Creation

This week I buckled down and sewed some new throw pillows for the couch. I’d had the fabric for nearly nine months, and it wasn’t until Wednesday that I made it happen.

Now I feel unstoppable.

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I normally consider myself a high-energy person. I’m interested in lots of things and I love the feeling of finishing a project, almost as much as I love beginning new ones. I’ve spent the last several years fighting mediocrity and feeling pretty good about what I’ve accomplished.

But if you’ll take a moment to scroll down to the previous post, you can read a fairly accurate summary of what the past eight months have been like for me – busy, discouraging, exhausting… Needless to say, I haven’t been nearly as productive and energetic during that time.

Until I sewed new pillows.

I feel as if a new world has opened up for me. Or perhaps an old world that used to be familiar, but I had lost sight of. Now I’m looking around myself, seeing possibilities and ideas, and making room in my life for creation and beauty. Considering that my day job is defined by tasks that don’t ever stay done, there’s something so good that happens in my soul when I can create something beautiful and lasting.

When I finish something, whether it’s a draft of a book, or a wedding cake, or new throw pillows for the couch, I feel like a powerful creator with enormous potential.

I feel unstoppable.

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When Momma Ain’t Happy…

I have a bad case of the grumps today.

It’s a perfect cocktail of lack of sleep, deadlines, discouragement, busy kids, and the fact that we’re clean out of ice cream at our house (how did that happen?).

I’m still on track for finishing Old Hag by the end of the month, but this unexpected case of the grumps has derailed all my glorious visions of knocking out thousands of words in a single day.

When I do sit down to write, I see everything in my story through this grumpy lens. My protagonist is pouty. My world is bleak. My characters’ relationships are full of angst.

In some ways that can be useful, because it provides conflict. But the conflict in my writing should be intentional – not a product of my own personal storm cloud.

The solution: Write a navel-gazey blog post, get a full night’s sleep, get those %#$! Halloween costumes finished, enlist Darren’s help with the housework and kids, and keep plugging away at everything tomorrow.

That, and buy more ice cream.

Time Optimism

Confession: I have a tendency to run late.

I’ve struggled with this for as long as I can remember. To Darren, it’s incomprehensible how this can be a struggle for me. Being on time to everything comes easily to him, so he looks at me and thinks, “Just . . . don’t be late.”

I wish it were that easy for me.

But I think I’ve finally figured out what’s at the core of this problem: I’m a Time Optimist. (Not to be confused with Time Lord.)

In other words, I severely underestimate how much time it will take me to get out the door. Usually my estimates of how long it will take to do certain things are based on record highs.

For instance, I have managed to be in and out of the shower in under five minutes, a few times in my life. So when I’m factoring in time for a shower, my mind automatically allots five minutes. I’m being outrageously optimistic.

In addition to assuming I can shower in five minutes, I look at the clock and think to myself, That means I’ll have ten minutes to spare! That’s enough time to throw together a dessert to bring! In reality, that task will take at least 20 minutes.

So I stack up all these things I want to get done, none of which I’m able to do in the time I think I can do them.

And then we’re late. Again.

(Let’s not even get into the complications of trying to get the kids out the door too.)

The solution that seems to work better than anything else I’ve tried is “leaving a margin.”

As I’m planning what needs to happen to get us out the door, I have to stop and consciously add a margin of 15 to 30 minutes. That way, when it takes me ten extra minutes to get dressed, fix my hair, and put on makeup, I’m simply taking time away from the margin.

Or *sigh* perhaps I’m totally crazy and neurotic about the whole issue, and just need to chill.

And seriously, who am I kidding? I hardly ever do my hair and makeup anymore.