Monday, July 06, 2015

What I've Been Writing (When I've Been Able to Write)

"Multitasker, Duplo-Thinkpad" by Thomas Angermann is licensed under CC BY 2.0
I'm aiming to blog more frequently, and I suppose I have to start somewhere. So here I am.

I've said it before, and I'm saying it again: I have a million ideas for blog posts, but finding the time to think them through and type them up is a challenge, to say the least. When you're raising a freelance business along side a family, especially when that family includes two Littles under three, getting anything other than the necessities done is a miracle. (I don't use that term lightly here. I truly believe it's miraculous when I manage to clean the bathroom before it's a disgusting mess that demands cleaning.)

Right now, I have fifteen minutes to write this post. I'm squeezing blogging in between three hours of freelance work and a long list of household tasks I hope to get done before picking up the boys at the sitter. Fifteen minutes doesn't leave room for much thought or editing, but it's enough to get things started. It's enough to move myself forward and to begin. I may not finish in that time, but I'm making progress, and that's better than letting this site sit stagnant while I wish and hope for time to write more, blog more, do more.

Right now, my life is revolving around the mantra: What You Can, When You Can. If you're a busy gal (or guy) who's trying to make any sort of life changes and you haven't heard this mantra, or don't know about the #wycwyc (wick-wick) movement, you should definitely check it out. (I have more to say about this later, but for now, this will have to suffice.)

Speaking of freelance work (I know, worst segue ever!): I've been blogging for The Penny Hoarder and am loving the opportunity to write about ways that SAHMs and WAHMs can make and save more money. Those are topics that I'm pretty passionate about these days, as we live on a limited budget ourselves and are trying to make a move into a bigger house in a better neighborhood. If you're interested in what I've been writing, or just want tips on saving money (or making more of it), check out the pieces I've published so far:

In addition to blogging for other sites, I'm doing some technical writing and editing, along with a bit of virtual assistant-style work for a content management consultant. It's a good variety for right now and I enjoy each job for different reasons. 

And with that, my time is up. The kitchen calls, with it's dirty dishes and floor that needs mopping. With any luck (er, I mean, lots of planning) I'll be back soon with another post. Until then:

Where can you free up a little time to do the things you REALLY want to do? What can you start NOW, right this minute? What can you make a little progress on, even if you know you won't finish?

Friday, July 03, 2015

The WHENs and the NOWs

"Clock" by Dineshraj Goomany is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
A short time ago, an internet friend sent me a link to an essay she'd tried to read. "This essay is SO DREADFUL," she said. "Can you believe she's a published author?"

After reading the essay (all of it) myself, I sent her a note back. It hadn't seemed THAT dreadful to me. I had, in fact, been able to connect with the writer through her essay, but only after I pushed through a flowery beginning and waded through some roughly worded paragraphs to get to the point: Motherhood is hard and sometimes we need a break, even if that break isn't doing what we'd really love to be doing. At least that's the point I took away from it. (This may say more about where I'm at in my life than about the author's intent and skill, though.)

As I responded to my friend, I found myself thinking a thought I'd had plenty of times before. If this author could publish such a poorly written essay, why can't I get published?

The answer wasn't far behind: Because you're not writing.

That's not entirely true. I have a couple of freelance jobs going, but they're more editing and formatting than writing. I'm writing this blog post--right here, right now. And I'm always jotting notes for the books and stories and essays I want to write WHEN. You know: WHEN.

WHEN I have time.

WHEN the kids are older.

WHEN I'm not so tired.

WHEN the house is clean.

WHEN I'm a better writer.

I know you have them, too. They may not be the same as mine, but I'm sure you have your own WHENs. WHENs are those things that hold us back before we even get started. They give us room to wait, when what we really need to be doing is plowing forward, pushing the WHENs to the side and experiencing the NOWs.

When I sit down to write, finally taking advantage of one of the many short-but-quiet moments life lends me each day, I realize there are NOWs waiting for me.

NOW this feels right.

NOW I have so many stories to tell.

NOW I can write while the kids are napping.

NOW I don't care if the house is clean.

NOW I'm a writer.

The words flow and the negative Inner Editor quiets down, if only for a few minutes. I put words to page and feel that rush of relief and the peace of knowing I'm doing what makes me alive, happy, full.

I realize in those moments that the WHENs are just excuses to stay stuck in the daily grind, in the self-doubt and discontent. Once I start writing despite the WHENs, I find the NOWs were waiting for me all along.

What are your WHENs? How can you move into the NOW?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On Loving Me

Lately, I get most of my reading material from my Facebook newsfeed. Thanks to a widely varied friends list plus my own varied list of Page likes, I get to read about everything from yoga to politics to parenting on any give day. Today, I clicked on one of those shared pieces and it touched me so deeply that I immediately came to my blog to respond.

You see, I can deeply relate to Joni. No, I've never had a six-pack stomach. But I have worked hard to reach a smaller pants size. I did get to a point where I felt happy--with my body (which was not at my goal weight but was comfortable and strong and healthy) and my life. 

These days, I spend a lot of energy beating myself up for all the weight I gained during my recent pregnancies and for my lack of self-discipline to lose that weight now. I see pictures of that body I'd worked so hard for and I want to cry. I loved that body. I was so proud of that accomplishment, of my commitment to my health and well-being. And now I want to get that health and fitness back, but I can barely find the time or energy to take a 10 minute shower much less exercise for an hour. 

So I call myself fat and lazy and undisciplined, and my body stays the same. I look in the mirror and berate myself for allowing things to get this far, even though I know I should love my body as it is, right now, for all the things it can do and has done over the last few years. 

Then I read Joni's piece and I felt my heart warm toward my self, toward my body and my crazy-busy-wonderful life. No, my body is not at it's peak fitness or health. No, I am not as active as I'd like to be. But I do have a strong body, a body that carried and nourished two babies. I am a mother who chases and plays with her toddler and who does her best to teach them healthy habits.

I am who I am and how I am, right now. I won't be that person tomorrow or next month or next year, because I am always changing and growing. But every day I will look at myself in the mirror and I will send myself love rather than disappointment and negativity. And from that love, change will come. 

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