A Day in the Life of a Busy Writer.
If you’re like me, (and have been blessed with a lovely X chromosome) there aren’t enough hours in the day. We have our families and friends, with all the drama that entails, plus our jobs – inside or outside the home – and some days it feels like everyone wants a piece of us. This is not good – this causes wrinkles and tension headaches and a grim expression that will cement itself to your face until the end of time.
For me – if I'm not careful – these obligations seem to expand and contract directly with whatever time I have available for writing. Sadly – this can, if I let it – eat up all my writing time. Since we don't live in a cave, I am obliged to keep up the home front while pursuing my writing and I've developed a system that works for me.
# 1 – Appearance – ‘Presentation is Everything'
You may be one of those lucky ones with long hair that you can pile up into a messy bun, showing off your oh-so-slender neck to its best advantage and off you go. Alas – this is not the case for moi.
But – I have a hack for that! A quick shower and a bit of hair product smooshed into my short hair achieves that tousled look that’s so popular, (bed-head in disguise). I pretend it’s all over the place on purpose and no one’s called me on it so far – to my face, at least.
A bit of blush on my pale, northern climes, ‘Where did the sun go?' Canadian face and some comfy clothes and I'm ready to face the world. What makes me smile these days are my ‘Mister Monopoly’ slippers. I make my bed – less than perfect is good enough – scoop clothes and dishes from the room and close the door behind me.
# 2 – First out of the Gate: Laundry, always Laundry
One load of laundry every day gets me where I want to go. That’s seven a week – plenty. If it ever got to the point where it isn't enough, I refuse to do more laundry – I'll toss clothes first! I start my one load each day first thing, and dry it some time throughout the day when emerging from my office for a bathroom break or a cup of tea or lunch. Everything we own must be folded or hung up from the dryer. If it can't be, it doesn't belong at my house.
I’ve ironed one shirt for my husband during our entire marriage (it helps that he's a mechanic) – for him to wear to a funeral. I feel I haven’t missed a thing …
#3 – Housework Parameters – I set my kitchen timer into 4 15-minute segments.
1st 15 Minutes: Clean Kitchen – I make sure the dishwasher is empty first thing in the morning. Piling dirty dishes into the dishwasher throughout the day keeps the kitchen semi-clean. A sink of warm soapy water takes care of the rest.
2nd 15 Minutes: Breakfast – Something quick and easy that featuring lots of protein. Oatmeal with protein powder. Cottage cheese and fruit. Fruit and veg smoothie, again with protein powder or greek yogurt. Sausages – yum … And I clean up my mess.
3rd 15 Minutes: Main Living Area Tidy – This goes quick because everything has a place. I have some cool containers (from Winners – Yay Winners!!) that hold all the fiddly stuff like remotes and devises, chargers, nail files, nail polish – you get the idea. We have an open concept house, so there really is no ignoring the mess. It has to go – in 15 minute increments.
4th 15 Minutes: Do something permanent. Here's where I tidy one drawer in a cabinet, straighten one shelf in the pantry, wash a bay window, arrange a seasonal decoration that makes me smile. Remember – only 15 minutes, then I'm done.
Cool hack. My sister lives in Edmonton, about 8 hours drive from me. We have one another on our long distance favorites list, so no charges when calling. Many mornings we hook up our phones with ear buds, pocket our phones and each do an hour around the house while chatting. Face it – housework is a no-brainer, lending itself well to a great telephone visit. Two tasks at once – win-win.
“Why so regimented?” you may ask.
I stick to the 1 hour because I'm kind of a neat freak, and this cleaning thing could get WAY OUT OF CONTROL. Yes, if I spent lots of time on my environment, you could eat your meals off any surface in my house, and the place would absolutely ooze serenity, but there would be no books … And that's the whole point – writing books I love! It's my passion.
#4 – Before I schlepp into my office with a Chai Tea Latte…
I think about dinner. Need something out of the freezer? I take it out now to cook later, or maybe only reheat. This is where making two dinners and freezing one comes in very handy! Lasagna, Borscht, Shepherds pie, Cabbage rolls, Spaghetti sauce, whatever I've put aside for busy days. I also keep one or two of our favorite frozen pizzas for really busy days. 14 minutes at 450 sounds good to me.
My awesome husband can be pressed into duty as my delegate as well. He'll swing by the grocery store and pick up milk and bread on the way home from work if I ask (and bring home pickled eggs as well – an unhappy occurrence at our house, I am sad to report).
A rotisserie chicken and fresh deli salad from the grocery via my delegate when I'm on a writing roll is another alternative, and really – how bad can they screw up a roast chicken, right?
All this won’t work, of course, if I don't sit my butt into my chair and write. So, in I go. It's not torture, trust me. I love writing. Five or six hours of writing, for me, passes like twenty minutes. I get lost in the story and the characters, and when I look up, I'm often shocked to see how much time has gone by. My husband says he can always tell when I've had a solid writing day – I'm so happy!
By honoring the commitments I've made to myself I am a happier person. (And much easier to live with, I'm told. LOL)
Is there something you're passionate about? Is it painting? Volunteering? Knitting? Scrapbooking? Walking your dog? Writing? (High five!) Whatever your passion, whatever makes your heart happy, make room for it, go get it, make it happen.