If you visit my house, you would see that I’m a ‘stacker’ by nature. It’s always clean but sports a lived-in look. With summer break staring me in the face and having 3/3 kiddos at home with me after this week, I was starting to sweat. The only way I can even think about our time together, and not feel overwhelmed, is by finding a way to pare down first. So, I declared May the month to ‘clear out the clutter’. I’ve made my way through the pantry, fridge, linen closet and laundry room ‘catch-all’ closet. Today I tackled my own closet, and this coming week it’s my kid’s turn. (Lone socks, stained clothes, and kids-meal toys, beware.) I’ve even managed to move a little furniture around in the process.
That should’ve been my cue. When furniture starts moving around my home, internal shifts start happening. I can think of numerous times, large and small, conscious and unconscious that I started moving furniture around when I needed a good kick in the pants. I’ll give you an easy example; Last summer, my oldest daughter found herself gripped with anxiety about her upcoming first-grade year. She had heard horror stories about how much more difficult first grade was the kindergarten. By the time she could explain her emotions and her convictions that she wouldn’t do well, it was almost enough to ruin the summer. So, I used a dose of my ‘therapy’ with her and we moved her bedroom furniture around. Together, she and I rearranged her room, using all her existing furniture and decorations, but when we were finished it had a completely different feel. We declared it her ‘first-grade room’, and slowly, in her new space, she found the confidence she needed to face the school year. Here we are at the end of first grade, and she did beautifully, just like I knew she would.
This week, it was my turn. I finally admitted that I was in a rut. It was three-fold too; a mom-rut, a work- rut and a writing- rut. Coincidentally, or not, as three pieces of furniture switched places and changed roles, I started to find my way out. From a writing standpoint, it felt contradictory, because I was writing more than normal. Once I was honest with myself though, I’m not sure how much of it was productive. I rarely feel like I have enough time to write, but suddenly I found my scale tipping towards the quantity as opposed to the quality. I’m trying to iron out wrinkles in my Picture Book manuscript and I’m finishing up a Board Book entry for a contest with a deadline quickly approaching. I was editing, revising, rewording and reworking and not feeling confident that any of it was advancing my stories. Thankfully, I received timely feedback from other writers who helped me keep focus and stay the course. On the day that I moved furniture around, I also had a long talk with myself about my energy and expectations. I’ve written already about designating time to write each day. Somehow I fell out of practice, so I took a step back, re-read my post and pressed the reset button. As I’ve cleaned through the clutter in my home, I’ve managed to start sifting through the creative clutter as well.
My to-do list for this week is lengthy,
- I need to polish up my BB contest cover letter and entry. I have some rhyming wrinkles and inverted grammar to iron out.
- I plan to work out a few more kinks on my PB manuscript. I hope to have it ready to send back to a critique partner and get another round of feedback. If someone can help me know ‘when to say when’ and stop editing this thing I would be eternally grateful. Do you ever really feel “done” with a manuscript?
- I have a Sunday post (done) and a Wednesday post (blank) to work on.
- I also have an idea brewing for a blog series to start this summer, I need to do some homework on it… stay tuned!
- Organizing my kid’s closets and drawers… a mountain of a task.
- I need clear work boundaries. In my real job, meaning the ‘not-writing-but-pays-the-bills’ one, I work from home. I love it, and I struggle with it too. I owe it to my work, and my kids to find a rhythm that will work well for the summer.
- Did I mention I have two books waiting to be read? Yikes!
- Oh, yes, tball and softball games this week, too.
Thanks to the antique yellow pie cabinet that’s now residing in my living room, and even a new header image here on Magnolias & Manuscripts, I’m ready for the challenge. I always appreciate that you take a few moments from your own busy day to spend time here. I always hope you consider it a good use of your time.
Thanks for reading, come back anytime!