Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm Learning-- Vonnie Davis

Jazzie Miles Davis
Since I stepped into the writing arena late in life, my situation is much different than most of yours. I’m not trying to squeeze writing time in before I go to work at an outside job, or while the baby naps, or after the kids are finally in bed for the night. I’m retired; I can write whenever I want. My children are grown as are two of my six grandchildren. My obligations to others involve my husband and my cat.

Now here’s another difference: my husband is an author, too. Gee, what’s that like, you might ask. Actually, it’s fabulous. There’s great understanding of the time one must devote to writing and promotion. When one of us wakes up in the middle of the night, thanks to our characters or storyline, and needs to get up for a couple of hours to write, the other commiserates.

Calvin’s not writing anything right now, he’s more focused on seeing that I can write. He unloads the dishwasher and runs the vacuum. Sometimes he does the grocery shopping. And, as if he’s not perfect enough, every afternoon he makes me a cappuccino with frothy milk the way I like it. Yes, this man is a gem.

We found each other late in life. He was 70 and I was 55. We’re a match dot com success story. Our love for literature and writing brought us together—that and Cal’s sweet smile.

Do we bounce ideas off each other? To a degree. Do we read and critique each other’s work. Yes, somewhat. To be honest, we’re both so protective of the way we write, of our voice, that only half of the suggestions are taken.

We write differently, after all. Calvin writes sentences full of thunder and lightning. I write sentences full of emotion.

Calvin’s book, The Phantom Lady of Paris, was released on July 1st. My Storm’s Interlude was released on July 15th. Can you imagine double the excitement, double the promotion, double the craziness of book release time? We’re a little overwhelmed at the Davis household—and that’s putting it mildly.

 I’ve taught Calvin the lessons I’ve learned on blogging etiquette, and he’s a fast learner. Ladies, if you ever need a male prospective on your blog, he’s your man.

He’s taught me to stop overdoing. You see, I have a problem with saying, “No.” Then, suddenly I’m over-taxed with contest judging, mentoring, doing beta reads, blogging, tweeting and the whole smear. And I’ve no time left to write. My soul suffers. He says I have WWS—Wonder Woman Syndrome.

 I shake my head and smile. No, thinks I, the wonder women are the writers with outside jobs and children still at home. Those are the ladies I look up to and admire. Me, I’m the woman who simply takes on too much.

So, I’m learning. Learning to manage time wisely…and yes, learning to say, “No.” Why just last night when Calvin asked if I was going to fix any dinner, the word rolled off my tongue so trippingly, as Shakespeare would say, that all of you would have smiled with pride. Yup, I’m learning. What about you? Do you take on too much?


Sheila Tenold said...

Yes, I take on too much. And, likewise, I find my writing time diminished. I'm also retired, but does that stop me from saying yes to almost every resquest. Heck, no. I'm working more hours now than when I was paid a monthly salary.

You are truly blessed, Vonnie, with a supportive husband. The pic of you and him shines with happiness. Lucky girl!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, I am very lucky. Why do we do this, Sheila? Why do we simply hate to say no? I'm always afraid people will think badly of me, so I put myself in a time-bind to please others. When do I get to please me? Thanks for stopping by.

Emma Leigh said...

I tend also to take on too much between working full time, taking on judging contests and critiquing. My writing does suffer at times, but I'm blessed to have support from my husband and kids.

Great post, Vonnie.

Jill James said...

I have a terrible habit of thinking if I don't step up to the plate, no one will. I co-founded an RWA chapter that way! LOL

Hope you and Calvin are having a glorious summer.

Misty Dietz said...

Hi Vonnie. Love the post! Especially the precious picture of you and Calvin! I think women are born with the "consensus-building" gene. That goes hand in hand with saying yes when we should probably say more nos. I still occasionally find myself in that predicament, but not as much since my early 20s when my wise mother gave me two fantastic pieces of advice:
1. Never apologize for your feelings; and
2. Never feel bad for taking care of yourself.
I have made a lot of self-affirming choices this way. I am very glad you said yes to being my mentor, though. I'll try not to bug you too much! :)

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Emma, having the support of our spouses or significant others is truly golden. That frees us to be us. Our souls soar with that freedom.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Hi Jill! Yes, we're having a grand summer. Keeping cool. Doing what we love. Does life get any better?

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Misty, I'm looking forward to mentoring you, too. I have one more contest entry to judge for Lone Star and then I can breathe a little easier. No more contests for me for a while. ;-) I think this is the 4th one since April.

morgan said...

I am so bad about saying no that I forget I said yes. I kept wondering why I kept getting these contest entries and was assured I agreed to judge three categories. Who would do something like that? I also agreed to do the chapter audit, books reviews all while I finish and edit two different books. I think I need be muzzled to prevent me from agreeing to future tasks.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, hon, quick, change your email address. I didn't think anyone was worse than me, but I'm kinda thinkin'...well...change your email.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your own romance story! It's great. Match dot com, huh?

I'm pretty good at guarding my time. One of the secrets is just that I enjoy being alone. Invitations have to be pretty appealing to get me away from my computer.

Like you, I'm always impressed by people who work full time, manage families, and still find time to write. Impressive!

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Great post, Vonnie and a lovely picture of you and Calvin.

I definitely do too much juggling work, family and writing. It's hard to say no. I think we're always trying to meet others' expectations and forget to put ourselves first. I guess even when the kids are grown and the job is gone, it still happens.

But you're right. We do need to learn how to say no, nicely but firmly. ( :

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Anonymous--love the name (wink, wink)--yes, match dot com, but believe me, I met a lot of toads before I met my prince. Oh,, the horrors!!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Gabriella, oh you have the name Calvin loves. He says it's so lyrical and drips with feminity. Yes, we do need to learn to say no in a nice, yet firm manner.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Enjoyed your post, Vonnie. It's nice to learn a wee bit about you.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Vonnie, great blog. I share your admiration for the young writers who raise families and work out of their home. Like you I can never say no and end up always with too much on my plate altough I am retired too. Enjoy your time with Calvin. You are both an inspiration.

Josie said...

What a lovely story. You and your husband seem a perfect match.

You're right about not overbooking yourself. I think all women suffer from saying "yes" way too much. As your sign says, "Just say no".