Friday, October 25, 2013

Crazy Times

This blog post was written last week, but didn't post.  I'll add an update tomorrow on the wedding mentioned below.
If you've ever been involved in a wedding or even the planning of a wedding, you know how crazy it can get as the big day approaches.  That's where we--meaning my family--is right now.

Tomorrow is the big day for daughter #3.  Later today is the rehearsal.  The simple act of getting the details of who needs to be there and when has been hashed and re-hashed over the past week.  If we're lucky, all will go well.  But isn't there an old superstition that if the rehearsal goes well, the wedding won't?  Then I guess I'll hope for a crazy rehearsal.

Added to all the wedding insanity is another deadline.  What I plan to be the last book in my series set in Desperation, Oklahoma (aka Hearts of Desperation) is due in one month.  And there's very little written at this point.

So what's a writing mother-of-the-bride to do?  Get through the next two days, then resolve to stay off Facebook and playing Spider Solitaire for the next month.  It's BIC-HOK time, starting Sunday, no matter the hangover from of a day of festivities.  Hey, I survived the Bridal Shower and the Bachelorette Party (my first), so surviving the wedding, reception, dinner and dance should be a breeze, right?  Here's to hoping.

What is BIC-HOK?  It's a term coined by a group of romance writers back in the late 1990s who participated in Cata-Romance, an email group to cuss and discuss writing, especially category romance.  BIC-HOK is short for Butt In Chair-Hands On Keyboard.  It means working without excuses.  And we all know how hard that can be.

There will always be times when our writing schedules and goals have to take a backseat to other things in life.  My writing schedule has been hijacked, so I'm now two weeks behind.  That doesn't mean that I throw up my hands and give up.  That deadline is still there and isn't moving, not one inch.  What it does mean is that adjustments must be made and work must be done, in spite of everything that might come up, including the demands of family.

I Am Writing

Not only must we train ourselves, but family must be trained, too.

Years ago, the lesson in my life and my daughters' lives had to be learned that writing time is writing time.  There's an "old" saying about mothers who write that says mothers should tell their children not to bother Mom, unless blood, flood, or fire is involved has to be put into effect.  Okay, broken bones can be added, if really needed.  Interruptions while writing can kill the muse faster than anything.  My days are sectioned off in 2 1/2 hour increments.  I'm the get-to-school and get-home person for one granddaughter, and the get-home for the other four, which involves a trip to two different schools at different times.  Those small sections of time between trips are usually quiet.  Those are the times when I can write.  Instead, I've put off writing, because of other interruptions and changed plans.  I understand, while staring at that circled deadline date on the calendar, that the time has come when I must take a stand that interruptions and changed plans will not be tolerated.

Easier said than done, but it's always worth a try.  And another, and another...

I'm lucky in one respect, because I have most of the evening hours to get some writing done.  I don't watch a lot of TV.  If I did, there wouldn't be writing time.  I'd be sitting in front of the screen, watching anything and everything that caught my fancy.  I gave that up a long time ago, when I discovered I couldn't watch and write.  It hasn't killed me yet, and I don't see that it will in the future.

Some people reading this might be thinking, "Yeah, but she doesn't have small children."  While that's true, what I do have are older-not-living-with me-and-with-families-of-their-own children.  And they all live nearby.  Two of them very nearby, one farther, and the youngest in the same house with me.

My youngest was seven when I attended my first writers conference.  My oldest was seventeen.  The two in-between were in high school, so, it's correct that I didn't have little ones to watch closely.  But I also know that, even if I was writing, I would and did make time for them.

There's always a way, and family will always come first.

I've admitted before that I'm not a person who runs well on a schedule.  I'm also the Queen of Procrastination.  Somehow, I do get things done, usually on time, sometimes in a big rush.  I set goals, and I do whatever is necessary to reach them.  Over the past few weeks, the wedding prep and all the other things in life have reached a fever pitch.  Writing, except for a few pages, hasn't gotten done.  I'm not quitting, just because the schedule has fallen apart.  It's schedule revision time.  It may mean having very little free time for a few weeks, but it doesn't mean I won't be accessible to those who are near and dear.

If you're struggling to juggle, take a step back, see what can be temporarily cut from your days or nights, and then do it.  In time, many things can be added back into the schedule.  Trying to balance everything when life is beginning to spin out of control is an effort in futility.  Work with it, not against it.  You may find you like a more structured and, yes, even selfish life when time has become more balanced than before.

If you've found a particular way that's helped you get more writing done while dealing with real life, feel free to share.  We're all on the same path, bumpy as it is.
The secret to modern life is finding the measure in time management. I have two kids, career and I travel, and I don't think my life is any different than most couples. The most valuable commodity now for many people is time and how to parcel that out.  ~ Hugh Jackman

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