In the Summer of (a Writer’s) Life

I’ve been talking a lot lately about Kristen Lamb‘s Rise of the Machines. And I’m not likely to stop anytime soon because every time I get a minute to read a bit more I end up finding something I want to talk about. It’s just that good. 😀

Today I read a short chapter that invites us to establish which type of writer we are…Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter. Spring writers are the young ones with tons of time, almost no responsibilities, but not a lot of experience. Fall writers are older so they have lots of experience, and they have few responsibilities because their bills are probably paid off and their children are probably grown up. Winter writers are of advanced age, meaning they don’t have a lot of time left to make their writing dreams come true, but the time they do have can be 100% devoted to writing, and they have tons of experience.

I fall firmly into the category of Summer writer. In fact, I fall so firmly in this category that I found myself nodding enthusiastically as I was reading Kristen’s description. Summer writers are still fairly young, but they’re old enough to have gained a bit of worldly experience. At first it seems like an ideal time to be writing, but there are other problems. The biggest problem facing Summer writers is that they are in the most responsibility-laden era of their lives. Summer writers have day-jobs, children, mortgages, car payments, student loan payments, chores and errands that need doing. Summer writers can’t always find time to write because they have to dedicate many of their waking hours dealing with day-to-day career and family issues. Summer writers may be fatigued because they’re run off their asses by household requirements and children keeping them up at all hours of the night.

Summer writers, to put it succinctly, are bogged down with copious amounts of stress. They’re young, and they have experience, but they have no time.

Currently I am experiencing a slight reprieve, as my job out West recently finished and we’ve paid off enough debts that we don’t have to worry about money for a little while. Regardless, a lack of time is still my biggest complaint. On a daily basis, as the sun wanes in the West, I chastise myself for not writing more, and promise to do better the next day. But the next day I find a million other things to do, or the baby has a bad day, or I didn’t get any sleep that night so I’m completely knackered. And so when I do get a few moments when I could be writing, I instead find myself reading or playing video games or watching movies in bed (and trying not to drift off while doing so).

I’m not trying to give myself a pass or anything; I don’t get to just blame all my troubles on the fact that I’m at a particular period of life and I don’t get to whine that I can’t write because everything else is in the way. But I can say that there are challenges, and that I’m definitely not alone in having to deal with them.

No matter the season, all writers have struggles that they must work through, and as a Summer writer, I invite all other “Summers” to struggle with me. We have families and jobs and responsibilities, but we also have writing, and we have each other. We can do it, come hell or high water!

What season are you? What struggles do you fight with because of the time of life you happen to be in? Please share! I’d love to hear from you!

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 23

Would you look at that? Spring actually exists in Nova Scotia! I was really starting to wonder, but Mother Nature has proven my suspicions wrong again, and in one day she managed to sunburn me. You’re a horrible witch, Mother Nature. That’s why I hide inside like a vampire.

Okay, enough foolishness, let’s get down to it:

Health and Body Image Goal

As per tradition, I’ve been eating pretty poorly while I’ve been home, thought it’s been less because of the abundance of awesome food and more because I’ve been extremely busy. Cleaning and cooking are one thing, but having our niece over for a night…those 36 hours may have taken a year off my life. o.O

That said, I’m not feeling too shabby. I gave myself almost a full week off to let my legs heal (running in cheap, Walmart sneakers is not advisable…I ended up with major shin splints and a very achy knee), and then I went out running with my new Saucony sneakers. I know nothing about running shoes, but I thought I’d give these a shot since they were rated well and happened to be on sale, and I’m pretty happy. They give me a little bounce and definitely cushion the impact of hitting the ground. I think I will do well with these.

As an additional note, I hopped on the scale yesterday to see if maybe I was lucky enough to finally drop a pound or two, and found that I’d dropped almost five! Huzzah! A specific amount of weight loss is not my primary goal, but I definitely have some to lose, so it’s good that it’s going. Sometime soon I’ll track down a measuring tape and see what my measurements are looking like as well. I’d like to lose some belly fat, as I’m constantly reading about the dangers of it.

Editing Goal

This is a bit of an odd week that I’m not sure how to report. You see, I technically have been doing some editing…just not on what I’m supposed to be working on. It’s going to take me a while to finish editing Nowhere to Hide, and it occurred to me that the less I have to think about, the easier it will be to find the time and energy to work on it. So I’ve set it aside (for a very short time, I swear) in order to instead edit a short supernatural romance I’ve had done for a while. I know I can whip through this one pretty quickly (I’m already finished two of the ten chapters), and when it’s done I can submit it to the publishers I have in mind and then not worry about it for a while. So, I guess you can say I’ve made progress in that sense, right? 🙂

1,000,000 Word Goal

While focusing on everything else, the actual writing tends to slow down, but I’m happy to report that I managed to squeak out 6867 words over the past week, amongst a number of different things. Currently my yearly total sits at about 125k, which is nowhere where I wanted it to be, but still very good for me. In the coming weeks (particularly if I get laid off soon, which is very likely) I plan to delve into a few books on writing that I hope will help my productivity, amongst other areas. In particular I think I’d like to try out The Artist’s Way. I’m a bit put off by the word “spiritual” in the sub-title, because that word always makes me think of religion, but fellow blogger thelivingnotebook has been talking about the book lately and he makes it sound very interesting, so I’ll give it a shot. 🙂

Now, unfortunately, I have to pull myself out of my cave so I can walk my daughter to playgroup. And you can be damn sure I’ll be covered in sunscreen this time.

Spring Cleaning

Once a year around Spring in Nova Scotia (more times in some places) we have a thing called heavy trash pick-up. The idea is to give people a chance to purge their houses of the kinds of things you can’t just toss on the curb for regular trash pick-up. People get rid of things such as old furniture they no longer want, trash created due to home renovations and/or yard work, and things that have been put in storage that are just taking up space.

Heavy trash pick-up is a bit liberating for me because I tend to have mild hoarding characteristics. I keep things because “I might need them someday!” even though deep down I know they’re never ever going to be used and are just wasting precious space in my house. In previous years I’ve thrown out couches that were just sitting in my basement, broken appliances, and old, old, old hand-me-down gear from when my husband and I first moved in together. This year my curb is covered in giant cardboard boxes collected through purchases over the past several months (car seat, water heater, the baby’s patio table, etc etc etc), and will soon be temporarily housing the water heater that busted a couple of months ago and a Foosball table that my husband was going to fix up but never did. While I wait for the trucks to show up I’ll also be rummaging through the house, gathering up random useless nonsense like lipsticks I never use and super-old dishes that I don’t even like. They’ll all be purged from my home like common vermin, swept out the door with a metaphorical boot to the arse. My house will be better for it, and so will my state of mind.

The thing is, I don’t think many people do these purges nearly as often as they should. I don’t just mean physical trash, though that can definitely put unnecessary stress on a person without them even realizing it. I also mean mental purges. This Spring, take a day to consider all the stuff that’s been weighing on your mind, whether it be financial stress, unrealized goals, an ever-growing to-do list, or your own personal emotional problems. Think about the unnecessary stress these things are putting on your mind and body, figure out what you need to do to abolish that stress, and call a psychological trash collector to come haul it all away. Because just like the trash we tend to collect in our houses, we tend to collect a lot of stuff in our minds that simply has no place and does us no good.

It’s time for some hardcore Spring Cleaning! Join me!

Colds and Memories

It’s finally starting to feel like spring in Atlantic Canada, and with that tends to come a desire to do better. ‘Better’ here refers to anything and everything. I want to write better, do better with the chores and errands, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, whenever I tend to get into these “wanting to do better” moods, something always shows up to put an end to it. In this case, that something is the fact that my daughter and husband are sick as dogs. The little missy threw up sometime after supper on Sunday and just went downhill from there, and by late that night my husband had started to feel it as well. As I type this, my daughter is in bed early, after spending most of the evening groaning and moaning and refusing to eat or drink anything. Its really quite a sin. Small children shouldn’t be allowed to get sick, especially when they’re still too young for you to be able to explain that having something to eat or drink will make them feel better. 😦

And because I don’t want this post to be nothing but baby misery, here’s something completely random:

I was wandering by Tumblr today because my friend has a blog there. For those of you who don’t know, Tumblr has a little automated bot called, creatively enough, TumblrBot, which randomly spits questions at you as ideas for something to blog about. While I was reading a message my friend had left me, I noticed that TumblrBot had left me a question: “What is your earliest human memory?” So I thought about it, and you know what? Hard question! Not because I can’t pick out any specific memories, but because I can’t seem to recall how old I was during these memories. For example, one of the first memories that came to mind was one of my cousin Tommy and I trying to make instant juice at his house. The reason the memory is a memorable one is because we didn’t read the directions right and ended up wasting several packets of the juice crystals. We never actually got the juice. Anyway, I know we were young in that memory, but I can’t remember how young. Old enough to reach the kitchen counters, so not really young.

So what is my earliest memory? I have no idea. But if I had to hazard a guess, I have a hazy memory of being at home when I was really young, back when my parents still had a ton of carpet throughout the house. I was playing on the floor of our kitchen with some kind of Barbie pool playset. I specifically remember there was a toy pool of some sort and mom let me have water in it as long as I stayed on the kitchen floor. I think there were also people visiting at the time, because my memory wants to tell me that there were multiple people in the kitchen with us. I think I may have been somewhere around the age of 4 or 5.

Not a particularly interesting memory, but an interesting concept. So share with me…what’s your earliest memory?