Back-To-Writing

Pen en papier / Pen and paper

Pen en papier / Pen and paper (Photo credit: Nationaal Archief)

Back-to-school (BTS) is less than a week away for our dudes.

It’s giving me anxiety. I wake up with a crippling “to do” list scrolling on my mental screen. And I fall asleep the same way.

  1. Order uniforms – Surprisingly between the end of school and now my dudes have grown. Go figure.
  2. Buy school supplies – It’s my favorite thing about back-to-school.
  3. Coordinate drop offs and pick-ups – The bane of my existence. They get out of school at 3PM. I get off work at 5PM.

There aren’t any checkmarks to signify completion of any of these” to do” list items.

  1. Buy shoes – First must practice tying shoes or plan on shoes without laces.
  2. Buy backpacks – Not cool licensed stuff like Batman and Sonic because they don’t last. Need something reinforced. Boring.

And the list goes on and on …

  1. Discuss lunch options – Need choices that can survive without refrigeration.
  2. Get haircuts – Now, not later. It will grow out just the right length before pictures.
  3. Buy glasses wipes – Little people don’t care about grime.

Oh, I know some of you are feeling my pain. But that’s what BTS looks like for my dudes. These are the things Momma needs to do to get them ready for the 2013-2014 school year.

 

14:365 Pen & Paper

14:365 Pen & Paper (Photo credit: mattbeckwith)

BTS looks different for me personally. This year, BTS for me is Back-To-Writing. Writerly me needs a back-to-school program!

For those of you who don’t know, I started writing my first novel in August 2010. The idea came to me one morning while I was curling my hair. A flash of brilliance.

I was excited and the words flowed. Then I realized I had no idea what I was doing. So I started looking for help and there’s an abundance of it available. By abundance I mean more than any one writer could ever sift through.

It was paralyzing to realize all I didn’t know. Plus, it was overwhelming to realize what I did know and maybe wasn’t applying right.

In August 2011, I reset my goal. Put my word count goal in Scrivener again.

In August 2012, I reset the goal again. I’m half way there.

We’re coming to the end of August 2013 and I am facing my third reset. I have mixed feelings.

I think: “Why am I not done yet?”
Then, I think: “No worries. Take your time.”

I’m sure some of you are ready for the whining about the novel and my writing process for it to be over.

But my enthusiasm has waned and with it my habits. I’ve gotten sloppy.

How do I combat this slowdown in progress? How do I overcome this dwindling enthusiasm and momentum?

Easy! Back-To-Writing.

By getting back to the basics and rebuilding my writing habits, which means, I must write daily; adhering to word count and time goals.

Discipline is the key.

I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Twenty one days of doing a task over and over to make it second nature.

 

Calendar Card

Calendar Card (Photo credit: Joe Lanman)

So here I go … 21 days of writing new words every day. That’s my first semester or quarter or marking period. Call it what you will.

It won’t matter what I write at this point. I just need to be intentional about sitting down each day to write. Words on the page. It could be novel writing or blogging. It just needs to be daily.

For the past 6 months or so my characters have been on sabbatical. Their leisure time is over. It’s time for the hard work. Together we will finish this.

Otherwise, the characters from a second novel idea will breakthrough. They’ve been knocking at the door and whispering to me in my sleep. But I refuse to answer until I finish book idea one to satisfaction.

Oh and did I mention, if I miss one day, then I will have to start over counting my 21 days. I will reset daily if necessary to avoid resetting at the end of August 2014. FINISH.

Once I complete a full 21 days of writing, I’ll up the ante by selecting specific word counts per day or time writing per day. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted. And, you can help hold me accountable.

I had good habits in the beginning when I was ignorant. Maybe naïve is a better word. Either way I want to have that sense of innocence back; that feeling of invincibility. I can do this.

What does BTS look like for you? What will you rededicate yourself to? Will you get Back-To-Writing? Creating? Painting?

Images through WordPress…

 

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If I Were Being Stalked by a Serial Killer, I’d Be a Goner

Suzie Spoon - Serial Killer

Suzie Spoon – Serial Killer (Photo credit: What What)

I love routine. My movements could be easily mapped. My patterns of behavior would be predictable.

Each day of every week looks pretty much the same. Some of you are already thinking:  BORING. But I’m of the school of thought that structure can be liberating. It maybe infinitesimal but it’s liberating none the less.

I AM A CREATURE OF HABIT! And proud of it. But it would make me an easy mark.

Weekday mornings I am “Major Mom” barking out orders like a drill instructor:

  • Eat
  • Brush
  • Dress
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Car
  •  NOW.
  • Move

My kids like “routine” too even if they won’t admit it. Okay, honestly, I’m sure they’d prefer Mommy taking a less militant approach but this is the only one I’ve got. Anyway, they like knowing what to expect next. (My husband is the adventurous, no script required, one in our household.)

I take the same route to work every day … at the same times. If I have to make stops, I plan them so that I don’t have to deviate much.

Back-to-School this year has been torture because nothing is routine. Why?

I’ve spent most of the past year getting just me out the door. Sure I woke the boys and fed them and laid out their clothes but hubby handled getting them out the door (which is the hardest part). I was comfortable.

Now I am managing it all including drop offs. To a new school. That’s in a different direction. And Tuesdays and Thursdays are different than Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, thanks to 3 day a week kindergarten.

I am totally freaking out. It’s only been 4 days and we haven’t hit our stride which makes me weary.

Have you ever heard the 21-days-to-a-new-habit philosophy? You know, the theory that it takes 21 days of practicing something in order to forma new habit; for it to become automatic. It’s heavily touted in the world of motivation.

I’ve never made it to day 21 for any specific action or behavior that I wanted to make a habit. Mostly because I lose track; stop counting the days but keep practicing. Continued practice can lead to operating on autopilot. Let me be honest … I usually give up. Because I want results now … I don’t want to wait 21 days or longer.

I begin this new school year in the mode of trial and error which is driving me insane. Like pull my hair out, curl up in a ball, and suck my thumb, kind of crazy.

Best routes from the new school to work? I don’t know. Not yet. Best path with the least traffic to the new school from home? Not sure. Yet. Best way to get back to school and pick up the dudes? No, idea. At least, not yet.

There is one plus in all this uncertainty:  I am safe from any would be stalkers. Each day has been different.

Like yesterday morning when my youngest said, “I forgot my water battle in Daddy’s car.”
To which I replied, “You left it at home?”
“No. I left it in Daddy’s car.”
“Which is at home. Do you really need it?”
“Yes,” through tears.

I went back to the house to get it. Why? Because he’s already struggling with starting kindergarten and this gave him peace of mind. Because that’s the kind of mom I am. Because, like I said, I’m crazy.

Or, like Wednesday when we had to go by the sitters to pick up the new hoodie my youngest left there because he needed it for the first day of school. “It’s part of my uniform.” It didn’t matter that it was already 80 degrees out. We took the detour to get it.

Take that serial stalker … you’ll have to wait a few months for me to figure out my routine. Then you can pick the best spot to nab me. Okay … seriously … I prefer not to be stalked or killed or kidnapped.

Alright, fess up. What routines are you not willing to let go of? What habits do you wish you could keep the same but are forced into changing? I can’t be the only one bordering on the obsessive compulsive.