How to Get Your Work Done

It’s the earlier morning as I’m writing. I won’t quite claim early morning since most of the working world is already up. I’m trying to ease back into my morning work habits and here I am, writing before my kids are up. As early as I’d like? Nope. Did I do the whole morning routine I’d like to? Nope. And I almost stayed in bed because of that. But then I realized that I’m going to want at the end of the day is to have written. And if all I get is 200 words, that will be better than none.

It doesn’t help me to say “well, the kids will be up soon so it’s not worth my time.” It doesn’t help me to make excuses like, “I don’t have three hours to work on this; I only have thirty minutes.” We can spend our lives looking for the big chunks of time, moments that are uninterruptible. But if we want to do real work, we have to do it in real life. That means working in fifteen minute chunks between laundry and running errands and lunch breaks. That means working when we’d rather drift back to sleep for a few minutes or dig into a good book. (Although, bonus, reading is totally part of the work of being a writer.)

How to Find Your Game Face

My husband won’t play recreational volleyball with me. He says I’m mean.
I played volleyball in college and, admittedly, still take it very seriously. I have to work hard at enjoying a game for fun. For some reason people don’t enjoy getting pounded with a serve or yelled at for not rolling for a dig when they are goofing around. Go figure.
(And please, oh please, tell me you won’t scream and duck when the ball comes toward you.)
I had a game face. And it wasn’t the face that makes older people at the grocery store ask me to get baking powder off the top shelf for them either.

How to Capture Ideas Without Losing Your Mind

I lose a lot of things. Time, occasionally my phone or keys, and spare dollars buying the boys “fancy drinks” at the gas station. But my least favorite thing to lose is ideas.
I don’t sit behind a desk all day. I’m not constantly at my computer writing and editing, posting on social media, and making art. I might squeeze in an hour and a half of that a day. Most of my day is spent going over letter sounds, sweeping the floor so that our house isn’t carried away by a drove of ants, and putting wet laundry in the dryer.
Ideas aren’t really friends. If they were friends they would come at convenient moments, like when I’m sitting at my desk working. They would come when I was standing beside a notepad or lounging on the couch with a sketchbook. Instead like some kind of fickle tormentor they come when I’m changing dirty diapers or driving down the road or kicking a ball across the yard.
I have scribbled out some essays on my iPad while I’m cooking dinner. Two sentence, stir the noodles. One paragraph, drain the fat off the meat. Start a load of laundry and grab another idea. Thoughts interrupted by children fighting and spatulas falling to the floor and the dryer dinging. One sentence, break, one sentence, break. Is that good writing? No, not at all. But it does allow me to get all the ideas down to edit later.