Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Happy Hump Day! We're talking about managing resources this week. As for the professionals and career folk: Yes, I have a wonderful agent whom I trust very much. No, I haven't got a critique partner, although I would like one. My editors have taught me so much that I am grateful for. But aside from them, there are a variety of resources that I deal with that make the writing possible--specifically Financial, Physical and Mental resources, I've segmented my post into three parts.
"Lead be thou gold!"

If you’re tallying up authors who have day jobs, count me among those who can't survive on book earnings. I do the M-F 8-5 office thing. Log those paychecks in the credit column. In the debit column are: a couple of young teen boys, a dog, a house, and an aging mother…then add all the little things that a household needs to function (yanno, bills). Assign a value to the things like helping with homework, time spent grocery shopping and other fetching of things, time spent shuttling boys to events with their girl friends—whom they insist they are only friends, and assign a value to the time spent weighing whether or not to believe that line of bullshit bologna. **NOTE: Sometimes, being the only working adult in the house, running away with new business cards dubbing me the Shoveler of Circus Elephant Poo looks appealing.
How do I do it?
Magic! I have a power stone that turns lead graphite into gold. Bring me ALL the pencils!
I wish! In reality, knowing the budget and (albeit begrudgingly) living within it is rife with that obligation known as Grown-up Requisites & Responsibilities. Also known as GRR. **NOTE: If you hear me grr-ing, I am most surely reminding myself of my Grown-up Requisites & Responsibilities.
Remember those boys I mentioned? One word: MINIONS. Here’s where they start paying me back for 3 a.m. feedings, fetid diapers, spit up/vomit, and bribing Santa to bring them all those cool toys. **NOTE: Blackmailing the fat-man is a no-go because you have to gain evidence of his wrongdoing and he abstains from any such activity. Bribing him works best. A whole tray full of cookies and a big cup of milk with the Nesquik nearby (so he can make his chocolate milk as stout as he likes) has worked nicely in the past. One year they were so bad I set out a whole cheesecake, boxed for return to the North Pole for he and Ms. Claus to enjoy later together.
Routine, Part A.
Now that fall is closing in, I’m up before the sun (dammit) and I make breakfast—yes, actual cooking is involved; only occasionally will they be happy with a bowl and a cereal box. Feeding them is what a mom does means they have energy and they stay healthy enough to do their chores. Give and take. Of course, they are sent off to school every day with a hug and the phrase, “Have a good day, do your best, smile, and write neatly,” because that is what a mom does. Their eye-rolling does not dissuade me.
Knowing what to expect is part and parcel of being able to perform the necessary functions confidently. The repetition of them not getting out of it no matter what means they eventually complain less become more efficient at it.
Routine, Part B.
Designated chores = sanity.
I want to have the kids do everything. But that's unrealistic. Aside from having to lead by example and show them how things need to be done, I need to monitor that it is being done and done well. So we split it up. For example: I feed the dog breakfast; the Arteest feeds her dinner.  The Arteest takes out the trash; I put a new bag in the can. I rinse out the pop and food cans; the future stunt man/movie director crushes them and separates them into their bins. Yard work is typically a group effort.
Everyone knows what their function is, and everyone knows if they shirk their duty I’m the one who’s going to royally chew their ass out remind them. My mantra, “Do the have-to’s first, then all the time that is left is open for want-to’s.” **NOTE: I’m not above pointing out to my children that plenty of mammals eat their young if they sense something is wrong with it….
I wish this was really my bathroom...
I've got to have my head in the story to write it. Through the week, taking the time to rock out during my 6-minute commute home is just enough to be obnoxiously loud and not linger ad nauseam. (Not that 80’s Hair Metal ever blathers on ad nauseam IMHO, but I acknowledge it’s not the musical de-stresser for everyone.) More seriously, though, that rock out is like slipping through the wardrobe into Narnia for me. I leave work at work and scurry through the gateway into my world. Weekends, however, usually see the most active writing. That is when my time is all mine, and I am happiest.
Below are a few of my favorite ways to tend my mental resources to ensure that the words get to the page.
Mental Resource Restorative #1
Take a little time for yourself. Maybe you indulge in ice cream. Maybe you watch three episodes of Dr. Who. Maybe you watch Dr. Who and eat ice cream at the same time. Acknowledge your need for "me" time. I have found that a long soak in a hot bubbly tub is fabulously healing for any lapse of sanity due to a minion's incompletion of chores. **NOTE: if the minions are pounding at the door because they need to pee, all the relaxing may unravel. Be sure to announce your long-timed intention and give them the option to use the facilities prior.
Mental Resource Restorative #2
Responsibly giving in to a vice. Responsibly. I'll say that again: Responsibly. 
For me, a tasty adult beverage is a nice way to remove tension from shoulders due to the stresses of life in general and prime the gears of the mental vehicle that transports me from real world into book world. **NOTE: One is nice. Two, if something has been extra stressful. Beyond that there won’t beany writing getting done this evening—or early tomorrow for that matter. I, personally, have way to much shit to do to waste time being hungover, so I know my limit and stick to it.  

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you have some awesome resources... err, minions... err, kids. LOL OMG, that bathroom looks awesome.

    I need to figure out the spell for turning graphite into gold. Soon, I hope. I think I've almost got it.

    And I haven't forgotten that I said I would read for you, but the world got away from me. I'd still love to do it, but I think I lost my window of opportunity - especially if I want the aforementioned 'Soon' to be actually soon.