This is me, with my daughter, Jessie, taken at Christmastime. She’s the one who’s staying with me for awhile, and I have to say, it couldn’t be going any better. We’re both laid back, we get along great, and the kids are being just as good as gold. Really, it’s amazing how gently things are beginning to settle into a new routine that is different, but still productive.
So I’m in the midst of trying to write a book in 40 days, and I’m entering my second weekend of the challenge. I strolled into the first weekend about ten pages behind schedule. Then I wrote extra each day and got all caught up again. And then my daughter Stacie really ill, and I spent a night in the ER with her, half of the next day at her place, and then the other half of the day sleeping it all off. So I was behind by ten pages again. I did a few extra throughout the week, so that now, I’m going into this second weekend, behind schedule by 6 & 1/2 pages. Easy to make that up over the weekend.
I was amazed as I reached day ten, and page 94 yesterday afternoon. Amazed because I really believe I’m going to pull this off, and pull it off well. I love what’s happening with this book so far. I love the empowering feeling of knowing I can write it in whatever time I’m allowed, without losing a bit of the quality. I guess you don’t know what you’re capable of until you push yourself right to the limits. And then you start to get the secret–there are no limits. You can do anything if you believe you can do it. And I do.
But I’ve also been feeling a little resentful on some days. I’ve been enjoying my life a lot, and suddenly, it’s been turned upside down. Everything changed all at once. My empty house became full, and my relaxed schedule became packed full. And I knew that no deadline was worth surrendering my feelings of well being. If I’m not happy, every day, every hour, just giddy, then I’m off track. Because being happy and experiencing joy is really why we’re here. And besides, when we’re in our joy, great things come to us. When we’re miserable or stressed or tense, great things are blocked from us.
With all those things in mind, I knew when I was starting to feel pushed and overworked and no longer over-the-moon happy.
So yesterday afternoon, as I was getting to my ten pages for the day, I had two choices. I could keep on writing and try to make up the extra six pages I had lost the previous weekend. Or I could quit early and head over to my guy’s house for some R&R.
There was no question which I would do. The one that was going to make me feel best. And while I knew making up for lost time would feel good, I also knew I’d been terribly short on time with my guy over the past couple of weeks, and that being with him would feel even better. So I called it a day, and hit the shower, and splashed on my favorite scent (currently, Moonlight Path from Bath & Body.) But I didn’t do hair and makeup. I let my hair dry in its usual mass of tangly curls. And I didn’t dress up. In fact, I barely dressed at all. I needed an evening of utter relaxation. I have this nightgown with a T-style back, though the front looks almost halter like. It’s very lightweight, full length, and could pass for a very casual, lounge-around-the-house dress. I put that on, and ballet style slippers, and that’s what I wore on the drive over.
Now, his life has been pretty chaotic this week too. He undertook a major project, tearing all the old carpeting out of his livingroom, laundry room, and hallway, and replacing it with a laminate, hardwood-look floor. He had lots of help, but when the job was done, he had a gorgeous floor and a mess everywhere else.
So when I got there, we put on some music, made some snacks, and tackled a little bit of the cleanup. I washed dishes and restored the kitchen to order while he put the washer and dryer back in their places and cleaned the bathroom. It was a good transition from brain-work, to a little brainless work. A good way to slow down the rapid fire thoughts of the busy, busy week. They were stubborn. I was thinking about the back cover copy for the book before this one, that I need to review, revise, and return over the weekend. I was thinking about my editor’s notes on the latest synopsis, which were way more extensive than I thought. I need to address those too, in order to collect my next paycheck. I was thinking about the edited novella that just arrived in my lap, and how I need to read it, answer the editor’s queries, and get that sent back by next week. I was thinking about the contractors, and the ongoing debate about how much I still owe them since the house was restored. They originally wanted over 50 grand. Now it’s down to half that, according to them and far less than that amount according to me. They need me to photocopy the final insurance estimate I received and send it to them. I don’t have time, but it’s important to get it done. I was also thinking about the stack of bills on my desk, and how, now that I got paid for the most recent book, I need to take an entire afternoon to budget out the money and pay bills and send a chunk to the IRS. And I was thinking that the car is past due for an oil change, and needs an oil pan too, and how I really need to rearrange the house just a bit more to make a quiet office upstairs for me. And I was thinking it was going to be tough to do all of those things, and still get ten pages a day done.
So cleaning the kitchen for an hour, while music blasted in my ears, was an ideal way to slow down my mind, to shut those thoughts down, one by one. You never get it wrong, and you never get it done, I told myself. And the reason you never get it wrong, is because it’s never done. And I’ll have an unfinished to-do list tacked to my fridge with a cute magnet, on the day I die, so really, what’s the point in rushing? And I get more done when I’m relaxed and aligned, and having fun, and happy, than I ever do when I feel stressed and rushed and pushed and resentful of having no time for fun. Always. Always. Always.
And gradually, my brain relaxed, and my guy and I did too. The clutter got picked up, and then we made dinner and then we relaxed for the rest of the evening. It was beautiful, blissful, peaceful. No interruptions. Even the dogs were on their best behavior. We watched a mediocre movie, and talked and snuggled and laughed, and had a great time, and I honestly think the book, the deadline, and all that other stuff stayed completely out of my thoughts until morning.
He has that effect on me. I think I have that effect on him too. Although I usually have to talk his ear off for the first half hour we’re together, just to get it all out. But he’s used to that. He just listens, and waits, and notices as the speed of the words slows down, and then the volume of them lowers, and then the sentences come with actual space for a breath in between, and then, gradually, I’ll heave a big sigh, and he knows I’ve come in for a landing. He gets me. That’s cool. I’m feeling inspired to write him a song.
So anyway, here in the middle of Week Two, (Day 11 to be precise) I’m taking this morning to get myself really well aligned before diving back into the work. I know it’ll serve me well. I do that by indulging in a little rampage of appreciation. Here goes.
My life is GREAT. I mean, really. Look around. My house is beautiful, and yeah, it’s a bit more crowded than it was before, but it’s so much fun having little ones underfoot again. And I’m getting a chance to bond with Benny and little Brady in really special way. And Jessie and I are really in tune. We get along so well, and we enjoy each other’s company. And she often makes me coffee! We have a lot of fun together. I’m very grateful that I’m in a position to give her a haven during this tough time in her life. And Serenity is a haven. A beautiful, safe, peaceful place. I felt that energy about this house from the very beginning. Benny loves it here and he’s thriving.
All my girls are thriving. Though Stacie’s been sick, it’s happened to call her attention to an imbalance that needed to be addressed, and I just know she’s on the road to wellness again now that she’s finally ready take care of her health. (She’s a nurse and is more interested in taking care of others.) The other girls are doing well too, and the kids are good, and everyone is fine. No major worries, which, in a family this large, is a small miracle in itself.
My work is going great. I never knew I could do this much, this efficiently. I never would have known I could do it, if I hadn’t wound up forced to try. And wow! It’s so cool to see what I can do. Not to mention how lucky I am to be getting paid for doing something I love so much, something that comes so easily and so naturally to me.
My love life is awesome. He really gets me, I think. More all the time, but already on levels it’s tough to believe. It’s like we read each other’s minds half the time, finish each other’s sentences, get the most obscure references, think of the same thing at the same time. And he’s a haven as much as Serenity has been. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, every bit of tension leaves me when we’re together. I know I’m a better person because of him, and I think he would say the same about himself. I’m completely happy and fulfilled and in love, and that well-being seems to flow out into every other part of my life, making everything else better too.
My health is great, and any day now Jessie and I are going to kick ourselves into a new fitness routine. Doing it together will be twice as fun and ten times as effective.
My finances are better today than they have been in months, and are on the road to being as perfect as everything else in my life. Every day, improvement, improvement, improvement, perfection. There’s no backward motion here. I’m on a roll.
And the words are flowing easily, fed by muses unseen in streams almost too rapid for my fingers to keep up with. The stories are unfolding beautifully, in ways that will thrill every reader who peruses their pages next summer. Not to mention my editor when she gets her hands on the final draft.
I have the world’s greatest dogs. I have the kind of life I used to sit around and dream of having. And now I’m dreaming of an even better one, and it’s unfolding with every smile, every laugh, every blissful, contented sigh. All is well with the world. All is well with me. And all I want is at my fingertips.
Ahhhh, there. Now I think I’m ready to write.