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Posts tagged ‘productivity’

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]

NaNoWriMo: Productivity…?

NaNoWriMo Day 9 - Productive

Courtesy Inky Elbows — a great site for all procrastinating writers!

Cathy: The Next Big Thing

crossposting from musings in mayhem

Why is it even when I have several projects I could be working on, narrowed to two that I am working on (read procrastinating) that I generally have at least part of my writer’s eye on The Next Big Thing?

This is also true in the home improvement arena, you should see what I’ve come up with for the addition now that we are paying a mortgage and have a yard of our own rather than renting a condo.

I mean I could also be focusing on getting those wonderfully folded piles from last week into dressers before starting this week’s loads. But I’m already a day late anyway, and have no earthly idea how it is that I wash the same five outfits per family member twice a week and there are still piles of folded and sorted laundry sitting from two weeks ago.

I’m planning next spring’s gardens while the plots are currently filled and continuing to fill with weeds. I really need to buy more sand to add to my clay soil which needs to be turned and covered, with compost, too, before I start plotting next year.

I am also dreaming baby names, when I know, logistics and physicality have set in stone that C is the last of my progeny. I am thinking of new baby names instead of being present with the three kids I have now.

I can use the baby names for characters, but that is the only technical resolve I have for this dilemma I have that the next thing is better than the present. It’s sparklier, it’s as tempting as a dessert sitting on the counter while I’m preparing dinner.

Something about the new, the imagined, the dreamed is much easier because I can keep my hands clean thinking about it while the dirty work of the present is a constant.

Maybe I just have trouble with finishing, with letting go, with saying finally, for the last time, that this version of the poem, the children’s novel, the article is good enough just the way it is.

I’m sure there is a psychological disorder with a big fancy name for this. It has conveniently slipped my mind.

Cathy: Not selling myself short

Crosspost from musings in mayhem.

The question of balancing motherhood and creativity arises constantly. The other day, I read a very interesting wake-up call over on and her head popped off. I loved the photograph of the mom going ahead with painting whilst her toddler hung upside down, squiggling on her lap. The mom in the photo is continuing her creative work regardless of being a mom as is the photographer and author. The essence of what Terri wrote was just shut up and do it. If you really want it, you’ll make it happen.

I think that’s why a lot of us mother-writers blog. It’s a piece of writing, that while it may not necessarily change the world or be the next Great American Novel, keeps us going. We can do it in the snatches of time during naps, or a bit of quiet while school aged kids are out of the house, in between loads of laundry and sinkfuls of dishes. We can focus for a few minutes, while our Big Project waits sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently for a chance to be the focus. We can do it while a wiggling toddler cuddles in for a snuggle while our fingers click away on a keyboard, like at this very moment that I write.

My old photography self of eons past has been relegated to largely okay pics of the kids and whatever catches my eye, with a little automatic easy camera rather than one I could make adjustments on, given the time and the perogative. The old dancer self still throws down in the kitchen periodically, albeit stiffly and ungainly. The old performer self regales at the dinner table in silly voices and fake opera, when I can get a word in edgewise among the constant stream of noise from all three kids. The old drawing self, will doodle now and then, and more often pretend large invisible canvases in sweeping gestures with my arms while I sit vegging out in front of the tv of an evening, too exhausted to do anything more. Honey must wonder what I’m doing over there, but is too polite or exhausted himself. Other times, I am making chi pottery, sitting with my hands balled around or manipulating invisible clay.

And I blog. I post something every weekday since I started this with the exception of when I took a summer excursion.

I know I have a manuscript that really wants to be finished and shopped. Believe me, if I could focus on that right now, I would. But when it comes to the big writing, I need more mental energy than I currently have. I also have three horizontal file drawers of poems and short stories that could use editing, compiling, submitting, as well as how many on the hard drive that need the same, and the three journals in my bedside drawer, dog-eared where good ideas are languishing. And then there’s that screenplay idea from about eight years ago that still won’t die, and I’ve lost the outline for ages ago.

But, for right now, This is what I can write, while I chase C away from the dog food again when things have gotten a bit too quiet. I’m doing a pretty fair job of it. And yes, I just wrote another very self-referential blog about blogging. But I’m doing it. I am writing.

Cathy: Of weekend, writing or not, organization and furniture, productivity or relaxation, beach, t-storms, dead battery, stand still traffic and old southern fishermen

I’m thinking again. Thinking of writing, thinking of editing, but waiting for editorial input from a few select friends in order to edit my manuscript. Of editing the poem I wrote the other day or not, or of writing the story I started or the one with the fully cast set of characters from about a week ago. Or of finding that script outline from oh, 4 yrs ago, that I still would like to develop. And three derivative character books from my manuscript that I could easily start, not exactly a series, but related books on existing characters.

I’m thinking I’m happy that Honey and I finally rearranged S’s bedroom on Saturday. I’m thinking how long will it stay this clean after he gets home from his dad’s. And of threatening to take anything left on the floor or shoved behind furniture away for eternity, but that’s a lot of money in legos and drawing supplies and dinos and godzillas that I’d rather he use.

I’m thinking I wish I had a laptop and a couple of hours a day in a café or elsewhere so I won’t be on toddler duty, or in the vicinity of laundry, dishes et al, so I can focus on writing and get to the deeper level, find the groove, without distractions in housework or parenting.

I’m thinking what an absolutely gorgeous day at the beach on Sunday. The water was perfect, the beach was packed, Honey and I relaxed, Baby C grew a little more accustomed to the sand and the water, and even pointed from the shovelful of sand I held to show her, and pointed to a speck on my arm and said ‘sahn..’ She watched a kite circle and dip and bounce. She pointed to gulls, to clouds to people to sandcastles, to the ocean for me to say what they were again and again. She pointed and giggled at the flock of squawking laughing gulls dipping and circling and diving at an unattended set-up, where they were stealing snacks, because the family all went to the water together, leaving their belongings to the snarky thieves. That is a lesson learned in my well-beached youth. She flirted with the young guys behind us who laughed and called her adorable, after gossiping about friends and others apparently at their college. I thought and said to Honey, I am so glad I am not that age anymore, when what people wear, their hair, their ‘tudes, their likes and dislikes matter so disproportionately to the entirety of world affairs.

And then the breeze became darkened sky, became drops. I watched the cloud direction and we packed up, headed to the van in the municipal lot, to discover alarm drained dead battery, and then the sky opened up, and Honey and I yelled at each other, til he stood at the edge of the lot to watch for Triple A, who arrived with handheld battery pack in an unmarked Nissan, calling me on my cellphone on the approach. I think, why do we yell at each other so readily, when all else fails.

I’m thinking of getting on the road and sitting in standstill traffic on the bridge. Of the ancient bent man wiping his new truck with a greasy cloth and getting out, hobbling slowly, fly half unzipped, toward his trailered fishing boat. He stopped and spoke to us on his way, offered us a pepsi or a mountain dew with multiple extra syllables in his deeply southern accent, as only the true locals in this highly transitory area speak, and of his spit of tabacca chaw in the midst of the conversation. I’m thinking of the four car slightly more than fender bender and emergency vehicles that held us up and of how C slept so well after the beach through the whole thing.

I’m thinking I have a moment right now in which I could be writing something mentioned above, but that right now, this is what I need to be writing, because I’m thinking of so many different things, including that the boys will be home in a few weeks, and of all the plans I am making for the week we will pick them up, we will spend trying to visit loved ones we miss, see my family, check up on my mom’s progress since the stroke, and of nephews and niece, growing so much – she’s twenty and the youngest nephew is three, and how much of life has passed in the time since I moved away, and since my brothers and I were growing up, and I need to write all of this down somehow, use it, love it, and turn it into something more than the ramblings of my life.

Paper and pen still can’t be beat

Lifehacker is conducting ongoing surveys to determine a variety of “best” tools. Recently, Lifehacker asked readers to select their favorite journaling tool. Old fashioned pen and paper came out on top, by a wide margin.

Which Journaling Tool is Best? (Poll Closed)
  • Microsoft Word 8% (338 votes)
  • Pen and Paper 38% (1632 votes)
  • Microsoft OneNote 13% (548 votes)
  • Evernote 13% (564 votes)
  • WordPress 16% (702 votes)
  • Other 11% (489 votes)

Pen and paper also won in the recipe management department, despite a bounty of digital tools designed for that purpose.

How about you? Where do you rely on paper, and where do you rely on something that runs on electricity?

Cathy: And now for something completely different

I’ve been so wrapped up in the idea that I need to finish my manuscript, that the feeling has resulted in much the same as shooting one’s self in the foot, can’t win for trying, or a hundred other clichés. So when I saw the opportunity from Elizabeth Beck to be a part of Do Not Leave Unattended! by Judy Beckett of run4istrun.blogspot.com, I jumped at it.

It reminded me of last spring to summer when I discovered Kerri Smith’s Wreck this Journal. I was so stuck, I hadn’t worked on the manuscript since about three to four years prior, even though it had never left my mind. I had let life get in the way of art, and I needed to find a way back. I discovered the way back to art through Wreck. It has everything to do with being able to be free about it, make it messy, have fun with it and play. Because of that little tome and my use of it, I was able to return to the manuscript with a renewed sense of fun and inspiration about it. It didn’t matter if I made it work, what mattered was that I was writing about kids and what they go through in sixth grade, and that even if some of it is hard, it’s also fun to be a kid, have a family who loves you, even when they’re a pain, have friends who stick by you, even if you’re not exactly sure why, and that no matter who you are, you can do something great, maybe even change the world a little.

So, now that I really am right at the end of the ‘first’ draft (which has already been through practically word-by-word edits), like two to three scenes from the end, I find myself trying to make it work, or avoiding doing so, or whatever so that I won’t finish. I took a moment to breath, to get messy, to create something completely different and let it go out into the universe, especially not perfect. Here is the result:springjournal2

springjournal

I wanted to feel like a kid, so I played with markers, I wanted the sense of youth and fun and something new and had been thinking a lot about spring because it’s spring. On my dog walks and in my gardening, I’ve been noticing lots of itty bitty wildflowers, like confetti all over my lawn and around the public areas in my subdivision. I thought about them being fairy footprints left behind after a night of dancing. I wrote a haiku. Then I free wrote in the journal about spring, how it’s about change and new and color…

So it looks like a kid did it, and I’m glad. I needed to feel more like a kid to finish writing about one. And I put a lot more productive hours into my manuscript the week i did this page. Letting go and playing in creativity really can set you free.

Who wants to be next?

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