A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Office . . .


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You may remember that I work from home. My office is a shared space in my daughter’s room where I have my desk set up.  When she’s home from college, the kitchen table becomes my desk. It’s not ideal by any means but you do what you gotta do!

The countdown has begun for the big move when the semester ends. My mental list is like the stack of continuous feed paper from a track fed dot matrix printer. Anyone remember those? They had the perforated feed strips on either side and connected end to end. You tore the strips off the sides and separated your papers. (Yes, I’m showing my age!)

Track feed paper

Track feed paper

We have definite dates approaching for Prom, baccalaureate, graduation, finals week, and graduation party. One dilemma was solved when we found out that the older daughter will be home for her younger sister’s high school graduation. This was a major relief as I was calculating in my head how I was going to drive the 2 hours to pick her up for the graduation and then get her back down there so she didn’t miss her finals.

 

{[X(C8H10N4O2)]/6Z}4 /[G(m1m2/r2)]∑

The amount of caffeine necessary divided by the hours of sleep I would have to miss to the 4th power, the sum divided by the gravitational pull and tidal state and the sigma of the effects of the moon phase. Or something like that. Ever notice how most of what we worry about and try to figure out in our heads is rarely a real issue?  

Yes, I obsess over little details like that.

I’m a mom – it’s what I do.

Anyway, after checking the calendar (DUH!) my worries were for naught as the timetable works out. I have the party to plan, car maintenance to schedule, home repairs to be completed before the big party date!

planner

I would be lost without my planner. Back in the day, I was never without my Dayrunner. Things are a little less hectic now but the planner is still an essential tool for me. Mine is a compact size that goes everywhere with me. Oh, I have apps on my phone but it’s not the same as my planner.

I get the dates marked on the planner with appropriate color coded highlighter and realize I need to schedule time between now and then to work on some things like party planning and home repairs. (It’s not any major repairs, mostly fresh paint and replace the flooring in our kitchen before we have guests over. Frankly, I’d be embarrassed to have guests over right now with broken tiles on the floor.)

As I look at the planner, I start getting that anxious feeling. The one that says “ you don’t have any time to write”. A few months ago I would have gone into a tailspin, had a cry-fest, wallowed in my excuses of why I couldn’t write – but not today. Today my voice of reason says “schedule time”. I’ll skip the rest of the self talk that went from whining, to the drill Sergeant barking, to the pouting, then finally the calm counselor asking why I never allow my own dreams to have any priority? (Thanks to Aedan, that voice has gotten louder.) The obvious solution then was to schedule the time right? I have my planer out, I’m already blocking off time to get things done why not allow myself a chance?

I’ve been quietly (mostly quietly, I have piped up a few times when I had a really good day here and there.) plugging away on a contemporary romance. My minimal daily word count is only 500. I changed that from a much higher count to cut myself some slack and not beat myself up for failing to meet the higher count. Too many times in the past I spent more time beating myself up for failing to meet my goal for the day and not enough time actually writing. Of course after berating myself I was in no mental state to write. Visious cycle – that!  I figure that if I schedule an hour, even if I stare at a blinking cursor part of that time I can still manage 500 words. At least it’s something.

Each day I made a note on the scene I would be working on based on my outline. Bear in mind, I’ve already deviated from my original outline but based on the planned storyline, I only have fifteen (15!) more days of writing until I type “The End”.

That’s roughly 7500 to 10,000 words. Can I let you in on a secret?

Lean in close!

I already have the bulk of six chapters written I just need to tweak them a bit based on my earlier deviations So I could be typing “The End” even sooner.

On my time line, the fifteen days coincide with the day my eldest will return from college and I have to make the big move to the kitchen table. I’m going to go get a refill on my coffee to let that sink in for a bit.

The reality hit me square in the face . . .

I could be done with this book in 3 weeks! I can be finished with Red Wine & Roses before I have to relocate to the kitchen table as my desk! Do you realize how BIG that is?

While I’m feeling the stress of a hectic schedule with the multiple responsibilities of mother, wife, employee, writer, homemaker I just got a HUGE jolt of excitement that is both intoxicating and exhilarating.

It’s a similar feeling to running the last leg of the mile run.  Rounding the third corner of lap four, on the backside of the track, lungs burning, legs feeling like lead,  and  the runners begin to pass as my energy wanes.

Not this time!

I can almost hear my Chatty Chicks Morning Sprinters encouraging me.

“You can do it!  You’re almost there! Don’t give up now! You got this!”

It’s just the boost I need for that last jolt of adrenaline to kick in and quicken my pace to the finish line.  Finishing has been the hardest part for me. The momentum is there if I can keep up the pace.

Isn’t it odd how  when you focus on something else and stop stressing over a thing,  that is when you often get answers and solutions to the thing you were stressing over? Have you ever gotten weary and felt like you would neer cross the  finish line?  Have you quit running and are walking the back stretch?

It’s funny how things work out. Sometimes we just need to step back and let them work themselves out.

 

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Treasures


geode-2Sometimes good things come  when you aren’t even looking for them.  I’ve  ranted here before about the  vampires and about the  time wasters.    A couple of good friends have recently been reminding me  to stop giving my time to free loaders and  vampires.  They are right.

My wonderful coach has been  trying to  get the point across that my time is just as valuable as anyone else’s.   We know this, yet we devalue ourselves.   It’s so easy to slip into the same patterns. I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to people.   Some play on my compassion, others want my skills for no pay.  Friends come wanting favors,  coworkers want information, family want attention.  Pretty soon you are stretched into  thirty directions wondering why you can’t seem to focus or get anything accomplished  on your own dreams.  Gee – I wonder why.

So, I’ve gotten myself into a jam ( imagine that!) with  certain habits of  giving my time to  above mentioned ‘negative’ individuals.  It’s been a real painful  exercise in extracting myself from those  situations.   I’ve really cut down my social media time as I would find myself spending way too much time with my Facebook friends than is healthy.

I’ve been  changing  habits and relearning how to write.  that may sound funny, but I’ve over edited myself.  I’ve  been told by numerous people that  I’ve  over edited myself, or censored what I let out.  to some degree that is a good thing except when you have  cut out over half the story.

This new method of writing has greatly reduced my daily word count.  Where I was getting 2000 to 2500 words before,   now I reach about 300 to 350 before the editor kicks in.   Now the difference is, I have 300 quality words, not 2000  sugar-coated cleaned up and polished sugar fluff that  my inner voices are shushed.

Remember me mentioning those dark recesses?  The dark passages beyond the deep pools?   Well inner editor,  uber Nazi Fräulein doesn’t want any of those to get out.  She’d burn my entire stack of manuscripts if I let her.   I can manage to sneak about 300 words or so past her before she  pays attention.

Lately though, I’ve  had a true treasure  fall into my  lap so to speak.   You know those people who you are supposed to hang out with?  The ones  that  encourage you?  The ones that add value to your life?   I asked  a while back where those people were in my life and I had to make  changes.    As it happens, I felt down   and decided  that I would  go visit the groups I was in on Facebook, something that I  have greatly cut back on.  In one particularly enjoyable  group I made a new friend.  It’s astonishing how many similarities we have.

I feel like we instantly bonded, and we have been  chatting fairly regularly since.  This person is a true treasure.  One that adds value to my life, one that challenges me to do more and be more.    I’ve already observed a difference in myself and my outlook since we’ve been sharing and chatting.

  • He’s free with compliments whereas I’ve been used to listening to criticism.  Wow, can’t tell you what a difference that makes.
  •  He encourages me in my writing –  in addition to listening to my inner editor, I’ve had  family tell me  to stop chasing dreams that I didn’t have the talent to obtain.  That really stung, and although I didn’t want to believe that  it affected me.
  • He seems to value my opinion.   In a world where big busted women are looked at as brainless bimbos I can’t tell you how much  respect  this particular point   won him.
  • We seem to have common interests and opinions .  When you’ve been feeling like maybe  everyone else is right and there’s something wrong with you, that you’re the messed up one  it’s   phenomenal to  find like-minded people.

Through conversation he’s encouraged me and I’ve tried to be encouraging to him.  We’ve found common ground where we can share our opinions, likes and dislikes.   This has really made an impact on my outlook and improved my daily word count tremendously.

If you notice my picture at the top of the geode, it’s there to make a point. I could have just as easily used the rock analogy from ‘Bug’s Life’, but I wasn’t sure how many would get it.  So instead my geology degree kicks in and I give you a rock.  On the outside, most of us look like plain rocks. We vary in shade, circumference, and density but we appear as unassuming run of the mill rocks.  But, when you cut open rocks you’ll find in some  beautiful treasure.  Now I’m not suggesting that I  or anyone else cut my new friend in half – what’s wrong with you people?

NO, I am suggesting that when you  look beyond the surface, when you get to know the person, once in a great while you find a geode.  ON the outside could be  just a plain rock, but to the trained geologist  they recognize  potential.

I grossly underestimated my  friend’s inner treasure.  The more we talk,  the easier it is to  talk.   I am feeling once again confident in my abilities, and enthusiastic about  pursuing the goal.

I have  loads of friends, and  most are not  vampires.  This particular friend has made a huge impact on me already.  Sometimes you just click with  the person.  I only hope that in some way I  add value to his life.  I would really be bummed to find out that  he considers me a time vampire.

Who do you have in your life that encourages you?  Who   helps you to achieve your dreams?  Who values you for  the things you value?

Get out of the rut and the mundane and start living your life with  passion.  If you can’t be passionate about  it, why bother?  For the past several months recovering from  a plethora of things life has dealt, I’ve had little passion therefore have written little.   All it takes is a spark to reignite the fires within.  I’ve got my spark, and now the fire is blazing.

Write on my friends, and do it with PASSION!