My Big Fat Lazy Summer

There are so many things I’m supposed to do by the end of this month. I set myself some goals, people!

And here’s what happens when people like myself set goals…

…they don’t happen. I tend to overwhelm myself to such a degree that I end up accomplishing a big fat pile of zilch.

When I went to Nationals this summer, I walked away feeling reenergized (kinda). I walked away with some new information that would make me a more organized writer. I walked away with the tools needed to put my goals into action.
I really just walked (or waddled) away ten pounds heavier. Seriously.

I’m stressed, people! I’m unable to stop putting food in my mouth. I guess part of that I can blame on the lazy days of summer and the fact that I drove cross-country with my five kids who couldn’t gain a pound if they tried. So, yes. I admit that some of my extra poundage can be tossed at the feet of the hotels with free breakfasts. But, on the other hand, where can I toss the remainder of that weight?

This got me thinking yesterday of why I’ve gained the weight. I came to the conclusion that I just don’t care. And that sometimes happens when I feel overwhelmed with big goals.

I’m perfectly well aware that I should stop whining about revising my books and actually revise them. It’s easy to say. It should even be easier now with my organizational strategies and my collection of index cards at the ready. But, part of my problem is that I’ve always sucked at organization—in any way.

When a writing friend tells me that she’s broken down her book into scenes and is working on them one at a time, I’m jealous. I don’t even know how to break my books into scenes that I can organize—either on paper or in my head. I just like to write. I like to create. I don’t like to organize those thoughts. Therein lies my problem.

At home, I eat because it’s better than cleaning out closets. Or organizing the drawers in my kitchen. Or sorting through the mountain of shoes that seems to multiply more than my kids.

And I see a pattern in my writing life as well as my personal life. I don’t like to organize or clean. I don’t know how to structure something into twelve acts or eight acts or put my characters on three-fold boards. I don’t have sticky notes. I don’t have lists. I don’t like to structure the hell out of things because I feel like it zaps all my creativity.

I’ve decided I need one of those life coaches. I need someone to walk around all day with me and grab my hand when I go to pick up the bag of chips. I need someone to take me by that same hand like a child and lead me to a three-fold board and some sticky notes and then tell me how to organize my books.

In the meantime, I’ll probably just continue to buy an ungodly amount of school supplies for my kids. I’ll probably play a little too much Bubble MegaShift on my phone. I’ll play too much Clue with my kids. And I’ll definitely pick up that bag of chips.

I keep hearing everyone give some awesome motivational quotes on this blog, and I’d like to print them out and put them somewhere, but I wouldn’t know where. I don’t even have a writing area. I write at my sticky kitchen table.

So, I’ll leave you with a quote today:
“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”—Sam Keen.

Now, I’m off to find a respectable laziness quote for the fall. And winter. And probably spring, too.

So, what about you? How do organize your life best? Do you find it easier to organize your characters or yourself? Character settings or your own?

Someone, take me by the hand!

21 thoughts on “My Big Fat Lazy Summer

  1. I’ve got your hand, Kim, and I’m squeezing three times! 🙂

    But speaking of hands, you have had your hands full this summer–kids, the cat, the conference–so don’t be too hard on yourself. How about setting a new schedule for yourself once the kids go back to school? Go for a walk in the morning, think about your book, then come home and write for an hour. Rinse and repeat!

    1. I love that idea. Give myself some smaller goals. 🙂 And thanks for taking my hand! And squeezing three times! Wow. All this love. Makes a big, fat girl get tears in her eyes…

  2. Listen, I just about broke out into a sweat when you mentioned index cards. Index cards for revising?!?!?! Maybe that’s why I suck at revising?

    I’m such an odd ducky because I love to be organized in my normal life. In my writing life? Yeah, not so much. Hmmm, but maybe color coded index cards are the way to go. I will consider it.

    As for you, missy, I agree with Vanessa. Small, manageable goals are always the way to go – with writing, organizing, weight loss, etc. Try to write for a measly 15 minutes a day. Try to not eat anything after 9pm. And organize one (only one) kitchen drawer by Saturday. You can do it!

    1. Okay! The fact that you broke out in a cold sweat makes me feel all kinds of better. Maybe I’m not the only person who hasn’t color-coded, alphabetized and decorated their characters in index cards. Whew!
      I have a confession to make. I did organize my pantry this week. Yes, me! So, I’m going to use the pantry for my organization of the house this week (already achieved that goal. LOL.) Just to make myself feel better. 🙂
      I don’t even eat after 9! And I used SlimFast for two days, and then ended up gaining two more pounds! That’s enough to make me reach for the bag of chips!

  3. Oh, Kim this post is me today. I’m SO with you. I spent the summer eating, and writing, but I have completed manuscripts that I can’t get a grasp of to revise. I see trees not a forest. I had homemade waffles for breakfast with extra syrup. My waffles on my iPad restaurant are probably ready- I should go check that. The bulletin board next to me has list upon list of things to do- everything from 1. Write a book to 2. go to the bathroom (Hey- I might forget. It could happen)

    Lets touch base in 2 weeks when school starts and help each other get organized. Maybe Robin & Avery can help. I’m in awe of their ability to get stuff done. Except someone will have to call me to do this cause I’ll be playing solitaire and eating at my desk.

    1. Oh, Lynne! I hear you! We will have to touch base in a couple of weeks and get each other in gear. I think I’ll put “Go to the bathroom” on my to-do list just so I can cross something out. And then maybe “Get yourself a snack.” LOL.
      Don’t even get me started on Robin and Avery. Awe doesn’t cover it. I’m just a little bit jealous, to be honest. It’s like they’re all grown up, and I’m playing at being a responsible grown up. And not very well, apparently.
      Hmmmm. Waffles, you say? With extra syrup? Sounds very yummy….

  4. Hi Kim, I write this response from my workspace – a dining room table that cannot be used for dining. It is covered. Literally. From one end to the other. With stuff.

    On the other hand, I subscribe to, and she is big on taking a bite out of clutter. Here’s HER quote: “You can do anything for 15 minutes.”

    Uhm, please don’t apply this to your sex life, okay? Although if you want to apply it to that bag of chips, I’m right there with you!

    1. My dining room table hasn’t been used since the end of the school year. It’s loaded with school supplies and backpacks and junk mail. And the kitchen table? We had to eat out on the porch last night. I just couldn’t clear it. Games. Arts supplies. Laptops. Snacks…. Yeah, it wasn’t happening. Maybe today. Like Scarlett says, “Tomorrow is another day.”
      I’ll keep that in mind about the 15 minutes.
      And I can do some serious damage to a bag of chips in 15 minutes, so I’ll have to avoid that!

  5. Great post, Kim, and so timely for me today! I was just lamenting myself that I’m simply too tired to revise. The idea of it overwhelms me. But reading your post reminded me of the tools I use to get myself to tackle those revisions. Mostly, this is centered on the office supplies aisle of Target : ) Sticky notes? Go buy some in fun colors or shapes. Get some neat colored pens while you’re there – bonus if they have sparkles in the ink. And the heck with that three fold board. Find a bare table top or better yet, a wall (go ahead and take the picture down – you can put it back up when you’re done). Then use the sparkly pens to jot scene notes on the heart-shaped sticky notes and slap them up on the wall. There’s a lot more room to work with there than on a three-fold board (i feel constrained by the finite size of a three fold, and the wall lets me keep disorganized edges or bottoms without feeling messy). All this blather though… bottom line: Vanessa’s right. Make smaller goals. My add on? Make achieving the goals fun. And girl, if you want a revision buddy, you know where to find me!

    1. ugh. must learn to re-read comments before I hit “post”. oy. point of the sticky notes was that it replicates the index card method in a fun way that for me feels way more creative and let’s me “play” with the story.

    2. You’re making me break out into another cold sweat. Now we’re using entire walls? Really? With sparkly inks and shaped sticky notes? Are you trying to make me insane? If I started tacking notes on the walls, my husband would serve me with divorce papers. Like the counters being cluttered aren’t enough to make the poor man nuts? What kind of friend are you anyway? LOL.
      Love the advice, actually. I’ll try to make it fun and see where that puts me.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and putting a smile on my face. 🙂

  6. First, Cat? What cat? You have a cat?!
    Second, I agree with all of the people above. Small, manageable goals is the key. Say, “I will revise for fifteen minutes today” or “I will revise one page today.” It doesn’t sound like much, but it will get you one page closer to your goal.
    Third, the big piece you are missing is rewards! Set a goal for the day, the week, the month, and then reward yourself lavishly. And since I actually live near you, unlike other people who have to go and live on the other side of the world, I will personally take you out for the drink(s) of your choice when you meet said goals!
    You can do it, Kim! I know you can!

    1. Yes, I have a cat. And she had a problem with Feline Vestibular Disease. She basically had super-bad vertigo for several days at the beginning of the summer and then walked around drunk-looking for weeks. Now, she just seems hungover…and she walks with a weird tilt to her head.
      Poor thing.
      I’m liking the awards. Even for some victories? Like maybe changing character names from “M” names to something different? I could sure use a drink…
      I’m loving this 15-minutes a day thing everyone is suggesting. I can do that! I can! I will! I’m on it!!!

      1. Yes, even for small victories! The smaller, the better! Today, I’m rewarding myself with small bits of Internet. Such as, I get to check my email after I work for 20 minutes.

  7. Kim, sister, I adore you. I had just this morning decided to invest in a roll of duct tape for the express purpose of putting it over my mouth so I am NO LONGER ABLE TO EAT. You’re welcome to go halvsies.

    The closest thing I come to organization is my Never-Ending To-Do Lists. Certain things just take priority over other things. Right now, It’s finishing this %^%&%# novel. I am at the ~50K word mark, and going back to add crap at the beginning for the THIRD TIME.

    Index cards are just a waste of time for people who want to indulge their OCD. People like us can do the work–we just have to decide to prioritize that before “Living Our Lives.” And what the hell kind of fun is that??

    1. I will take you up on that duct tape offer. But, knowing me, I will figure a way to get through it. Snacks will find a way!
      I’ve heard about your To-Do list. It made Kerri overwhelmed just looking at it. LOL. I don’t even want to see it.
      I’m liking your take on the index card thing. I just keep doing the same characters and then losing the cards. I’ve repeated my main character so many times, and if I have a hard time remembering her without the cards for help, then clearly I have a bigger problem than organization. LOL.
      Good luck on the book!

  8. Kim, I actually have some useful advice for you this time!!! You need to register with me this coming December/January for Editpalooza. They will walk you through this very thing! On my own I’d be lost but when you have an editor expecting you to do your homework, trust me you will do it! “When a writing friend tells me that she’s broken down her book into scenes and is working on them one at a time, I’m jealous. I don’t even know how to break my books into scenes that I can organize—either on paper or in my head. I just like to write. I like to create. I don’t like to organize those thoughts. Therein lies my problem.”

    1. I might have to take you up on that, Carlene! Editpalooza, here I come! Hopefully I’ll get something in gear before that though. 🙂

  9. Okay, here it goes… index cards. I only use them for my secondary characters so someone doesn’t have blue eyes at the beginning of the story and a snarky personality and then wind up with brown eyes as the absent minded bookish type halfway through the story. Other than that, I say if it cramps your creative style to do index cards… then don’t.
    Second, I love the 15 minute a day thing. I find life to be seriously overwhelming sometimes, and that makes it difficult to find time, or motivation, to write. Just set realistic goals. And try to accomplish at least one thing on your list per day or per week depending on how big the task is.
    As for writing, I don’t know what will work best for you, but I’ve had success with setting aside time right after my kids leave for school. I go for a walk and think about what I’m going to write that day, then I go home and write. I am not allowed to schedule anything, check my email, Facebook or anything else until I’ve done my writing time unless I do it in the Godawful, wee hours of the morning while my kids are getting ready for school.
    And as far as weight — I don’t even want to go there. My husband and I have both gone on a diet since we are both paying the price for our splurging this summer… so far he has lost 8 pounds. I’ve gained 2. Grrr… It’s so not fair!

    1. At this point I’m merely counting the hours until the sweet darlings go back to school. God bless their hearts…

  10. Thanks, Diana! I’m trying to set those deadlines. Except they keep whizzing past me…:-)

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