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It’s a writer’s life for me

Since I last blogged here, my life has changed drastically.  I am living every writer’s dream (well, one of their dreams):  living abroad without having to work for a living, all the time in the world to write.

Oh, if only I could say I was using that time well.

You see, last year I met the most amazing man.  Things were going well, and he got a job offer in Finland.  After some discussion and frantic planning, we got married and we both moved to Finland.

Unable to work, I am now a housewife.  With no kids to fill my time.  From 8 in the morning until 6 at night, I am free to do whatever my heart desires.  My job, my husband says, is to write.  He has full faith in my ability to write a best-selling novel and have it off to an agent by the end of the year.  He is my biggest supporter, my loudest cheerleader, my most enthusiastic reader.

And yet.

In the six months I’ve been a full time writer, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything.  I started to finish one work in progress, but got stuck and didn’t feel like it had as much potential as another WIP.  So I started working on finishing that WIP, and I’m stuck again.  I have two other stories in my head begging to be let out, but I feel the need to get something finished rather than start anew.  After all, I’ll never get published if I never finish anything.

I told my husband the other day that if I let loose on the two new ideas in my head, I could have 50k words pounded out in a couple of weeks.  I would feel (and be able to show him) that I had been productive.  It’s this finishing thing I have a problem with.

I am also, remarkably, fairly busy.  The other ex-pat wives I know are just as surprised as I am by that.  We don’t work, we don’t have kids, and yet we are busy all day.  Not with shopping and watching TV and lunch with the girls that lasts for hours, but with the normal housework and errands you always have – dusting, laundry, dishes, mopping; going to the grocery store, the bank, the insurance company.  It’s often after 3 before I have a free moment, and then I think, “Oh, I have to start cooking dinner in a bit, I don’t want to get immersed in something I can’t really devote the time to.”  You know, like figuring out how to connect Plot Point 1 to Plot Point 2.  Honestly, I have no idea how I got anything accomplished when I actually worked 40 hours a week.

Time to turn things around.  Time to make myself a job, with tasks and deadlines and goals.

Because that is my job.

Goal/Task #1:  blog every day.  Whether it’s here on this blog, or on my other blog about life as an ex-pat, I will blog every day.  My deadline is midnight my time.

Goal/Task #2:  From 9am-11am every day, I will work on finishing my WIP.  And only that.  No dishes, no laundry, no dusting – only writing.

GoalTask #3:  I will actively join a writing group.  No lurking allowed.

Do you have suggestions on how to make yourself work as a writer?  Please share!

 

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Thoughts

 

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How I saved $125 on a litter box

The litter box – such an attractive unit of furniture. If you’re lucky, you have an out of the way place to put the Poop Palace – a laundry room, an alcove, an unused closet. I have a friend who keeps hers in her extra bathtub. I was lucky – I have a great alcove in my condo for the litter box. But I still wanted to hide it – who wouldn’t? I’ve seen furniture that hides the litter box, but I really didn’t want to spend $120 (they’ve evidently since gone down since I last looked) on something my cat was going to poop in. I started looking around for furniture I could convert – hack, if you will.

A trip to the Habitat Restore yielded this cabinet ($45):

I also picked up a cat door at Lowe’s for $20. One saw cut later:

The cabinet came with 2 shelves, so I left one at the top to store things. The Beau installed a slider ($8) on the second shelf so I could slide it out to clean the litter box.

The cat door was loose in the cabinet, since it was made for an outer door rather than a thinner cabinet wall, so The Beau also put weather stripping to tighten the door, with the added benefit of keeping some of the smell in.

I was worried about the cat using the cat door, but it hasn’t been a problem.

A similar cabinet is selling for $200 on Amazon. A drawer would be nice, sure, but I like the ease of sliding the litter box out, instead.

Not a bad trade off.

What’s your best furniture hack?

*Update:  The Beau is going to install a partition, similar to the one in the cabinet selling on Amazon.  🙂

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Random

 

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If you’re having important thoughts, you must be in the shower

I used to have all these random thoughts floating through my head at the most inopportune time – while driving, while showering, while standing in line at the DMV.  Without fail, those ideas would escape me before I could get to a place to write them down, no matter how hard I tried to retain them in my brain.  I have written the most beautiful prose and the most insightful blog posts without pen and paper (or other mode of documentation).  You just haven’t seen them because of the lack of ability to document them.

I’ve kept a standard 3×3 post-it note pad in my car for several years now, as well as a pencil.  Although it’s not advisable, I’ve been known to write while driving (note – I don’t take my eyes off the road as I write, or I write at stoplights).  The results aren’t pretty, but the thought at least gets on paper.

Do *not* try this at home

I have also used my bathroom mirror as a scratch-pad for years, writing thoughts and to do lists in dry erase marker.  But someone recently pointed me to this nifty invention:  The Waterproof Notebook.  Genius!!  Never miss a brilliant idea again!

AquaNote

I’ve been known to use whatever is handy at other times – bill envelopes, paper napkins, the extra blank page usually in the back of a book, boarding passes, the white space in magazines.  But I finally found a good sized notebook that will fit in almost all my purses.  It’s big enough to actually write thoughts in, but not so big that it won’t fit in most of my purses.  Perfect.

Except…I’ve had it for three months now, and it’s damn near blank.  All I have in it is the name of a wine someone keeps looking for, and the dimensions of a shelf I need in the kitchen.

One day last week I did have a brilliant flash of something, and was so excited when I reached in and pulled out my little notebook.  Finally!  Something important to write down!

Wait, where’s my pen?

*sigh*  This is what happens when you come prepared.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Random

 

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5 Things I wish I had more time for

  1. Working out
  2. Writing
  3. Reading
  4. Crafting
  5. Blogging

Everyone knows that you should get some exercise every day, but finding time to do it is difficult.  That’s one of the issues every contestant on The Biggest Loser complains about.  What time do you cut into to make the time?  Time with the family?  Work?  Sleep?  There is only a finite amount of time in each day.

I do pretty well with daily exercise, and sometimes I even work out twice a day.  But I rarely read daily, or craft daily, and I sure don’t blog daily (my last blog was…2 weeks ago?!)

I should write daily.  Every piece of writing advice says this.  But I don’t.  Actually, right now, I can’t remember the last time I wrote something creative.  Within the last two weeks, certainly, but within the last week?  I don’t think so.

I recently thought, you know, I want to do each of these things daily.  Surely there’s time for that somewhere, right?

But where?

Where does my time go, and when can I carve out some time to do the things I’m supposed to do?  Maybe if I stopped showering, or cut my sleeping down to four hours a night, maybe then I’d have time.  A teleporting device would sure come in handy, I could easily get an extra 3-4 hours a week by not having to drive. 

What’s sad is, I don’t even have kids I can blame it on.  I can’t say, “I have to pick the kids up from soccer practice, make them a snack, help them with their homework, get them bathed and put to bed.”

So how is it they can do it, and I can’t?

Is it that I have to choose?  I only get one thing of those five?  Then what’s it to be?  Write?  Or work out?  Read, or blog?

I don’t want to choose – I want to do it all.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Five Things Friday

 

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