Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quandaries


So, YESTERDAY was the day I was going to get back on track with my novel. But I woke up with a terrible cough, there was the fiasco with the strawberry shortcakes, and it was all I could do to get the holiday meal on the table by 4. By the time it was all over, I was too tired to do anything but blog about the day, take my allergy meds, and pass out.

Unfortunately, TODAY was more of the same, except I had 14 piano lessons to teach and piles of laundry to do on top of cooking dinner. Also, I have an extra teenager staying with us for a while - parents do the strangest things - and the cough is lingering; I am terrified I am on the verge of another bout with bronchitis. To make matters worse, my grass is several inches high and my lawn mower won't start. I don't know how to fix it and I have no money to throw at the problem.

I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR ANY OF THIS. I HAVE A NOVEL TO REVISE.

When I am a New York Times Best Selling Author, I will *PAY* somebody to do my laundry, clean my house, paint my rooms, and mow my lawn. But how do I manage in the meantime?

How do *YOU* do it? How do you juggle children/housework/laundry/full-time jobs with writing? I don't happen to have a significant other, but I might someday, so if you do, how does that primary relationship figure into the equation?

Inquiring minds want to know.

22 comments:

flywingslikelace said...

I'm struggling with this as well, right from the gate, but I think it'll come down to making a schedule or some kind of concrete rule. If I am writing and focused, don't bother me, just for now.
It's hard to let those moments of "hey I have something to share with you right now" go by, but sometimes you have to choose a priority and squeeze laundry and dinner into what breaks you'd take anyway. (:

http://flywingslikelace.wordpress.com
Hannah

Pam Asberry said...

Hey Hannah,
I think you are absolutely correct; writing time has to be "sacred," and the laundry and dinner have to fit in around it. Thank you for stopping by!
Pam

unstoppablestart said...

Girl, it is no lie that juggling it all can be daunting. I think what it comes down to in the end is taking care of yourself. I was in that same predicament a week ago and today I am sitting her with my laptop getting back to social networking. Finally! Writing, not so much. I'm not ready. But I will be. What's different? I've been going to bed at 9:30 - 10:00 each night and reading. It's doing me good to rest as much as I hate being still. Now, as for the lawn mower, I'll bring mine up if one of the boys can do the work. Let me know. :-) -Lindy

Pam Asberry said...

You might be onto something, Lindy. I was managing everything reasonable well until I started feeling sick again. I must do a better job of taking care of myself. When I am healthy and rested things do not seem so overwhelming. And thanks for the offer of the lawn mower. I just might take you up on it!

EEV said...

Hi Pam!
I am sorry things aren't very good for you. I am in the opposite line: unemployed, with just a few things to do and and no muse to write. I just can't force myself to write. So, unfortunately I can't help you, but a friendly hug, wishing this allergy goes away soon enough. Hang in there!
- EEV

Pam Asberry said...

It's not that things are so bad, EEV; it's just life stuff that's going on, but it all gets overwhelming sometimes, usually when I am overly tired, and always when I am feeling ill. I guess our muses are just looking for an excuse to abandon us, aren't they? Well, this morning I am going to win. Muse or no muse, regardless of what else needs to be done, I am going to go offline and spend two or three hours working on my novel revision. It's my best hope for a better tomorrow. Thanks for the cyber hug and the good wishes. Right back atcha!

Melissa Marsh said...

Luckily, my husband is VERY handy around the place. The car or lawnmower or whatever needs fixed, he can fix it, thank goodness. He does the dishes, does laundry, and cooks. I joke that he is a better housewife than me!

I hope you're feeling better. I was sidelined with one of my famous (or perhaps infamous is the better word) tension headaches yesterday. I hate taking sick leave! If I'm going to take a day off from work, I'd much rather have it be a VACATION day where I either get out of town for awhile or work on my novel!

Jolina Petersheim said...

Wow, Pam! I can so relate! I'm leaving for the UK in three weeks, and I only have one week of the two week vacation set in stone. I want to have my novel out to beta readers before then, AND our new house completely painted (I don't trust my husband; he's color blind). My head's spinning just thinking about it. But...everything does work itself out one way or another. Thanks for sharing this!

Natalie said...

I have been feeling overwhelmed too lately. The house is just going to stay dirtier than I'd like, I do laundry as I need it (or as the kids run out of uniforms)I am only doing chores that are absolutely necessary. As far a spouse roles....Chip is in charge of doing the dishes (the ones that won't go in the dishwasher)and he does the mowing/edging and repairs. I do all the weeding and gardening and everything else inside the house. He works so much that I can't really ask more than that. It works pretty well.

S.M. Carrière said...

I am so lucky that I don't have any children, and my full time job is so incredibly boring, my boss actively encourages my writing (it makes me look like I'm busy).

To be honest, I don't know how you do it! You're amazing!

Sophie Li said...

awwww ... I think it's easy for the daily-grind have its way with us ... CEOs of the household.

Perhaps instead of trying to squeeze in writing whenever you can, you can set aside 30 to 45 minutes before bed every night or wake up before the days' events starts and dedicate it to writing. I've grown quite accustom embracing my writing time as 'me' time. It helps me to refocus on the important things and alleviate frustrations.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Pam Asberry said...

Melissa, I am sorry you have been feeling under the weather, too! I hope you are much better today and getting lots of writing done!

Pam Asberry said...

Obviously, Jolina, we are not alone; it seems like everyone is stressed and overcommitted. Good luck with all your projects and deadlines, and safe travels in the UK! I look forward to hearing more about your trip.

Pam Asberry said...

Natalie, I think part of my problem is unrealistic expectations. There is no way I can have an immaculate house with 40 students and their families traipsing in and out every week, on top of the three teenagers (and their friends) who currently live here! I would rather be happy. Like you, I am trying to get comfortable with a certain level of dust and clutter, and focus my time and energy on what is most important to me: relationships and my creative pursuits. Good luck to both of us!

Pam Asberry said...

Not so amazing, S.M. Just very, very determined! But thank you for saying so. That makes me even more determined!

Pam Asberry said...

Sophie, I am generally very disciplined about my writing; my goal is two hours/1000 words every day. But it seems it doesn't take me much to get off track; first I got sick, then I took a couple of weeks off to do some work around my house, and now I am sick again. But I am happy to report that I spent two hours writing today, and finally my (second) revision is on its way. I fell short of my word count goal, but I had several false starts; now that I am on track, I am hoping that things will go faster from now on. Thank you for your encouragement!

Laila Knight said...

There has to be a set time to do everything, even if it does rob you of spontaneity. I fit in writing from 5:00 to 7:00pm. It helps if the significant other is real understanding. It seems everyone demands a piece of you constantly. We all have lives outside of writing. Sometimes it's one big blur.

Pam Asberry said...

You are so right, Laila. It is time for me to get back into the good habits I formed at the beginning of the year. For me, prime writing time is from 9-11 in the morning - after the kids have gone to school and my caffeine has kicked in, before my teaching day begins. Thank you for the reminder!

KendallGrey said...

I'm the world's worst at keeping up with housework, laundry, and dishes. I have three little ones and a mostly absent husband. Certain things always take priority - Being there for the kids, helping with homework, and poorly slapped together meals. Beyond that, I'll get to it when I get to it. :-)

Nadja Notariani said...

First let me say, "Get Well!". I too daydream about a world in which I 'pay' someone to 'do my dirty work' (and by that I mean cleaning up a house that is overrun with four males....Yikes, they are disgusting creatures at times..ha ha). I do have a husband, who happens to be an RN, so I don't have the pressure to 'do it all' on my own. However, with teaching, the house, the boys' sports, and my writing....well, it can be overwhelming. When you throw in unexpected expenses on top of it all......I have, 'ahem' been known to rant like a raving banshee.
I make my sons perform daily chores to help around the house. They don't always do what I'd call a 'job well done'. But, to be serious about my writing, I've had to relax my standards a bit. Oh, and I often don't get to bed until way past a reasonable hour. That's why they make concealer, right?
Keep going! ~ Nadja

Julee J. Adams said...

1. Feel better soon--remember our promise to take care of ourselves?
2. Could son and/or extra teens hanging around use a "learning experience" on how to help poor Mom by doing a load of laundry or fixing a quick dinner of sandwiches? Just sayin'.
3. If you're like me (and I know you are, since I've known you since grade school), you've spent a couple of hours surfing different writing sites and blogs, then another half hour (hour with agonizing?) with your own and posting links on Facebook. Guuurrrlll, we gotta stay on schedule, set our priorities.

Are you with me? Love ya, J

Pam Asberry said...

Kendall, Nadja and Julee, thank you for your encouragement and for your suggestions. I think my standards are pretty reasonable for my situation but I definitely could use a little more help from my boys. I need to think about that. I don't think I could get by on less sleep; a little more would actually be better for my health. But little less time online and a little more time devoted to my work in project is probably in order. You do know me well, Julee. I appreciate you all more than you can imagine!