My Writing Process.

by Julie on July 24, 2014

I seem to have a very non-productive writing routine lately.

I realize that I could wake early in the mornings or stay up late to write, but I’m usually in the midst of other things during those times. Those “things” are usually kid-related, and since The Mister works out of town, I can’t ask him to listen for kids during the morning/evening or help with morning/evening routines.

Here is a peek into how I spend most days, keeping in mind that my primary concern is my children. My goals are varied and many. Or many and varied. I mean, there are a lot of things that I think about, but it’s too much to include here. In fall/spring, the routine would include homeschooling in there somewhere. Times are not accurate – just an estimation.

Also, for those who are new here, I tend to write with a lot of sarcasm and hyperbole. It’s how I cope (see, that was a bit sarcastic right there). Here we go.

* * * * * * * * * *

6:30am – Wake up to screeching toddler who is clearly not a morning person. Detach tongue from roof of mouth. Arthritically put on glasses and clip hair on top of head. Unplug CrutchPhone from charger. Say “Thank you” to God, the Universe and everyone. I am grateful to wake up and live another day (not being sarcastic here, just FYI – I really am glad to be alive).

Not My Neighborhood

Isn’t this a nice picture?

6:31am – Limp to retrieve the now-shrieking toddler. Walk down the very slick wooden stairs as slowly as possible to avoid broken hip and/or other catastrophe. Get smoothie pouch for toddler, start coffee, and turn on PBS.

6:35am – Pour a cup of creamer and add coffee. Savor. Check email with SmartCrutchPhone while toddler sits in my lap. Toddler watches “Martha Speaks” while sucking down her smoothie pouch, and is super snuggly. I nuzzle her hair. Coffee must be starting to work because I get a brilliant idea for a blog post.

7:00am – Feel violent earthquake and then realize it’s actually an elephant stampede upstairs. No wait, that’s my son. He is awake, heaven help us. Fear strikes my soul. Brilliant idea is gone.

7:05am – Get breakfast for son. Note that he really is adorable when he’s just waking up. Watch a bit of “Wild Kratts” together. Learn all kinds of cool info about the North American river otter. My life is complete.

7:15am – Cook up some scrambled eggs and bacon/sausage. We need protein to make it through the morning.

7:30am – Start a load of laundry and begin straightening up house because coffee has given me life. Think of stuff to write about while working.

7:35am – Get distracted by older girl who is now awake. She wants oatmeal, please. Ideas gone. Think, wow my short-term memory is gone. What was I doing? Oh yeah, make oatmeal. Try to remember grand ideas. Get frustrated because I can’t recall them, and then take stock. I will not make oatmeal for this girl forever. Maybe I should write about that. Get more coffee.

8:00am – Both of the older girls are now awake, fed and dressed, so they get the honor of babysitting The Littles while I go upstairs to take a shower and get myself together. A bazillion great ideas pop into my head while I’m in the shower.

WHY?

I grab the soap gnome and try to make notes on the tile.

Shower Writing Implement

8:15am – Get out of shower feeling revitalized. Excited to sit down at some point and write something GREAT!

8:20am – Start to put in my contact lenses and then hear a sudden shriek and/or crash that causes me to almost gouge my eyeball out.  Make sure all kids are still breathing. Finish getting dressed to the sounds of The Great and Heinous Sibling War of 2014. All ideas GONE.

8:25am – Go downstairs to put everyone in time-out. All privileges revoked until FOREVER. Start another load of laundry and then continue to straighten/vacuum TV room where carnage occurred. Come up with a bunch of new ideas while listening to lull of vacuum. Get distracted by large amount of dog fur on entry rug. Start vacuuming. Get further distracted by additional dog fur on formal living room rug. Determine that dog is either completely bald or no longer exists. Vacuum and fumigate.

8:30am – Order older girls to do their chores. Listen to whining and moaning and eyeball rolling (yeah, I can hear it). It is all I can do to keep from reaching for the wine.

9:30am – Put away vacuum and sit down at computer to finally write for a bit while little ones are playing with Playdoh. Wait for Live Writer to come up, only to be distracted by The Facebook Maelstrom of Time-Thievery. Comment on and “like” lots of stuff. Productivity has been totally sucked out. All ideas are GONE.

10:00am – IGNORE THE PINTEREST. Get away from it. Don’t even look at it.

stop-pinterest

10:10am – I AM SO WEAK. Search ideas for sad-looking back yard.

10:15am – Realize that back yard needs to be razed with a flame-thrower. Get really depressed. Google “Star Wars and Cats” instead.

Star Wars and Cats!

Score!

11:00am – Review drafts for other blog posts that have been started. They are all in various states of “suck”. Get depressed again. Step away to make sure kids are still alive.

11:01am – Two older girls have built Littlest Petshop Compound out of duct tape, construction paper and cardboard boxes that takes over the entire formal living area. Number Four brags that he touched the cat’s butt.

11:30am – Make lunch. Eat lunch.

12:30pm – Put toddler down for nap while other kids busy themselves. Watch her fall asleep because she is beautiful. Come up with ideas for writing while laying with her. Accidentally fall asleep. Wake up completely clueless.

1:00pm – Tiptoe out of room following THESE STEPS.

1:05pm – Finally make it downstairs (using great care not to break any bones) and see what kids are up to. Girls are playing “beauty shop” with son. He is a good sport.

1:10pm – Sit at computer, start writing stuff and/or working on drafts. It’s all crap. Delete, delete, delete. Edit, edit, edit.

1:12pm – Get distracted by older kids asking to go outside so they can bike/scooter around and terrorize neighborhood. Ignore.

1:13pm – Ignore a bit longer.

1:15pm – Decide that the kids need to be outside while it’s nice weather and escort them outdoors with baby monitor in tow for some biking, sidewalk-chalking, bubble-blowing and running-in-grass-barefooted fun.

2:15pm – Toddler is up from nap. Bring her downstairs (carefully) and snuggle with her in rocker while she wakes up and eats a snack.

2:30pm – Take a kid to whatever lesson/activity we have that day. Think of cool stuff while waiting.Whatever Clock

Source

3:30pm – Get home from wherever. Think I’ll sit down to write, but then get distracted by kids asking for Xbox time, snack, cigarettes and booze. Also, there is a ton of laundry to fold and put away, but realize that after folding, that stuff is going to sit on my kitchen table for at least a week if not longer. All ideas, once again, are GONE.

4:45pm – Time to start dinner.

5:30pm – Eat dinner with kids.

6:00pm – I am hopefully writing something worthy of you fine people and of myself.

6:30pm – Bath and shower time for kiddos. All I hear in my head is “Car Wash”. It’s an assembly line of kid-cleaning and sudsy fun. Looking forward to having some quiet time for myself.

8:30pm – All four kids are clean and in bed. Mind is now a complete abyss. Clean kitchen.

9:00pm – Get in bed, feeling somewhat defeated by lack of creativity. Chances are good that I’ve got a stupid earworm as well. Read something to take mind off of earworm and/or anxiety over falling and/or drowning, which I think about constantly when lying in bed at night.

11:00pm – 2:00pm (approximate) – Get up and go to whichever kid is in need of comforting after they wake up scared, thirsty, or both. This can happen multiple times per night across multiple kids. Also possible: Open eyes to see dark figure standing over me. Yell out like an elephant giving birth. Realize it’s just an older kid coming in to:

  • Ask for a drink of water
  • Tell me they had a bad dream
  • Ask if they can get in bed with me
  • Ask what we will be doing tomorrow
  • Ask if we can talk about a book she is currently reading (if I’m lucky, it’s the one about puberty).

Send kid back to bed (or give in and stick them in mine) after drink of water and reassurances that all is well and/or we will chat about the magic of puberty tomorrow.

3:00am – Wake up with THE BEST WRITING IDEA EVER. Remember that there is a notebook and pen and/or CrackPhone with Notepad on bedside table. So tired. Cannot move arms. Fall back into sleep. This may occur more than once per night.

3:30am – 5:30am – Continue with comforting/hydrating measures as needed for non-sleeping children.

6:30am – Wake up to screeching toddler…

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Be a Duck.

by Julie on July 21, 2014

A long time ago, I had a bad day at work.

I was a nurse working in Labor and Delivery, and one of the doctors was being a bit of a jerk about one of his patients that I was caring for. Except, he wasn’t being bit of a jerk, he was being a BIG, GIANT JERK. This was a person whom I normally enjoyed working with and had respect for.

After my shift was over, I went to my mom’s house to visit so that I could decompress over a glass of wine and tell her about my day. She told me, “Be a duck”.

I’m sure I looked at her funny.

She continued, “Some days, you just have to let that stuff roll off of your back because it usually has nothing to do with you.”

I had never heard the saying, but my mom (who was also a nurse), knew EXACTLY what she was talking about. Turned out to be great advice.

Sadly, this was something I found difficult to do. Taking the good doctor’s perspective into account and walking in his shoes was something that I resisted, because my own ignorant, self-absorbed feelings took precedence. And this guy was being an ass. I found it difficult to feel anything toward him but ambivalence.

We all have bad days.

A few days later, I was chatting with the same doc (who was in a better mood), and out of nowhere, he lowered his head and said, “Sometimes, I wish I had never become a doctor. If I could do things over, I would open my own restaurant.”  He went into some detail about it.

The sympathy I felt for him in that moment was pretty intense, given my conversation with The Mother a few days earlier. Watching him talk about his “would-be restaurant”, I saw in his face how much he had regretted following his current path. Still, he was a very good doctor. I told him that I thought so, too.

Sometimes, I get my house professionally cleaned. I know there is really no good excuse for hiring someone to do something I could do myself, but I have not mastered cleaning the floors. If someone comes up with the best and quickest way to clean floors and make them shiny, then I’m all up in that.

Prior to the “official” cleaning, there’s always the “pre-cleaning”. Fun times.

So I’m straightening up my girls’ room…and it’s just a disaster:

This is just a tiny portion of what’s going on in there, and I have no idea where to start. It is endless layers of books, Littlest Pet Shop toys, Barbies, toy houses, and stuffed animals all over the floor. What is it with little girl toys? The colors are so vivid and bright. It’s a litany of eyeball noise.

I sometimes let myself get really worked up over the fact that my little girls are NORMAL.

So, I take a few deep breaths and try to see things from their perspective and be in their shoes. I remember that I was a kid once, too, and recall MY messy room. I really loved using my imagination and coming up with all of these silly scenarios. In my world, Princess Leia was married to Luke Skywalker and the jawas were their babies (oops!).

Let it roll. Let it roll off of my greasy, feathered duck-back.

So, I get it all cleaned up and put away, trying not to interrupt the “story” that is happening there…just clearing off enough of the dresser so that it can be dusted.

Then, I move on to straighten up the master bedroom. I hear these two little voices in the hallway conspiring to run away from home.

“We’ll check in to a hotel!”

“Yeah!”

“Or we’ll live in a tent! Or, a LEAN-TO!”

“Yeah!”

One of them decides they need to make their intentions known to me.

“Mom, we’ve decided that since you cleaned our room, we’re running away.”

“I wish you the best. Good luck.”

See? I was a duck. No problem.

Let it roll.

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Good Stuff #1 – Air.

July 1, 2014

In an attempt to exercise my gratitude muscles a little bit (because I don’t think any of the other ones work anymore), I am starting a series of posts about things I am grateful for. I call them “gratitudinals”. It’s a mix of “gratitude” and “cardinal”, because cardinals are my favorite bird. I like to […]

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My Summer Reading List.

July 1, 2014

As you can probably tell, I’m still trying to “find my voice” as a humor writer. Such a silly phrase and quite cliché, but so am I. I do want to be funny, but sometimes, I feel like I’m the un-funniest person on the planet. Aside from my obsessions with Star Wars and cats, I […]

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I Don’t Want To Sell You ANYTHING.

July 1, 2014

I’m convinced that I am the female version of Lloyd Dobler. Remember Lloyd Dobler? Kind of dorky and likes the valedictorian of his class? They fall in love and she gives him a pen after breaking up with him. In dramatic fashion, they end up reuniting and fly off into the sunset together. I wonder […]

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I Say “Buns” A Lot In This Post.

June 26, 2014

It was May of 1977. I was nine. The most important movie of all time came out. You know the one… I saw “Star Wars” at the drive-in with my best friend, Kristi, and her family. We ran around the parking lot and messed with the little speaker doodads and munched on junk food. We […]

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A Guest Post: Love Me, Adore Me, Then Leave Me Alone.

June 23, 2014

Hello, public. You don’t know me, but my name is Mr. Big. I am Julie’s cat. Bask in my gloriousness. She’s not here right now because she’s upstairs cleaning out my treasure box. I’m not sure what she does with the gifts that I leave for her, but I continue to bury them and she […]

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I’m Still Here.

June 17, 2014

So…yeah… I’ve been gone from the blog for a while, but I’m still here…and gosh-golly, I’m sure that the whole 3 of you (or whoever is left of my readers) are just thrilled. Well, I’ve been kind of busy, doing…stuff. Doing WHAT, you ask? For one thing, I weaned my youngest babe…who is no longer […]

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Things You Don’t Want to Hear Your Kids Say From the Other Room.

November 19, 2013

I took a bit of a break from the blog recently. Did you notice? I wanted to spend some time doing stuff with my kids (like I have a choice!), and I also wanted to try to focus on living in the present moment. That sounds hokey, but it’s something I don’t do enough these […]

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Some Useless Tidbits.

October 13, 2013

Welcome! If you’ve never been here before, I’m so happy that you stopped by. If you are a regular, thank you for coming back. I’ve been thinking that I should share some stuff about myself on the “About” page so you lovely readers can get to know what I’m all about, and at the same […]

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