We are spending our last weekend before school starts…doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Avery’s a 5th grader now, so that means homework, homework, homework. I don’t think she realizes how much there will be, since she hasn’t had any for the past few years. Now she’ll have homework in every class. So do I, so I can feel her pain.
Well, that’s it for now. Gotta get back to doing nothing.
Today I had Lauren write a little letter to her teacher for next week. She just wrote down some of the things that she did this summer, such as swimming, going to Gramma and Papa’s, and playing My Little Pony.
I helped her with spacing, capital letters, commas and spelling. It made me see how far she has come in just a few years. She’s a SIXTH GRADER now. I can’t even believe it.
It’s hard, day in and day out, doing the same things. Feeling the same feelings. Fighting the same battles. I used to have a really tough time getting out this hole – deep, dark, bottomless. I’ve learned some tips to make my bad days seem…not so bad.
It’s obviously the healthiest beverage choice, and the cheapest. I keep a 64oz container of water in the fridge, ready to go when I need it. Staying hydrated is important anyway – but this is the best choice when you are grumpy. Caffeine makes me jittery and hurts my stomach, which doesn’t do anything to improve my mood, no matter how good it may taste at the time.
I am grateful for so much in my life. My kids. My family. My friends (it still makes me smile, writing friends. I spent many years alone.) After all that’s happened, I look back on how far I’ve come – and my kids – and remember that God used that experience to shape me into what I am now – and what I have yet to become. Sit down and make a list of everything you are grateful for today.
I hate exercise. I hate being outside. I hate being sweaty. But there’s something about moving, burning calories, that makes me feel so much better when I’m done. My current go-to is walking, but I’ve been thinking about trying yoga – I know my kids would love it – and the benefits are endless. Do you have any tips, YouTube channels or advice on how to get started with yoga, especially as someone who is not flexible at all?
MAKE A LIST
Sometimes, I make a simple to-do list, adding things like: eat breakfast, wash the dishes, take a shower. When life gets crappy, seeing even routine things crossed off a physical list can be powerful.
Write it all out. Get it down on paper, or type it out on your computer or phone. It can help you sort through what’s making you so grumpy. It’s like venting to a friend. Or…
Reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Most of the time, they will be more than willing to listen and they may even have some suggestions. Bonus points if they meet with you in person. Sometimes, when you feel crappy, you don’t want to be alone.
GET A HOBBY
Find something you genuinely love to do. For me, it’s taking photos of my kids, writing YA paranormal fiction and reading through the Harry Potter series.
Sidenote: if you have meds, take them! If you don’t, and think you might need them, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about it!
When all else fails, lounge on the couch and binge-watch some Parks & Rec or Supernatural. Sometimes, you just need to feel crappy for a little while. Just don’t let it go on too long!
Avery started reading the Wings of Fire series last year because it was in her classroom library. I saw the third book of The Menagerie series (by the same author) at the library a few weeks ago and ordered them for Avery.
She is halfway through the first book and is on track to finish the series by the beginning of September. Her favorite thing about the books? That they are about animals – including mythical and extinct ones. (She wanted me to let you know that there’s a Woolly Mammoth named Captain Fuzzpants).
Since I haven’t been writing much lately, I need to ease back into it. I am planning on using tips from Kristen Kieffer at Well-Storied to create my daily writing schedule.
First, I need to come up with a daily word count minimum. I can barely crank out 50 words for journaling some days, so I will aim for 100 words a day on any one of my various works-in-progress or something new. I will not count my journaling, since that’s non-fiction.
Second, I will have to write early in the morning, since I am usually a night owl and I want to change things up. School starts in a few weeks, so getting up early will need to become habit again. I’ll set my alarm for 5am and be writing by 5:15am.
Third, I need to decide where I am going to write. Some nights, I bring my laptop upstairs with me, with the goal of getting things done, but I usually fall asleep instead. To wake me up in the mornings though, I suppose having to walk all the way downstairs to use my laptop will be better than hitting snooze.
Last, I need to have some sort of small goal to work towards. In one month (31 days from tomorrow), I want to have written 3100 words. If I reach that goal, I will get to buy a new notebook (my favorites are Fringe Studio notebooks from TJ Maxx).
When I wrote the first post back in May, I was in a relationship. Some of my goals were relationship-oriented. Now that I am very happily single, I feel the I need to update my goals again.
Go swimming with my kids
Take them to more social events
Make progress in therapy
Try new foods from the local Farmer’s Market
Go to an outdoor movie
Pick fruit this summer
Get back into consistent blogging
Take daily photos
Get in the photos with my kids
Take more selfies
Walk every single day
More deliberate self-care
Less Netflix, more nature
Use my planners more
Plan more self-care nights
Use my free time more wisely
Use my phone LESS
Go out to dinner alone once a month
Write with my (many) pens more
Take a portrait of my kids each month
Get a haircut
Get some sun (safely) this summer
Go see a movie alone
Word hard in therapy
Drink a lot more water every day
Get back into writing fiction
Focus on school and get my last year out of the way
Figure out who I am and be that.
Not too many things have changed, and now that I am looking back on this list, I need to get a move on the summer stuff! It’s already mid-August – my classes start in a little over a week and the kids go back the day after Labor Day. Summer is flying by and we’ve been a little lazy!
I recently learned that my procrastination is linked to perfectionism. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I don’t remember. But either way, they are linked. (It’s also linked to anxiety, but we won’t go there yet.) I am by no means a Type A/Everything has to be perfect-person but I seem to forget that a first draft can be revised – and it should be revised.
A first draft is supposed to be messy and not always make sense and there might be plot holes and you might forget some details. That’s okay. That’s why it’s a first draft.
Another mark of perfectionism according to Mandy Wallace is that you spend more time reading about writing than actually writing. Yep. This is me. At any given time, I have at least ten tabs open on my laptop (and at least ten more open on my phone) for writing advice sites. But actually putting those practices to work? Yeah, no. It’s too hard.
Not Having a Writing Schedule
Right now, I write whenever inspiration strikes, which isn’t often, I’ll be honest. I spend more time trying to force myself to write than writing (goes along with the point above). So I looked up how to set a writing schedule. James Clear has a great list of Twelve Famous Writers and their schedules. But I was looking for something a little more…normal.
On almost every site, it says that you should figure out whether you write better in the morning, at night, or somewhere in between. I guess I am a night owl, since I am nearly useless in the morning. The Write Practice suggests that instead of writing at night like I am used to, I should switch it up and write early in the morning. I may have to give this a try. At the very least, it will be good to see a sunrise again.
This is something I do in almost every area of my life. I hold myself back, stop myself from making progress. Why? Who knows? Maybe my therapist can help me figure it out.
The first thing that jumped out at me on Kristen Lamb‘s site was this: “Most of us fear we don’t have what it takes.” I think this is true because there are countless stories of writers publishing their work and not selling anything. Or some writers never even publish because they don’t think it’s good enough. She mentions “pantsing” in her post. It’s not what you think – in the writing world, it means that you fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to your writing. No plotting, no character/world-building. Just writing. I’m pretty much a pantser. This is actually a great post – she lists the ways that writers self-sabotage and also ways to get over it. I’ll definitely be trying some of these!
Sounds like I have a bit of work to do before my classes start in two weeks!
Kindergarten books. Because, duh (her words). She’s so excited for kindergarten but I don’t think she really gets that she will be in school all day, every day. It won’t be like it was in preschool where she got days off during the week and rest time in class. I’ve been to one of the kindergarten classes at her school and can confirm there is zero time for resting. Those little kids work hard to learn everything they need to learn and they do a great job. On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome snacks and the playground is just a few feet from her classroom door.
She reads the books by describing what’s happening in the pictures. She’s really good at figuring it out!