Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Piece of the Puzzle

When I envision other writers sitting at their desk, creating a new piece of work, I like to think of them in these terms. They are in a quiet little office. No telephone to interrupt their train of thought. No dogs who need to be taken for walks. Or children running through the house playing. They have no friends who drop in to visit. They have no doctor or dentist visits. They do no volunteer work. But I know that's not the case. They don't sit in a quiet office with no distractions. Some of them home school their children. They have full time jobs and only write in the evening, after helping with homework, cooking dinner, doing laundry. None of them have secretaries who answer the phones and plan their calendar. They are up at dawn ready to start the new day, all over again. There are moments I dream about having less to do, but if that were my life, I would be leading the most boring life I could imagine. I love all the drama and the excitement. In fact, when I am in the middle of all that, those are the times all my ideas are born. I love juggling my schedule. It's like a puzzle, and I have a time frame to make it all fit. Some days by the end of the day, I start to feel like a puzzle with a few pieces missing. My husband complains to me all the time that I am too busy. He said just the other day, "we need to practice, repeat after me, 'just say no." Of course I'm exaggerating a bit, but how interesting could my stories be if I sat in a rocker all day? There are days I feel my life might be a little too busy, but what could I give up? Certainly not my dogs, or my writing, or my friends, or the volunteer time I spend with people, my Church activities, or the special time alone with my husband. I'll just take another deep breath and dig in. I've got editing to do, a proposal to write, dinner to cook, dogs to walk, letters to write and friends to email. Oh, I can't forget the laundry.


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

You are so right, Katt. Just the other night my MIL and DH retired early and the house was still. The animals were all sleeping. I thought to myself, "Ah, good I can write." I ended up watching The Closer and folding laundry at the same time.

Carol J. Garvin said...

Some years ago when our family was still at home and life was one long dash from breakfast to bedtime, an observant friend mentioned during a prayer time that our bodies and minds belong to God just as much as our souls and we need to take as good care of them as everything else in his creation.

I was always of the mind that "God will give me strength for all things" but I came to realize that he expects us to be good stewards of not only our time and talents but also of our physical strengths and abilities. I found out the hard way that I'm not one of those people who does well always being on the run and I'm grateful to the friend who taught me that it's okay to take care of myself, that it's not selfish to take whatever time I need to keep the physical, emotional and spiritual wells replenished.

When I'm writing in my office with the dog at my feet, the answering machine coping with any calls and my DH out in the garden, I cherish the peacefulness and the time to meditate, pray, and write. While I eventually have to return to reality and deal with other responsibilities and commitments I've learned the truth that sometimes "No is an acceptable answer". (Our hubbies must think alike. Mine is a minister and he tells folks that whenever he's about to ask them to volunteer for a task!) It took me a long time to learn to say it without feeling guilty but I now firmly believe there's a piece of that puzzle that includes taking care of self.

I've had a number of friends "burn out" so I'm a big advocate of making sure we're getting our signals straight from God and not just trying to be everything to everybody in our lives.

Sorry this is such a long comment but as you can probably tell it's a subject that I feel strongly about. :)

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Thanks so much for your comments Carol. I'm learning not to feel guilty when I say no. I used to have to justify it (at least in my mind) The older I get, the more I realize there's only so much of me. I can't "save" everyone. I try to write my blog addressing issues several people have come to me with that day--or week.
Time and again it's time (at least this week) management---and I think it all revolves around---saying no--- and staying focused on the Lord and His plan for us.
Be Blessed my sweet friend