:00 PM--Rush kids into car to go and pick Hot Stuff up from train station. Wish we had more than one car.
6:40 PM--Get home, throw something frozen together for dinner, listen to the kids whine about how they don't like it. At least Dojo didn't throw up again.
7:30 PM--Sit in the rocking chair until Dojo falls asleep.
8:30 PM--Stumble out of Dojo's room, having fallen asleep waiting. Again.
8:30 PM to 11:45 PM--Try to scratch out another chapter. Fail. Miserably.
12:00 AM--Collapse into bed, knowing it'll all start again the next day. But at least I have Germany...

So. Yeah. Did you notice that nowhere did the words flow magically from my fingertips? Turns out even when you have a book deal, writing is still hard, and finding time to write is even harder. And your kids still misbehave, even if you have a book deal (I know! What are they thinking??), and you still have to run errands, and you still have to clean (wait a second, you're thinking, there was nothing about cleaning, to which I respond, shut up, I don't want to talk about it), and you still make crappy dinners that no one, including yourself, wants to eat.

In short, while I think about my book deal constantly and always get warm fuzzies at the thought of my book being a BOOK in the not-too-distant future, life hasn't actually changed that much. It's like my wise friend Natalie said: Don't wait for something out of your control to happen in order to be happy. Start being happy now. Because those things that change your life forever? Well, your life is still your life afterward. It's just your life plus a husband, or a baby, or a book deal, or a chinchilla. (If, however, all you are waiting for to make your life complete is a chinchilla, by all means go buy one today!)

Life in all its monotonies is an awesome thing, and I'm grateful every single day for mine--but next book deal I'm totally holding out for a clause that states I never have to clean again. Now THAT would be life-changing.


Larissa said...

I think I'm living your life. Except, without the book deal or German book deal. And, I have an extra kid (you want one?).

My first book deal will be used to pay things off, but my second book deal is all going to a maid service. HAHAHAHAHA!

Marsha Sigman said...

Hysterically funny! I love Hot Stuff not understanding if you were talking about a book deal or WW2 treaties.lol

And of course, trying to work the news into polite small talk. I hope I have that problem some day.

fairyhedgehog said...

Brilliant post, Kiersten.

Will your book deal pay you enough to get someone in to do the cleaning? Maybe even once a month - just so you don't have to do it yourself as well as everything else. That's a punishing schedule you've got there.

Kaela said...

Excellent advice, I think I said almost the same thing on an upcoming post.

I'll keep this in mind when I get my major book deal :) It's nice to fantasize that everything will somehow be magically easier after you get the news you're being published. My situation's a little different because I don't have kids, I can't imagine balancing all that!

You are SUPAwoman!

Patti said...

Great play by play. I've often said that a lot can happen in a year and it does, but rarely does it change your day to day life.

Congrats on Germany.

Patti said...

Great play by play. The only thing that changes when they get older is you have to drive them everywhere at night.

I've often said that a lot can happen in a year, but rarely does your day to day life change.

Congratulations on Germany.

lotusgirl said...

What? No cleaning lady? That's the whole reason I'm writing. I was planning on paying for a housekeeper out of what I made. One that cooks. This will just not do. I'm going to have to talk to the book writing gods on this one.

You must be totally sleep deprived. Thank goodness that evens out once the kids get a little older.

sraasch said...

But now you can hire a GERMAN cleaning lady, because once Germany reads your book, you'll be a mega hit and cleaning ladies from all over the country will BEG to clean your house. It happens.

RKCharron said...

Hi Kiersten :)
I loved this post. The list was fun to read. So normal! :)
Congratulations on the Germany rights selling.
All the best,

DebraLSchubert said...

That used to be my life, with a little full-time job thrown in for posterity. Now my kids are bigger than me and I have "a life" again. By "a life" I mean, I do what I want when I want (for the most part). Pretty freaking awesome, actually.

Congrats, again, on the German book sale! Along with your agent & Hot Stuff, your kids are very lucky to have you. (Oh, yeah, and laptop. How's he doing, btw? Will you give him a kiss for me? No tongue, just a little peck on the keyboard will do. *smile*)

Renee Collins said...

Ah, the joys. Our days sound so similar! . . . Except that whole part about book deals in Germany. Yeah. Except that. ;)

Great post, though. Wise words.

Marybeth Poppins said...

I can't help it thought...I'm still kinda looking forward to my life not changing one single bit with a book deal ;)

Kristan said...

LOL. If you'd like, I'd be happy to take the book deal off your hands for a year or two. Give you more time to clean, you know?

Mariah Irvin said...

Take out the kids and the Germany and add the late night papers... sounds like my schedule.

Only there is no car at all.

Huzzah for the warm fuzzies!

Tara McClendon said...

How do you function? If I tried to keep that schedule, nobody would be happy--and I'd be a cranky zoombie. I'm sending you a virtual pat on the back.

Kiersten White said...

Thank you for (perhaps inaccurately) assuming that I am NOT a cranky zombie.

And, as kind as all of you are to offer, I really, REALLY like the book deals aspects of my life. Those ones = AWESOME.

But really, this was a good day because of one factor: the absence of vomit.

Kiersten White said...

(Also, the German rights selling probably would have counteracted any vomitage, so really, it was like an UBERgood day.)

Grimmster24 said...

Maybe a chinchilla IS what I'm missing...hmm.

I heartily enjoy humorous, hour-by-hour timeline writing, by the way. Tried it once for my own experience, and I laughed my butt off!

Lily Robinson said...

Congrats on the German deal! Happy dance.

You need to take lessons from Mr J... He can squeeze John Deere tractor, three horses, goats, 17 acres and fishing into ANY conversation! He'd have no trouble with German book deal...

JenE said...

Yeah, I just LOVE it when one of the kids pukes during mealtime. Makes me feel even better about my lack of culinary skills.

And I noticed you wrote that at noon you realized you didn't get a shower. You didn't mention actually fixing that problem. I certainly hope that you did. :)

Kiersten White said...

No comment.

But I have showered today. Before 9, even!

Dawn Simon said...

What a great post! Congrats on the German book deal--so exciting! I'd congratulate you in German if I hadn't taken Spanish in high school and college, making it so I actually COULD congratulate you in German. Heck, I can't even congratulate you in Spanish. Um...feliz cumpleanos. Close enough, right? It's the thought that counts. ;)

CKHB said...

I used to own a chinchilla. Her name was Kenga.

And I also used to fall asleep in my daughter's room waiting for her to fall asleep! Then I got my iPod. I highly recommend this device -- when used surreptitiously (hiding the lit screen and cueing up audiobooks and podcasts ahead of time so that you can press play and stop by touch alone without seeing the menus) it is a most enjoyable and effective bedtime tool.

Okay, I'm off to go try to be a little happier...

Angie said...

Love the post! Sounds a lot like my days, only I have no book deal. And I have six kids. But hopefully the book deal will happen sometime!

Candice said...

I love the part about your very small, demanding overlord. Isn't that the truth! I guess book deals aren't all sparkles and fairy dust. But like everything we work hard for I imagine it brings a great sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

JaneyV said...

This is a brilliant post Kiersten. I am amazed that you have the good humour and time to write a post like this. Every mother among your readers recognizes themselves in this (including the forgetting to shower - or in my case prioritizing twenty minutes more sleep). Best of luck with the German rights. German bookcovers are generally ├╝berbrilliant. Amazing artwork!

I'm rooting for you getting a cleaner when the royalties flow in but promise me you'll never buy a big, horrible, showy, gas-guzzly car. I love that you have a Ka.

Mireyah Wolfe said...

Hey now...UP was an awesome mov--SQUIRREL?! .....ie.

Lora said...

I loved this post!

So tell me, in your harried days of rushing here and there under the direction of your tiny tyrant, don't you just fantasize about traveling to Germany and seeing your book in a quaint little shop window (or, like, a big ol' Borders in Germany?)?????


Kiersten White said...

Mireyah, I agree : )

And Lora, heck yes.

I love that you are all voting for me to hire a cleaner...

ElanaJ said...

Congrats on the book deal! And yes, just because you have one doesn't mean your life is without laundry and dinner and errands and stuff. Don't I know it.

Lora said...

you sooo deserve a cleaner. every woman with kids does!

I'm a newlywed and clean freak so I don't mind cleaning my sink every single day. When there are diapers and sleep deprivation involved I feel mightily sure that there will be clorox wipes or nothing at all, cleanliness wise!

And Dojo will remember all the time you spent playing with him and reading to him, NOT how immaculate your floors were.

Allison said...

Awesome post!

(I would gladly watch Up 5000 times.)

Carrie Harris said...

Chinchillas freak me out. And now that you mention it, I've realized that I don't have that clause either. I stopped cleaning right after I got my book deal, and the minions never showed up.

Guess it's time for me to go clean my shower now.

Megs said...

What a wise and insanely comforting post. I should bookmark it. Thanks! :) (You know you are amazing, right? 'Cause you are.)

Daisy Whitney said...

Your play by play reminds me of doing my revisions (which were due in 10 freaking days) while attending and speaking at a conference across the country and taking care of flu-ridden kids home sick from school. It was like this:
5 am NYC: Wake up, shower (and make too, darling, bc I'm over 30 and we can't leave house without make!), go to coffee shop until 8 am when conference starts.
8 am -5: Talk to media people, ad people, talk about media and ads, blah, blah, network, and slip into panel sessions, sit in back row and sneak write for 10 minutes every hour!
And so on and on and on...Sometimes I even wrote in cabs...

You gotta do what you gotta do because life keeps coming at you.

tracythewriter said...

Know I'm late to the party, but congrats, and thanks for this post. Was having a bad day, and you totally put it into perspective. Much appreciated. :-)