Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where does the time go?

Every few months, I like to take a week to do a time log to see what I'm doing with my days. Like most people, I feel like I'm always working on something, and always have even more I want to do. For instance, I want to do a longer post sharing the results of the log I did a couple of weeks ago, but will save that for another day. What I will share is a cool color-coded look at my 168 hours ...


... followed by major irritation towards all the productivity posts, books and general bloviation telling me to get up early and take an hour or two in the morning to center myself and tackle the tough before the pain of living starts to wear me down.* For real? All of those blue squares are time spent with my children, either playing with, caring for them, or both (silly songs during diaper changes, chats with Mr. T about his day on the way home from preschool). It's a rare day that doesn't have a blue spot between 4 and 5 am, so it's most definitely a rare day I'll be getting up an hour before my kids to have "me time" (purple is work, green is housework/errands, blue is children, orange is personal/sleep/family time).

But! This really isn't an excuse** to moan about how hard it is to be a working parent of small children, or a non-working parent of small children, or even just someone who happens to be in the same room as a small child every now and then. Really, it's about finding time somewhere in the day to take for myself. And isn't deciding to sleep a little more a way of taking care of myself?

One day, I'll get up before the chickens again. I'm not a morning person by any means, but there is something great about drinking a solitary cup of coffee and getting the dishwasher emptied before the shouting*** day begins. Until then, I'll bundle J-Cakes into the stroller for a run, or read a book while I eat lunch, or catnap while nursing him before his morning nap and my work day begins. And one day,  I'll finish that sweater for my dad I've been knitting for two years. I'll finish that novel I've been writing for a year. Heck, I'll finish the novel I've been reading for a year. Until then, I'll continue to fight my battle with inflexibility, and ignore the world when it chides me, all bright smiles and extra caffeine that I can't have because I'm still breastfeeding, to "Just get up a little earlier! You'll get so much done and feel refreshed."

*Can you tell I was up every 2 hours with a teething baby last night? I'm sure the hyperbolic emotion is a dead giveaway.

**Okay, it kind of is, but only a little. I have volumes to say about the happy-family-washing of blogs and our culture in general, and being a parent is really, really freaking hard. Yes, I got myself into this mess, and yes, overall the net result is mostly worth it (I say at 3 in the afternoon. Don't ask me the same question at 3 in the morning), but we don't do anyone any favors by pretending the mess doesn't exist.

***Figurative shouting. Mostly.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hi again

Hi! So, how've you been these last 2 years? I've missed writing here, and I think I'll be back for a little bit. It'll probably be different, since I've added another baby, a job, and an almost-finished first draft of a YA novel to my life, so there's considerably less crafting and exciting cooking going on, but I miss having a space to think and communicate about creating. Although my creative life has shifted from my hands to my head, it's still a huge part of me, and you never know -- one day, I just might finish the sweater I started knitting for my dad two years ago, and go on to make those historical-botanical-print-inspired embroidery patterns I've been dreaming about. I also might start cooking things other than frozen ravioli with pesto (remember when I used to make my own ravioli from scratch?? Insane), so stay tuned!

I've started a freelance indexing business, creating the indexes that come in so handy in the backs of books, like your favorite craft and cookbooks (no, a computer doesn't and can't do that job -- just think about a computer boiling a complex concept down to a word or short phrase, and doing it elegantly!), and also do research and am toying with adding writing to the mix. That "real life" me is over here, just in case you're curious. I won't talk much about it here, though, except in broad terms of work-life balance as a freelancer and parent of two active boys.

The YA novel is, well, a YA novel. Angst, hormones, emotions, loneliness; all the things you find in adult novels, too (and there's one of those on the back burner). I co-tumbl (is that even a thing?) with one of my Forever Young Adult ex-coworkers over here, but I will use this space for longer-than-tumblr-lenght rambles about writing and the writing process and creativity.

Speaking of creativity and writing, this is my current favorite thing ever, and great inspiration for the (daily) stucks -- Sara Zarr's podcast, This Creative Life. She's 1. an amazing YA writer (one of my top faves -- do check out her episodes with some of my other faves, A.S. King and Bennett Madison) and 2. has incredible things to say about writing that also apply generally to creating. Go listen, and maybe when you come back, I'll have something new to say. Or not; I'd really love to hear what you have to say, too. It's like in the Mister Rogers' song I sing to my boys at bedtime:
I'll be back, when the day is new. And I'll have more ideas for you. And you'll have things you want to talk about. I. Will. Too.
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