That's been my life for the last month.
The cooking, the cleaning, the decorating, the prayer-services-going, the dressing up, the laundry, the managing children on vacation from school. It's all the same for Jewish holidays as for Christian ones, just in the early autumn when it's not, for the rest of American society, normal.
On top of the normal household holiday stress, it's my day job to plan and facilitate prayers services and events for all of it.
I looked up in the sky last night and almost cried when I saw this:
The lunar month is nearly over. The holidays have died down until Chanukah, which is actually not that big of a deal. I finally took a deep breath.
So, at this point, you won't be surprised that the writing part of my life has fallen far short. It's no secret I've been ignoring my WiP, but I'm ashamed to say that I've ignored a lot of other stuff that writers need to do to succeed, too.
I need some writer's therapy. So here's the plan.
Real, Solid Writing Time
I've been doing a couple hundred words in the 23 minutes it takes my challah to bake, another fifty while I wait for my kid to finish using the bathroom, a couple sentences waiting in line at the grocery store. There's a reason I've only done about 6K in 23 days, and even those words suck. I need some solid writing time, uninterrupted by beeping kitchen timers, laundry that needs to be turned over, temper tantrums or tussles over toys.
And no one's going to give it to me - I've got to claim it for myself.
Here's an inspirational photograph about how something can sprout, flourish and blossom
when you LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE.
(Or: what happens when I don't clean out the potato bin for two months. Oops.)
I've had an absolutely amazing project in my inbox for a month, and another one just arrived. These writers are also part of the critiquing team for ONE, and of course I owe it to them to do my critiquing best on their work.
More than that, though, critiquing makes me a better writer. Not to mention that it's pure writer's therapy to weed passive voice out of a mostly gorgeous manuscript, or to get that "Aha!" moment when you figure out which two words to move around it a sentence to make it really sparkle.
Plus, you know, all the kissing scenes you get to read. Because you can only put so many of those in your own book. (I know. It's sad.)
I'm back to critiquing an hour every morning before the kids wake up, and maybe another hour after they go down to bed, and it feels SO. GOOD.
The last published book I read obsessively cover-to-cover was over a month ago. Not. Okay. Not at all. Especially when I have at least EIGHT on my Kindle I'm dying to read.
First of all, you can't write if you don't read, widely and raptly. I know this. But the fact that I haven't dropped everything to devour these books says a lot about how stressed I've been. Normally I'd be finished with them in less than a week. Yikes.
Here's just one of the many.
Seriously, just looking at this COVER is making me want to call in sick to work.
Taking Care of Myself
I'm a working mother trying to write and publish a book, so I don't even spend TONS of time taking care of myself physically on a good day. But before the holidays, I was at least exercising regularly, taking care of hair cuts and colors, and painting my nails once in awhile.
Another biggie is sleeping enough. Because I don't. As it is, my only really productive writing time is morning through midday, because by 8 PM I am so exhausted I can't formulate original thoughts, let alone make them into coherent and beautiful sentences. When I don't get enough sleep, even the morning/afternoon hours are forfeit, because I'm dozing off or riding a caffeine buzz (also not great for the fetus, sorry baby) that only really makes me jittery, not productive.
So, that's my plan for getting back to healthy writer-dom! When you need writer's therapy, what works for you? I could always use more suggestions.