Tag Archives: creative writing fiction

Basking in Multi-Tasking

“Multi-tasking – Screwing everything up simultaneously.” – Anonymous

Well, let’s hope I don’t screw up everything

I recently shifted to freelancing for my existing employer, so with the exception of one day a week, I can do my work from home.  Yes, that is quite awesome, and I’m not saying I’m not enjoying it.  What I’ve discovered, though, is how much more it stresses me out to not have that set schedule.  Do I get my work stuff out of the way first thing in the morning, or do I work on my manuscript when I’m still fresh?  Should I write my work blog first or save the writing energy for this one, and do either before or after folding the laundry and scrubbing the shower?  Should I tend to the Monkey or the manuscript?  My work email or my personal email or my Monkey email or my other personal email that I also need to use for work?  I literally have tabs open for everything at once and been starting something in one window and switching to tweak something in a different one before the first thing is done.  Though it’s stupidly minor, somehow it helps me to do all my personal/writing-related and work-related schtuff through separate browsers…then I can bookmark accordingly and not have it all staring me down at once.

Soon to be thrown into this loop is *hopefully* dipping my toe back into the classroom to substitute-teach once a week 🙂  And, as of Friday, I’ve accepted a position as Developmental Editor for a new publishing company (also work that will be done remotely)—so once I become certified, I’ll have other people’s fiction manuscripts thrown my way while I’m still trying to finish my own!  I absolutely embrace the opportunity, though, and think it will 1) be refreshing to step outside my own writing at those times it bogs me down, and 2) teach me so much that I can relate back to my own story.  I am super, super psyched about helping others fulfill their writing dreams in this new way.  You can be sure I’ll be keeping you posted on this blog how that goes…

So that’s my update.  I am suffering a massive professional split personality right now, and it’s that much more potent because these are all things I’m personally passionate about and for the most part incorporating into my own home.  So is this exciting that I’ve achieved the point where what I do is so much of who I am day-to-day, or am I going to go batty without the work-life division that helps maintain the work-life balance?  I think it can be the former as long as I keep myself disciplined yet remember it’s okay and necessary to put the work aside and walk away when I need to live.  I know how to prioritize, and I know how to accomplish things bit by bit.  Yeah, I think it’ll be a good thing.

But I don’t know, I’m too busy to think about it now, so I’ll schedule a time to think about it later…

“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” – Scarlett O’Hara

Any of you have some tried-and-true time-management strategies that work well for you?

What Happens in a Meadow at Dusk?

“[L]ong before the child learns to talk properly—and long before it learns to think philosophically—the world will have become a habit.  A pity, if you ask me.”  – Sophie’s World

I’m currently reading a book that I’ve had sitting on my bookshelf for years.  I literally moved it across an ocean two years ago, and still it had sat mutely, patiently, until I finally plucked it out and cracked it open a few days ago:  Sophie’s World.  I’m only a quarter of the way through it, so will withhold offering a critique, but so far I’m enjoying the questions it raises—it’s essentially taking your own correspondence course in philosophy, without getting graded 🙂    Less than twenty pages in, I was struck by the above quotation…I hadn’t really reflected on how the world becomes a “habit” as we age:

“The world itself becomes a habit in no time at all.  It seems as if in the process of growing up we lose the ability to wonder about the world.  And in doing so, we lose something central—something philosophers try to restore.  For somewhere inside ourselves, something tells us that life is a huge mystery.  This is something we once experienced, long before we learned to think the thought.”

At this point, the “philosopher” instructing our protagonist, Sophie, has been pointing out how infants and young children look about at everything surrounding them with wonder, getting excited about even the little things we adults come to take for granted through familiarity.

I’m not going to wax philosophical on this, but what it did make me think about is how writers seem to be blessed with the ability to behold the world with that same wonder we did as children.  We have to, really, in order to continue creating our own little worlds. 

The writer is someone for whom a bus ride is not merely from Point A to Point B; rather, it’s an exercise in character study as we little voyeurs observe those in such close proximity that it almost seems weirder to pretend that they’re not there (as the masses do on the London Underground…the eye aversion is almost unbearable – and on sidewalks, too!  This Chi-town gal misses eye-contact *sigh*).  Anyways, we watch these people, speculate on where they’re going, where they’re coming from, what their whole backstory might be.  We get ideas in our noggins as to the perfect character to insert into our current tales or on which to base a whole new novel…all thanks to paying some attention to the real people right under our noses.

We notice subtleties, the body language that suggests insecurities or the butterfly that carries so many metaphors aloft the breezes of its wings.  We notice with a painter’s eye that the clouds aren’t just white and that the sofa is illuminated differently when the sun shines in from that late-afternoon angle.  We notice the people who smile to themselves when they think no one’s looking and that a tree can look sad, hopeful, or maternal.  We notice what a gust of fresh air feels like in our lungs, through our hair, and the new story ideas that the sensation can conjure.

We can describe what happens in a meadow at dusk.

We behold the world with wonder, and the beauty is that not only are we richer for it, but we have the calling that compels us to write it down so that others might experience the world through our eyes and look at it as though for the first time through their own.  There is not always beauty in this awareness; in fact, we may reveal the darker sides of humanity and tell gritty, disturbing stories without that happy ending.  But what there will always be is Truth – I’m talking the capital ‘T’ truth so long as we write, to the best of our abilities, what it is we wonder at through our genuine voices.  That is what makes a story authentic and universal, for something has told us that “life is a huge mystery,” and now that we can think the thought, we can write it.

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