Friday, November 18, 2011

Become: Ali Cross Blog Tour

Today is my stop on Ali Cross's blog tour for her debut novel: Become. I asked Ali to write about how she manages it all, because as I watch a friend who is as busy as I know Ali is release a book, I have to wonder how one finds the time.

I could probably go on about this for a while, but instead I'll just let Ali take it away:

There's a lot I could say about how to juggle all the balls we each have in the air. But none of it would really matter, because my story isn’t your story.

All I can say is this: We all have our priorities and our own choices to make. And your priorities, your choices, will be different from mine.

Think of yourself as a juggler, keeping a bunch of balls rotating in the air. I think if you took the time to examine what your priorities are, then you might find you’ll do a better job of keeping those balls moving right along.

For me, my first priority is myself. This was a really hard one to accept. Nowhere in any self-help book or parenting book does it say to put yourself first. And yet, this is what feels right for me. My health and happiness are paramount—without those things I lose the strength to launch each ball into the air. Without the juggler, the balls won’t be launched or caught at all. Because I am the juggler, I come first.

Next, comes my relationship with God. And this doesn’t include my church activities or the service I do. This is just me; in prayer, in scripture reading--whatever shapes my relationship with God. He brings the skill, the patience, the awareness, and the knowledge to get those balls moving in an orderly fashion.

My husband and children represent most of the balls. They include being kind, loving them, serving them. The nice thing about these balls, is that once I get them going and I pay attention to them, they return the favor by imbuing me with strength and happiness each time they pass through my hands.

And finally, my writing--which is really back to me again. Because I am my writing. Writing is an essential element in my care for myself. If I’m giving priority to myself, then I’m giving priority to my writing as well.

Notice, I didn’t include errands or housework as any of my balls. Of course I have them, and they do take their turns whirling among the other colorful balls that I swing through the air. But they come and go.

It isn’t necessary for me to juggle all the balls at once. I am not always serving my husband, so I can throw up the service ball during those times. I am not always taking care of my children or writing, so I can replace those balls with housework for a while.

Really, the only balls that I try to keep going all the time are the ones that represent my love and care for myself, and the ones that represent my love and care for God.

I never have all my balls up in the air at the same time, and I think this is how I manage everything I have to do—by making my priorities, and then building my life around those things. Also, I try never to expect perfection. If a good juggler drops a ball, he doesn’t drop all of them in search of the one rolling away. He simply keeps going, knowing that when he stops he can gather up the dropped ball and include it in his next round.

The same holds true as I juggle all the things I’m responsible for. I’ll drop a ball from time to time, but that’s okay. I just keep going with the balls I have until the day is done. Tomorrow is a new day, my balls will all be assembled and ready for me to animate them, and because I’ve taken care of myself, my hands and mind will be all the more nimble, and perhaps I’ll do a better job of keeping my balls in the air.

It all comes down to the priorities you set and the choices you make. Each juggler is different, and so are we!

Now I want to give Ali a chance to plug her book, since that's kind of the point of the tour.

Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.

When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

Ali Cross is the sensei of the Writer's Dojo where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, two sumo dogs and four zen turtles.

You can find her:

On her blog.
At the Writer's Dojo.
On Facebook.
Or Twitter.

Thanks so much for letting me take part in your tour, Ali!

You're the best, and I wish you nothing but success.


A Daft Scots Lass said...

She sounds adorable! And she's got red hair!

Laura Pauling said...

Writing and living a normal life too definitely requires skill in writing. I have yet to find a writer who puts housework at the top of her priorities! :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great way to think of how to balance it all--juggling balls and making priorities. Thanks for the tips. And good luck with your debut Ali.

Bryan Russell said...

My time-management process involves a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Marta Szemik said...

I think many writers are jugglers. I always find myself working on more than one project and it depends on what's happening in my life and around me. Thanks for sharing how you juggle everything.

Wendy G. Ewurum: Blog Author said...

She's totally awesome. This is the second post of hers I've come across this week.

LTM said...

wow, interesting book premise! And you're so right about making decisions and prioritizing. That's the only way to stay sane in this business. Best to you Ali! :o)

Slamdunk said...

Thanks Ali and Matthew.

I appreciate Ali's thoughts on prioritization. Life gets complicated fast, and without understanding what is important, "just getting by" will suddenly become acceptable.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm so happy for Ali! (And I can't wait to read her book ... it's sitting on my Nook right now) I'm impressed with her ability to juggle and keep herself in the center. I'm seriously #fail at this sometimes. Yay, Ali!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like that your relationship with God is one of your priorities - amen!

Chelsey said...

*poke* you won the copy of My Very Unfairy Tale Life at my blog. Email me your address, yo! :D

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great post! Love the juggling analogy and how taking care of self and her relationship with God are priorities. Go Ali!

Pearl said...

Good advice -- and a very interesting-sounding book!


Michael G-G said...

I think Ali needs to be president of my newly formed Writers Juggling Cooperative. I'm sure she can do it with knives, swords, and nunchucks.

(The book cover is awesome too!)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

So hard to juggle it all, but Ali sounds like she's got it downpat. The trick is to get the priorities straight!

Looking forward to her book!

Donna K. Weaver said...

"once I get them going and I pay attention to them, they return the favor by imbuing me with strength and happiness each time they pass through my hands"

Ali's one of my heroes.

Christina Lee said...

I like your thinkin', Lincoln! :-)) And I just ordered her book last night!

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Really great, Ali! Interesting to see how someone so busy handles it all. This blog tour was a great idea.

Michael Offutt said...

I like how if you don't pause, the title says "become a novel of desolation".

Lydia Kang said...

Ali's comment on keeping herself happy is so important. It sounds selfish but it's not at all, especially when so much in your life is dependent on you.

Congrats on your book, Ali!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

This is one of the best explanations I have read of how to do it all. Great post - saving for my life in the future, or five minutes from now :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Juggling is most definitely a necessary life skill!

And I've got Become waiting on my Kindle - if my NaNo will ever get itself finished :)

Heaven. said...

That's a really good outlook to have.

Lisa and Laura said...

You are a fantastic juggler, my friend. So excited for Ali and her debut! Can't wait to read Become!

ali cross said...

Thank you so much for having me today Matt! I'm sorry I'm late to the party (I have a friend in from out of town) but I HAD to say THANK YOU for being so encouraging and supportive!

And thank you to all of you for your kind comments! ♥

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Ali said balls. *giggles immaturely like Jack and Karen do on Will & Grace* :)

No, seriously. Great post. And so true.

LOVE ALI! and love BECOME! :)

Just Another Day in Paradise said...

Second time I've seen a blog mentioning this book. I have to read it.


Best to you Ali.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Nice interview, Matt. The book sounds good too...

J.L. Campbell said...

It's good to read a bit more about Ali. I admire the fact that she puts herself first. I need to take a page out of her book and get some real sleep.