About Me

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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Creativity and Procrastination

There are plenty of things that I procrastinate doing regularly. Bathrooms and dishes come to mind. But there are other things that I don’t really try to procrastinate and though I’m not quite sure why it always ends up appearing that way. Here’s the thing. When I have something creative to do, even if others wouldn’t see it as such, like preparing a lesson or writing a note of comfort, it takes me forever to settle on what needs to happen. When do I get my best ideas? Yep, you guessed it, right at the last possible moment.

My husband used to think I’d do this to him on purpose. I’d know about a project for weeks, putz around with it and at ten o’clock on the night before it’s due I suddenly hit on just exactly the right thing to say or do. Then I’m up all night and imposing upon him to help me race to the finish line.

I promise it’s not on purpose. I’d been thinking and plotting the entire time. Sometimes I think it’s the Lord’s sense of humor coming through. No matter how much I discuss things with Him, no matter how much the task rolls around in my brain, no matter how often I sit down to put pen to paper, the real inspiration comes not a moment before it’s absolutely needed. I think He likes to watch me scramble and mutter under my breath like a crazy woman. I must admit it’s sometimes a very funny sight.

When it comes time for me to write the next Primary curriculum I only have a few weeks (six if I’m lucky) to write and polish the entire book. I manage to do it every time. When it’s all over I’m tired but still exhilarated by what I’ve done. I tell myself, “Now, do that three times a year and you might actually get half way through your writing to-do list before you die.” It never really happens because there is no deadline breathing down my neck for that to do list to get done.

I love the way creativity affects me. I love knowing that my thoughts, actions and words are being guided by someone greater than I. I love making something that will inspire and uplift people around me, so why can’t I do that more often than I do? It’s got to be some twisted form of procrastination. I suspect many creative people feel the same way, I’ve heard many an author proclaim that they need, or work best, with a deadline. My quandary seems to be about the same thing.

So, how do I separate the deadline from the creativity? How do I impose my own deadlines and have my creativity actually listen to me? There is so much more that I know I’m capable of creating, but until someone external to myself says, “Do it, I need it by Tuesday.” I fight with myself, toss ideas around, type a few words, try a few projects but never really get very far.

Maybe there is an element of self-doubt to the whole thing as well. Until it comes down to it and someone is counting on me I don’t have enough internal confidence to trust myself to come up with something wonderful.

I’m not sure what it is, or how to solve it. I just know I wish it would stop it already, I have projects and ideas I want to see through for no one other than myself and I can’t seem to find the self-discipline to set a deadline that my creativity will think I’m serious about. So I end up looking and feeling like the worlds greatest procrastinator. Some how I need to become the master of my creativity, not the other way around. But I fear that breaking it and bending it to my will would also break its spirit giving it parameters and barriers it should not have.

What a quandary. Somebody give me an urgent deadline. I have things I need to get written.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Counting Gray Hairs

My oldest child turns 16 today, need I say more...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mommy Pheromones

You’ve heard of bee pheromones, right? It’s the way bees tell each other apart and tell who belongs to their beehive family. I firmly believe that mothers give off pheromones as well.

It’s inevitable. The minute I try to slip off to be alone someone is bound to raise their head and suddenly notice, “Wait a minute, where’s mom?” Now, when I had tried to slip away no one in the house had any use for me. They were all absorbed in their own lives. However, the minute those mommy pheromones go out of range the heads go up and notice that something is not right.

No matter where I’m trying to hide they can sniff me out. Children, husband, even the dog, seem to develop an urgent need to find me whenever I don’t want to be found. It’s almost guaranteed that within 15 minutes someone will walk into my hidey-hole and nonchalantly ask, “Whatcha’ doin’?”

“Trying to be alone.”

“Oh.” Stare.

“Did you need something?”

“No, I just wondered where you were.” Stare.


Once again my cover has been blown. Once again those mommy pheromones have given me away. I can’t hide from my family no matter how hard I try. Still, at the same time that I grumble about it, I’m also secretly grateful. Mommy pheromones, a mother’s presence, are the glue that holds a family together. Often it’s not the wonderful or grand things we do, it’s just being who we are and being there, giving off mommy pheromones so that everyone knows they belong and are loved.

What would the world be like without mommies and the children and husbands who seek them out just to ask, “Whatcha’ doin’?”

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, fathers and mothers alike. The very best mothers can only do their best when they are supported by a father. Parenthood takes two and I’m always grateful for a husband who helps me be the best mother I can. Pheromones and all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dancing When Somebody's Watching

I’ve been thinking about what to write here for a while. Nothing has seemed quite right, so I’ve been in a bit of a quandary. But I realized something today. I’m once again procrastinating doing what I love because of my own self doubts. I’m not gaining the exhilaration that comes when I’m creating something that excites me because I’m spending all of my time worry about whether or not what I want to write will be interesting. Odds are if I’m thinking about it this much, it won’t be.

That’s the interesting thing about me, and probably most writers. I have two minds and a large assortment of voices in my head. If I always listen to the one that wants me to be perfect, witty, inspiring and interesting all the time, I’d never write at all. The reason I do write is because I appreciate these things in the world around me. I count on that love to be conveyed in what I write, when I’m being critical I’m not feeling that joy, why should anyone else feel it?

That worrying, critical voice is the one I need to turn off if I expect to begin. I need to give myself permission to just be myself, to see and feel what makes me happiest and then express that. Once I begin, the critical voices begin to quiet as they watch the creative voices set to work. The more they work, the more there is to work from.

Sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to play with the reckless abandonment of youth. You need to dance in spite of the fact that someone may be looking. Then the dance, or the story, will be beautiful and fulfilling.