With January rapidly approaching and my sophomore effort at being an author not even close to finished, I’m way too Zen to be this far from my goal.
I should be more nervous.
I don’t even have writer’s block–I have writer’s blah. Nothing I’m writing–when I even write–seems to be too terrific. My Internal Editor is in full force and effect and she is loud. And demanding. And annoying. She hasn’t made an appearance for awhile and she chooses now to show up?
I’m so over her.
In my procrastinating–which many artists, dreamers, writer’s and creative types will tell you is a necessary part of the process–I’ve come up with my Top 7 Ways to Avoid Writing Altogether.
1. Clean stuff. I loathe cleaning but when I’m under the gun it sure seems like I have a cleaning emergency. This week alone I have finished my girly Harry Potter under the stairs closet and started going through kids’ clothes to donate. Who is this woman and what has she done with my domestically challenged self?!
2. Writing on my blog. I have been so neglectful of my blog this fall and now it seems I’m brimming with ideas. I can’t stop. Someone help me.
3. Cleaning out my email inbox. Why oh why do several of my procrastination techniques involve cleaning? It must be a sickness. And why can’t I just do this all the time?
4. Checking new releases on Netflix. Yep, if I’m already “working” in my jammie pants and am burrowed into the nest in our bed and I’m tired of cleaning out my inbox I tend to need to see what’s new on Netflix. It’s all about being at the forefront of trends.
Because that will help me write.
5. Drinking coffee. You wouldn’t think drinking coffee would help my procrastination…but it does. I can tell myself to linger over a cup of liquid sanity in the stillness of the morning before everyone’s awake like no one’s business. Or tell myself just one more cup. Because if you’re not shaky it’s not enough coffee.
Speaking of, I think I’ll grab another cuppa joe while I procrastinate finishing this list of procrastination techniques…
©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
After being down for the count this weekend after a little surgery I had the humbling realization that I might not be Wonder Woman.
I might not be able to do everything for everybody all of the time. I may not be someone who can pour herself into all those around her constantly and consistently. All the time. Day after day.
No one can.
I realized that I needed that reminder to slow down and take care of myself because I haven’t been doing very much of that lately. And it shows in my patience. And in my kindness. And in my attitude.
So I’m going to remember to do some things for myself, even in the midst of the crazy around here. This is sort of a Bill of Rights of Self Care, if you will.
1. I will take time for myself. Even if I don’t know how to fit it in, I will squeeze out that precious commodity of time for me. I’m worth the time, and it’s the only way I won’t crush my kids like bugs some days.
2. I will remember and embrace the things that made me…me. Taking time to do the things I love–like walking and being artsy and playing music and meeting girlfriends for coffee–these things bring me joy and make me feel like I am more than Mama. I love being Mama and I throw myself into it so much that I lose myself in that role sometimes. I need to do the things that remind me of who I am.
3. I will enjoy each moment as it comes. Each minute that passes is one I’ll never get back. With myself. With my kids. With my husband. Choosing to embrace all that is right now is a way of not getting too wrapped up in what’s going wrong but focusing on what’s going right.
5. I will give myself a break. When it’s all falling apart, I will let myself off the hook. I will remind myself that I am a woman of faith and things are coming together and I’m doing the best I can. And when it seems to be going wrong, I’ll rely on that faith to get me through the day or hour or situation.
Be sure to put yourself on the To Do List–you are important, friends, and you can’t care for your loved ones unless you first take care of yourself.
©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
Confession time: I am a classic procrastinator. As if you didn’t know😉
If I’m not interested in the thing in supposed to be doing, I procrastinate by watching copious amounts of Netflix with Mr. Wonderful, painting my nails, blogging, Instagramming, and (gasp!) cleaning. And y’all know I am not fond of cleaning. Sometimes I just need the pressure of a deadline squeezing me from all sides to finish things.
Ladies and gents, I’m may be there. I’m not sure though because I’m procrastinating taking a hard look at things around here.
I’m procrastinating some of my day job stuff. I’m procrastinating writing. And laundry. Stupid laundry! This should tell you how desperate things have become at my house in the laundry realm–this is my second post today that mentions laundry.
Are y’all super-organized-early-arriving-get-everything-done-two-weeks-before-it’s-due types? If so, color me impressed. And shoot me some ideas about how to get organized.
If you’re a procrastinator like me, how do you bust out of the procrastinating in time to get stuff done?
I know sometimes creative types like myself have troubles in this area. This knowledge further fuels my procrastinating because I tell myself this is normal. Also there’s the whole four kids and caregiving for my hubby that I sometimes use as an excuse to let things go.
And if we’re being really honest, because this is just between us, sometimes I feel like since I’m a grownup now, I have days where I just don’t feel like adulting. Or being responsible.
Today is a day where adulting feels slightly beyond my grasp. I think I may see what’s on Netflix…
©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
Can I tell you how much I do not like 5:00 a.m.?
I haven’t been up this early–or let’s be real, stayed up this late–since college. Which has been a minute. Even with all four of my babies, they at least went back to sleep for a few hours. And now I
jump roll out of bed before the butt crack of dawn and I don’t like it.
But I have to do this because I am writing my second book. My sophomore effort. My #2. And 5:00 a.m. is the only time that I ever have a moment to think a thought all the way through to fruition. This is kinda important if you call yourself a writer.
And I am a writer. I accidentally wrote my first book called My Pink Champagne Life a few years ago. I didn’t start out to write a book; I had just been through a lot of changes and truly writing was my therapy. There were no expectations; no one even knew I was writing a book except my husband. And there were no deadlines. I was free to let my creative process go where it may. Which is why I wrote most of the book in late 2011-early 2012 and it didn’t come out until February of this year.
I’m not great with deadlines.
Now I have both expectations and deadlines and I’m a little bit nervous. Not to mention I still don’t really know what I’m doing. My plate is so much more full now that I’m on my next effort and I get a little scared. Since I write about my traveling circus family, I am opening up the door to our complete crazy for the whole world to view, judge, peer into. It’s a bit disconcerting if I think about it too long.
And this time around I’m writing about seriously hard and life-changing things. Life-shattering things. I don’t know about you other writers out there but for me it’s a bit like living through it all again when I write about the last two years of our story. I’m using words like PTSD and traumatic brain injury and financial hardships and four kids and baby spit up and caregiving, you know, real sexy topics.
But I believe in telling the truth. And the truth is our story isn’t always rainbows and butterflies like I would like it to be. My hope is that maybe my truth will help someone else in the midst of a truth they didn’t want any part of. That maybe our story and our crazy and our suffering followed by absolute redemption will give hope to someone who is buried in a dark corner and believes they are all alone.
Have I mentioned how much I hate 5:00 a.m.? For the foreseeable future this is my waking time. But I am trying to appreciate the benefits this provides me. I am watching sunrises that are gorgeous beyond belief. I get to hear and feel and breathe in the silence while everyone else is sleeping peacefully. There is an openness to my spirit at this time of the morning, before the day has corrupted my thoughts or pushed me down or some days, run me over. I am more alive, more vibrant, more me during my quiet time than any other part of the day.
It’s when I’m Meredith.
Not caregiver or mama or employee or chauffeur or wife or maid or any of the other hats that I wear. I love my hats. But sometimes it feels good to just be me.
I am a writer. Of books and thoughts and talks and life. It’s difficult sometimes, but it’s exactly where I am supposed to be.
(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) Copyright Meredith Shafer 201
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I wish I was one of those ladies who had a naturally organized home. I truly need it, especially with as many moving parts as we have around here.
But it’s a weird cycle when organization’s not your gift. You need to get things organized before you can organize.
Who has time for that?
I don’t necessarily need a clean house; I just long to know where everything is: a place for everything and everything in its place.
I already have a place for everything. And I have five other people who sometimes decide a new place is in order.
How do you combat this???
No seriously, how?
We moved last year into a wonderful home that I love and adore. There is a lot of storage and there’s a lovely upstairs which we’ve dubbed the Kid Zone. I can shut the door to the noise and mess and voila! Peace and quiet.
Or as much quiet as four kids can muster during waking hours.
I long for the neatly organized offices and bathrooms and kitchens I see when peruse Pinterest. Are these for real? Do any of y’all live like this?
But then I realize I’m me and this isn’t my gift and while I will continue to strive to know where more of my stuff is, my creative side still needs just enough chaos, just enough mess to keep it real.
But I wouldn’t turn down a cleaning lady.
(Photo credit operationorganizationbyheidi.com) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015
We’ve been through more than our share of health stuff, doctor visits, speech therapy appointments, broken arm stuff, hurt backs, babies, stitches, casts and bed rest.
And every time we start down one of those roads the doc in charge says something like, “Don’t worry, it’s a routine procedure.” Each time I hear this I think two things: 1) maybe for you buddy and 2) I hate routine!
As an artsy fartsy type I enjoy my share of spontaneity. I like blowing off responsible things to go do fun things. I enjoy not knowing where the day will take me. Laissez les bons temps rouler! That’s New Orleans for let the good times roll.
Sidebar: don’t use this phrase in France-they’ll laugh at you. And if my mom the French professor is reading this, please don’t correct my spelling.
What was I saying? Oh yes, routines. There are dance routines, morning routines, exercise routines. There are daily routines and something called a routine activities theory that has to do with the study of crime. And there’s the aforementioned routine procedure.
Somewhere along the way to adulthood, I got the idea in my head that routine is bad. Limiting. Difficult to stick with and frankly, a creativity crusher.
And then I had four kids.
Trying to be awesome and fun and artsy and spontaneous with four kids is anything but routine. It’s hard and I admit, I have not mastered it. In fact, with all of these beautiful little kids running around, I have felt the need to figure out this routine thing. Yep, I said it. I need a routine.
Because without some semblance of a plan around here, things start falling apart and Mama doesn’t have any time for herself. I start getting very cranky. Both from not being able to do stuff I want/like/need to do and from not being able to herd all these
cats kids through our days. Seriously, some days I would swear to you there were at least 10 children living under my roof.
I used to watch The A-Team when I was a kid. There was this eclectic mix of people that brought all different kinds of talents to the table. And something always exploded. They were your basic hero vigilantes for justice.
Sounds a lot like my family. Except we’re not on the lam for a crime we didn’t commit. And only one of us has any military training. Oh, and generally we frown on things exploding. But we each have something to bring to the family table. And we work hard. Sometimes even towards the same goal. And if I got my butt in gear and did a little planning, who knows what we could accomplish?
It’s possible we could rule the world.
I love it when a plan comes together.
(Photo credit IMDb.com)
Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015