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Posts tagged ‘balancing’

Cathy: Editing Hump

This morning I had every intention of zipping along through a few hours of editing the final pages of my manuscript. My mayhem dictated otherwise.

1. Honey woke up late, and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed either, even though I heard the boys stirring downstairs. So we got off to a later start than usual. And then Toots slept in a bit and didn’t want to wake, and for about the third time in six years of living together, I woke up Grandma, who I knew had an earlier exercise class on Tuesdays, to ask her if she would take Toots with her so I could edit. And, by the way, Toots only wanted Grandma to get her out of bed this morning, too.

2. I was getting into the shower when the last family members to leave for the day were already out the door — that put me about an hour into the precious writing time.

3. I experienced a few technical difficulties that caused much smoke to emit from my ears and unsavory language to disembark from my mouth. Good thing I was home alone, but that did not prevent me from calling my tech support, Honey, at work to fume and swear in his general direction. Poor guy was working on a big project at work. Like he needed my vitriol in his ear at that moment, too. Thanks for putting up with me Hon, even though you didn’t really help and I ended up figuring out ‘go arounds’ myself.

4. I figured out ‘go arounds’ myself. Even re: stuff I didn’t bring up to my dear spouse.

5. I opened the Document.

6. I stared at it, knowing full well what I needed to do to it, and I stared at the critiqued copy which was telling me what to do with it, but apparently I did not have my listening ears on.

7. I called a fellow writing friend who thankfully was home sick from work up in Boston (how selfish of me, I know, but I did wish him to feel better, and he did help a lot with giving me a better perspective of why I was using a device that I was at the moment struggling to edit).

8. I listened to a couple of songs on youtube. Those youngsters today are making some good music. Please check out bands: A Day To Remember, Rise Against and Snow Patrol. Be forewarned, these are my rocknroller teen’s current favorite bands.

8.5 I whined on Facebook.

9. I kicked myself in the figurative butt and started typing.

10. I ended up pretty happy with what I got, and called my Boston writing friend again to confirm, and he gave me one more good piece of advice: put it dialogue instead of the main character’s thoughts. Actually, I think I screamed it over him as he said it, but it would have taken me longer to get to the realization if I hadn’t called Mr. Snuffles.

11. I saved it, in two places (always back up, lesson learned a long time ago when I was writing my thesis and my hard drive crashed taking my thesis with it, and I had 3 days and nights to cobble it all back together from old notes while hallucinating from sleep deprivation) and then

12. Grandma walked back in the door with Toots.

So I will finish the last few pages another time, maybe when Toots goes down for nap. Or tomorrow morning before I go to work…

I guess, I’m saying (and I have to thank the same friend in Boston for this one, too): “Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” ~Doris Lessing

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Crossposted from Musings in Mayhem

Alison: 5 New School-Year Resolutions for Writing Parents

Although it varies by a week or two across the Northern Hemisphere, for many parents, children round about now are returning to school and the more rigid routines of school days, homework, and earlier bedtimes come into play. As parents we need to be more organised and lovingly firm with our kids as we ease them through the change.

Whether you are a going-out-to-work writing parent or a stay-at-home one or a bit of both, it’s a good time to think about your own schedule, your priorities in terms of projects that you have to complete, client commitments, and projects that capture your heart and that you want to spend time on.

An important question to ask is ‘what is actually possible?’ We can take steps to create writing time by getting up early or staying up late, by being good at using small pockets of time between chores or on commute, but believe it or not, writing isn’t everything. Our resolutions need to take account of the current demands of our lives timewise, physically, emotionally, mentally. At different phases these demands will fluctuate. All-out commitment to the cause of writing without consideration of your current situation cannot be a good thing. As children settle into school they may require more of our empathy and listening time, will benefit and feel less anxious by us just being around, taking a walk with them, creating space for communication. Later on in the year these demands may change.

But if we get a chance to write, we want it to be as fruitful as possible. I often struggle to feel satisfied with my achievements because I have several tasks and projects on the go and have not identified which need to come higher on the list. At the end of the session, which is never very long, I have achieved not much of anything as I flit from document to document, to my email, to Google etc. A simple thing, but sometimes I’m not really clear what I’m working on. Just writing that down and having a schedule will make a lot of difference.

Sometimes I come to write and just can’t get into it, I have no spark. This is often after a period where I have not had any down time, general pleasant relaxation, a walk, or sit down with a book or even an evening in front of the TV. It is possible to make writing a stick that doesn’t bear fruit because you are beating yourself with it. (Ah the mixed metaphor, my favourite beast!)

So what resolutions might be good ones for the new school and writing year?

Five resolutions for the new school and writing year

1: Write less but more fruitfully and watch more telly.

2: Pick a project, set a deadline or a mini deadline, and work to it.

3: Think each day about your current demands/desires emotionally, mentally, physiologically, socially, for family etc. and decide what is most important, what is possible, and what is necessary.

4: Take pride and joy in what you achieve even if it is less than what you had hoped — write down what you have done; it’s easy to forget.

5: Think about, interact with, and support others, friends, extended family members, and other writers; create a strong and positive network.

Goodwill and good effort for the most part come back. Writing and life energy can be created by taking care of our time, ourselves, each other.

[Cross posted from my personal blog.]

Cathy: The Universe works in mysterious ways

I will kvetch no more — this week anyway — as after my last two days of considering every option and feeling like I had none left, suddenly:

a friend offered to barter my tutoring her 13-year-old daughter for watching my 2-year-old daughter on writers’ group days.  So I don’t need to find and pay for immediate daycare just so I can have a few hours of writing and critique time a couple of times a month.

aaaand!

drumroll, please…..

Honey’s cousin needs some of Honey’s professional expertise on a public speaking gig in Colorado in a couple of weeks. And he offered to let me tag along, too. I will go to his public speaking gig, but largely, I am going to blissfully sit in my hotel room, without any interruptions and edit the bejeez out of my manuscript on Honey’s laptop!!!

and Grandma offered to watch the kids for that weekend.

I hope I didn’t die, because this sure feels like heaven.

[slightly edited crosspost from musings in mayhem]

Cathy: Back to the book

I have received excellent notes from someone in a position to discuss observatories in a way that I need to fill the hole in my manuscript. For this, I am extremely thankful, and feeling the impetus to write that one hole in the book.

I basically have not been able or free to write or edit in the manuscript since my retreat in January and my surgery in February. The fact that my toddler is way too busy now at times when other than her, I have the house to myself, and therefore should have no distractions… Yeah, right, that’s a good one!

So much for writing during morning naps. Buh-bye! Actually that was gone about six months ago.

Then, two other things put a kink into the process: My mother-in-law started a diet support group with her exercise buddies on the same day as my critique group; and my critique group bumped the timeslot from 12-2pm to 10-12pm. Same time as her regular exercise classes she has committed herself to for over three years now.

This prompted me to start seeking inexpensive daycare services to try to cover Toots for at least two half-days a week, so I would have time to write and time twice per month for the critique group. She turns 2 on April 1. All the basic church basement type preschools in the area start at 2.5 years. Otherwise, it’s parent accompanied playgroups or expensive daycare centers. I felt really SOL. But I have committed to putting my writing on the map. Think, think, think.

So I got a message late Sunday night to request a change for this week’s group meeting to Thursday from the usual Tuesday meeting. And it was to be a writing rather than a critique meeting. I was half-ecstatic. Only half, because while it did not conflict with my mil’s diet group, it did conflict with her usual exercise classes.

Yesterday morning, I shored myself up and asked if she would mind watching Toots on Thursday morning instead of going to her class.

Not that she typically says no, but it’s not like I typically feel I can ask, because I want to respect what is important to her. She said sure.

Maybe a week by week check-in is what it will take to get my writing on the chart, to coordinate around a household of six including toddler. At least for now. And in six months, maybe I can start her in a regular preschool, if we can figure it into the non-existent part of the budget.

Baby steps. For now, I will write, in the committed company of other writers on Thursday for two hours. That is two hours of writing I did not have before. One week at a time.

Crossposted from Cathy’s personal blog.

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