Jamie Raintree is an author and a writing business teacher. She is also a mother of two girls, a wife, a businesswoman, a nature-lover, and a wannabe yogi. Her debut novel, PERFECTLY UNDONE, will be released on October 3, 2017 by Graydon House. Subscribe to her newsletter for more writing tips, workshops, and book news. To find out more, visit her website.
I first started writing seriously in 2010, completely oblivious to the fact that a little over a year later, my life would be turned upside down. I was just beginning to feel like I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life--I had completed my first (truly messy) novel, connected with a local writers group, started a blog, and began to build a social media presence. And then I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter.
Thankfully, I was naive about what having a baby would look like or I might have stopped writing then. (In fact, my naivety has served me well in many cases during my writing a publishing journey, and in the pursuit of my goals in general--highly recommended.) Because I didn't know any better, I continued writing throughout my pregnancy and picked it back up again shortly after delivery, thinking I could simply hold the baby in one arm and type with the other. I'm sure my mom still has good laughs about this expectation.
In 2012, there were two new developments in my life: the beginning of what would become my debut novel, and my pregnancy with my second daughter. I was a little less naive by this point. In fact, the stress of balancing motherhood and my passion was really weighing on me. It felt like no matter what I did, I was always failing one or the other--my kids or my commitment to my dream.
In the eight years that have passed since my oldest was just a sparkle in my eye, the struggle has only gotten harder. The further I get into my writing career, the bigger the expectations of me grow. I'm also a passionate parent, and find great fulfillment in nurturing and guiding my daughters. Actually, I'm multi-passionate, so there's weaving in my other pursuits too. In a world where there's an endless supply of to-dos to add to our plates, it can be hard to stay dedicated to what's important.
For me, though, giving something up never felt like a choice. Maybe it's crazy--a lot of times it felt like it--but I simply never considered the option of giving up my dream. Not seriously. No matter how much my kids needed from me (and when I had two kids under two, trust me, they needed a lot), I also realized that I had needs too. It became clear to me very early on in motherhood that in order to the be the best person for not only my daughters, but also myself, I needed to continue to do the things that fulfilled me. And that has always been writing.
One thing my dad has said to me my entire life is, "Don't ask 'if,' ask 'how,'" and whether I realized it or not, that piece of wisdom has guided me in many endeavors in my life. When I had my girls, I knew it would make more sense to put my writing career on the back burner until they started school, when I would have more time. But because I knew I deserved to put myself first sometimes, I asked myself how I could do it instead. And over the years, my girls have become as invested in my writing as me. In fact, my oldest is so proud that she tells everyone she wants to be a writer when she grows up so she can help me write my books. (She melts my heart, I tell you.)
Now, as I take my youngest daughter to her first day of kindergarten, I'm also preparing to launch my debut novel, Perfectly Undone, something I have fantasized about for almost a decade. There have been so many times when I have brainstormed while changing diapers, and snuck in sentences while making dinner. There were times I cried myself to sleep, thinking this dream would never come true. And then times when I sat paralyzed at my computer, wondering what I would do if it actually did. Nothing about chasing a dream while raising young children is easy, but I can say without a doubt that it has been worth it.
"Yes" is such a little word...
Dr. Dylan Michels has worked hard for a perfect life, so when her long-time boyfriend Cooper gets down on one knee, it should be the most perfect moment of all. Then why does she say no?
For too many years, Dylan’s been living for her sister, who never got the chance to grow up. But her attempts to be the perfect daughter, perfect partner, and perfect doctor haven’t been enough to silence the haunting guilt Dylan feels over her sister’s death—and the role no one knows she played in it.
Now Dylan must face her past if she and Cooper stand a chance at a future together. But when Cooper makes a startling confession of his own, can Dylan find the courage to define her own happiness, before her life becomes perfectly undone?
Set among the breezy days of a sultry Portland summer, Perfectly Undone is a deeply moving novel of family secrets, forgiveness and finding yourself in the most surprising of places.
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I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.