At last, I’ve come up for air.  Oh, how sweet it tastes!  I’ve felt my lungs burning—bursting with the spent carbon dioxide of a summer of toil—and here, finally, is my grand exhale.  And as I float here on the other side of my recent travails, I know this long, hypoxic journey was worth it.  It didn’t go exactly as I’d planned, but sometimes we just have to hold our breath and trust we’ll make it through.

In competitive swimming, it is often faster to move beneath the water than on its surface.  To this end, off each wall, a swimmer can kick underwater for fifteen continuous yards without being disqualified.  In a twenty-five yard pool, that means a swimmer with enough breath control needs only swim ten yards of each length.  The swimmer that can do this in a race is always at a distinct advantage, and expends a lot less energy than those thrashing at the surface the entire way.  Just ask Michael Phelps to show you his medal collection.  Then ask him how much of a race he spends swimming on the surface. . .

Of course, I wasn’t in a race this summer.  Not really.  Still, I realized early on the best way to the place I’m at right now was through.  So, if you’re wondering what all this is about—

I’ve just completed a twelfth season as Aquatics Director of a summer day camp.  I love it and always have (always will) but I’ve never loved the thirteen-hour days that come alongside.  It’s taxing, mentally and physically.  I’m out of the house from 7am until 10pm everyday.  All the little things that I do around our home fall to my husband to take care of (which he does graciously).  The cats begin to look at me as though I’m a stranger, and the weeds in the garden rejoice at my absence as they overrun everything.  Then, the few precious hours I have remaining in a day must be devoted to preparing meals for the next day, and sleeping.

That doesn’t leave time for anything else.  Definitely not writing, right?

That was especially difficult.  At the beginning of camp season, this blog was starting to take off.  My novel came back from the editor and there was so much to do to prepare it for publication this fall.  I thought I’ll be able to fit writing in.  Look, I’m invincible.  I can do it!

The goal was to blog once a week, rather than the usual twice.  Oh, and Twitter!  Let’s not forget about platform building!  Yeah, right.  Maybe if there were twenty-eight hours in a day!

My lovely author friend Marcus Lopés knows something about this, and wrote a nice piece about how trying to do it all can kill.

It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed to prioritize.  The book came first.  During breaks at work, and in the few minutes before bed, I combed through my editor’s revisions.  I chewed up and reimagined the remaining awkward sentences.  I seasoned turns of phrase with last minute commas and picked out a host of others.  On the bus in the early morning and late at night, I read and reread.  Then in the last weeks of my summer season I formatted and reformatted, agonizing over fonts and styles.

It came together.  I ordered a cover.


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Revenge is better with a side of bacon. . . 

Meanwhile, Suzy finally figured out the Elementary Backstroke, and I explained to Jimmy’s mom that he can’t move to Level 5 until he can dolphin kick without letting his ankles separate.  I ordered groceries online and made a pot of pasta at midnight to last the week.

I wanted desperately to breathe—to come up for air on one of my long, luxurious mornings of coffee and cats and gardens and blogs.  But a break in the rhythm wasn’t in the cards.  I could’ve taken a sick day on a Wednesday—tasted the freedom of the autumn that stretches out in front of me—but that would’ve just become a lot of thrashing at the surface; it would’ve been so much harder to submerge again.

So I held me breath, and as I neared the end it felt—


Now I’ve broken the surface, and all the air in the world is mine.  The book is essentially done.  The summer camp is behind me.  I can exist again at my own leisure.

So hello again.  The water is fine.

I’m thrilled beyond belief that I’ll be able to share my novel with you soon.  Once the cover is completed, I’ll have a release date for sometime next month.  Stay tuned for news as early as later this week.

But in the meantime, tell me your thoughts!  How have you been?  Do you have a busy time of year that causes everything else to be put on hold?  How do you manage what you need to do and what you want to do?  Oh, and just for fun, how long can you hold your breath?

Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks as always for reading.  More soon!


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Aimer Boyz - August 14, 2017

I can’t even really swim, not properly 🙂 Glad you made it through the summer 🙂

    Gregory Josephs - August 14, 2017

    Thank you! The key is to keep your ankles together during the dolphin kick. Seriously all you need to know 😜

updownflight - August 14, 2017

Glad to see you back, Gregory. I’ve been around, but needed a few days off from writing. I spent time with my hubby watching the birds.

    Gregory Josephs - August 14, 2017

    That sounds fantastic! I’m glad you found a little time to breathe as well.

Sara - August 14, 2017

I’m entering that time right now and am looking forward to that big breath in. Like a breath after a flip turn. Love the post💜

    Gregory Josephs - August 14, 2017

    Aw, thanks Sara! You’re going to do awesome!

A.S. Akkalon - August 15, 2017

Well done on surviving all that and still getting your book to near-publication stage! It does all sound very satisfying, if terribly tiring.

To answer your other question, I can hold my breath for… about 10 seconds. 😉 Yes, if you ever want to kill me, drowning me is the way to go.

    Gregory Josephs - August 15, 2017

    Thanks Alecia. It was definitely tiring, and despite my newfound freedom, I may let the weeds run rampant for another week while I fully recover.

    I wouldn’t dream of drowning you! I’m not exactly the murderous type. If something changes though. . . thanks for the tip? 😉

    I can’t stand to be hot, so if you ever want to kill me instead, just put me on a plane to somewhere tropical. That should do the trick.

      A.S. Akkalon - August 15, 2017

      The weeds will wait patiently, I’m sure.

      Death by tropics? I can believe that. noted for future reference (you know, like, just in case).

mcpersonalspace54 - August 15, 2017

Glad you are back to posting. I am a teacher with the summer’s off, and I found it difficult this summer finding the time to write on my blog. Your summer schedule sounded grueling. Glad it is behind you. Good luck with your book!

    Gregory Josephs - August 15, 2017

    Thanks! I noticed a lot of blogs drop off a bit these last couple months, so you and I are not alone. There are so many reasons, but I think the prevailing one is that there is so much to do in the summer. Winter is prime blogging season, right? Harsh weather lends itself to being industrious. Glad to hear from you.

Marcus Lopes - August 15, 2017

Glad to see you’ve broken the surface and that all the air is yours again. You made it through, prioritizing along the way, and that’s what counts. Good on you!

With my day job as well, July and August are busy months. As you are resurfacing, I am purposely going under. I have my manuscript back from my editor and need to focus on this next stage of revisions.

Several years ago when I learned to kayak and was running the rapids, I flipped over and was caught under water. I discovered I could hold my breath for about 40 seconds (the time it took for help to arrive).

Can’t wait to read your book!

    Gregory Josephs - August 15, 2017

    Hey, 40 seconds is nothing to sneer at, especially in a terrifying situation like that. At my day job we host kayak rolling sessions in the spring, and it is the most nerve-wracking thing to watch (especially when they can’t roll over again).

    That’s great news about the manuscript! Good luck, and enjoy being submerged.

Ryan - August 26, 2017

Greg: I, too, hate the heat- so this , sort of, weather transition certainlyhits the spot. Summer full of camp, editing and squeezing in having a life requires a large degree of streamlining. You’ve made it happen. Pretty or not so pretty — you are now in the home stretch. Can’t wait to order a copy, brew some Italian roast, and enjoy taking a full breath of air….. And gettin’ a little sugar in my bowl ain’t a bad idea either. Deep breaths and listen to the clouds!

    Gregory Josephs - August 27, 2017

    Thanks Ryan! Yeah, it feels great to be on the other side of it now. A week and a half and the book will be out. . . then I’ll really exhale! Thanks for stopping by the site.

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