Help Me, I'm Drowning
Many writers feel overwhelmed. We’re frequently trying to balance a day job, family, special occasions, emergencies, blogging, social media, laundry and even BATHING. It seems like just about the time we get a good juggling rhythm, someone tosses another bowling pin in our hand (sick kid, car breaking down, computer crashing).
I’d love to say that I’m perfect at these tips I’m about to offer, but I’m a lousy liar. But, I will say that though I’m not where I’d like to be, I’m far from where I used to be (again, thank you Joyce Meyer).
Sometimes We JUST Need to Outsource
I do a fairly good job of at least keeping the house looking like it was hit by a Category ONE Hurricane and not a KATRINA. But, do I have time to scrub all the floors properly and dust the blinds and make the shower sparkle like new? To wipe away ALL the macaroni and cheese The Spawn has painted on various surfaces? To vacuum every crevice filled with Cheerios and cat fur?
*clutches sides laughing*
My solution? Once a month a team of housekeepers come to rescue me. I love Maid Day. It’s like Christmas morning for the working mother. The house smells of Lavender Pine-Sol and everything glows…for at least a half an hour. Granted, I had to give up Bikram yoga (and settle for working out at the regular gym). Also don’t get to eat out as much, but that $90 a month is priceless for my sanity. I tend to be a person that needs things to be tidy or I can’t focus.
Dust bunnies will start a rock band if you leave them together too long.
Redefine What Clean Means
In the comments on my last post, a lot of you fretted about the unmade beds and the dishes and the laundry. I do too. But I am getting better. There was a time I would not have been able to work until I made my house shine like Maid Day. Now? If I can see the floors and flat surfaces?
The inside of my house seriously needs to be painted. I got through half the rooms then developed such bad tendonitis, I couldn’t finish. So the livingroom has patched holes from where the previous owners hung their pictures. We also have a few Crayon “murals” from The Spawn’s early years.
We won’t even begin to discuss the condition of our carpet (Hint: a toddler, two cats and a dog).
But there was a time this would have bothered me to the point of needing medication. I would’ve sold a kidney to hire painters and get new flooring. Now?
Just look away. Learn to un-see.
This past week has been super stressful. Mom in hospital, niece graduation, final revisions on new book, but oddly, what stressed me out the most? The belt on the vacuum broke. Instead of hoofing it across town to the closest vacuum supply, I thought, “Let’s order one off-line. Surely it will get here in a day or so because the place is in Dallas (40 minutes from us).”
It took a WEEK. Apparently the vacuum supply never expected someone to order a belt and BAGS for their vacuum and had to have them shipped from North Carolina.
It’s been over a WEEK since our floors have been vacuumed. O…M…G. That is a week of crumbs, cereal, cat fur, and pieces of plastic from toys Pippa has half-eaten.
Again, just look away. Get back to work.
Does the Five Second Rule apply to dogs sleeping in your clean laundry?
To make it in this game, we have to up our standards in some places (our craft) and lower them in others (laundry can wait, just hide it in the bathtub behind the shower curtain :D). We can’t live at 1000% in all areas and not completely drown. We need lifelines.
When Mom was in the hospital, they kept screwing up her food. She has all the same food allergies as I do (no gluten, dairy, soy, etc.). Harris seriously has the most incompetent kitchen staff, EVER. They put bread on every meal they brought me when I was in the maternity ward. Did the same thing to Mom this past week.
Actual statement from my stay at Harris: But your burger doesn’t have wheat. That’s white bread. *head desk*
But I digress…
There was a time I would have dropped everything, run to Whole Foods and then driven the 40 minutes to Fort Worth to bring her food. This time? Called Palio’s and sent her a GF, dairy-free pizza…twice.
And she loved it.
If you have an intense period of revisions, ask fellow writers for guest posts. Post YouTube videos as your blog. Let your teenage kids find cool stuff for you. Allow your family to be part of your success. Let people help. We like to help.
I know I am still working on this delegating-asking-for-help-thing. I’m the first person to offer a hand, but seriously need to work on asking for help when I’m swamped. But I am improving :D.
All of this is a process. Some days we will rock it and others we will just….
Focus On What Endures
In the end, just remember. The laundry will never be finished. The dishes will never stay clean. Walls will need repainting and carpet will have to be vacuumed weekly…or hourly if you have a toddler. But relationships? Memories with our family and kids? Love? Finished books? Blogs that new people can discover or that can be made into books? Healthy friendships? Our art? Those things endure, thus need to be our priority.
What about you? Do you completely forget to delegate? Does asking for help just not even enter your mind until you’re one inch from a nervous breakdown? Are you good at delegation? Or are you a hopeless control freak (*guilty face*)? Have you learned to be better at asking for help or delegating? Any tips? Advice?
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!