Embracing Imperfection

I’ve always been a fan of colouring books – even before the adult ones hit the market. Admittedly, I occasionally had problems with indecision (should I colour that blue or purple?) and disappointment (ugh, I *knew* I should have picked purple) but mostly, I enjoyed myself.

Until my fibromyalgia began.

If you follow this blog, you know my troubles started with my hands – to the point that my doctors first assumed I had carpal tunnel. My fingers ached, I spontaneously dropped things (including hot cups of tea), and holding a pencil took way too much concentration.

Even on days when the pain wasn’t bad, I still didn’t have the dexterity I used to. On the rare occasions I would sit and try to colour, my pencil crayons (colored pencils to those outside Canada) just wouldn’t stay inside the lines.

So I stopped.

After all, what was the point of messing up perfectly good colouring pages? It was worse than picking the wrong colours.

Enter Covid-19.

Since I’ve been trapped  staying safe at home, I’ve needed something to do that doesn’t require concentration (my brain is still refusing to work on writing), that will occupy my hands while I listen to audiobooks.

I’ve done a few crafts (you can check out my Instagram to see what I’ve been up to), but I needed something else. So, I started colouring again.

It’s taken an effort to make my perfectionist brain ignore the mistakes, and just enjoy the process, but I’m getting there.

And I’m realizing that this quest for perfection is one of the problems I have with drafting as well. It’s so hard to get the words out when I know they’re not exactly right. And yet, as the saying goes: you can’t edit a blank page.

So, like with colouring, I need to embrace the imperfection of my first draft. Just enjoy the process of putting words on paper. And worry later about making sure those words are right. Because, unlike with colouring, bad writing can always be fixed.

Isn’t It Ironic?

Growing up in a family where virtually every woman was a Stay-at-Home-Mom, I always swore that would never be me. I was going to get a university education and have a “proper” career, and definitely not have kids.

But then life happened.

Three kids and no career later, I was definitely staying at home, but I still fought the title. After all, I was using every spare minute to work on a writing career, so really, I was “working from home” (with kids).

And then last year my migraines and fibromyalgia got bad enough that suddenly I wasn’t really writing (not that I could have done any other kind of job, either), and when I had to fill in the dreaded “occupation” slot on paperwork, I found myself writing “Stay-at-Home-Mom.”

And I hated it. Found it depressing. Felt like a failure. I had become the very thing I swore I never would.

Enter coronavirus.

Suddenly all those chores I’d resented – meal planning, cooking, sewing, entertaining the kids, etc – became vital.

And I’m kind of loving it.

Okay, I still find meal planning to be a bit of a pain, but I’m enjoying the challenge of zero-waste meals. I have a flat of seedlings ready to plant whenever the weather finally decides to be spring (snow can stop any time now, Mother Nature!) I’m baking bread at least once a week – and the baguettes are so good, I might never go back to store bought. I’ve sewed masks and birthday gifts for my twins. I’m even having fun teaching my kids long division and French past tense.

I’ve turned into Martha freakin’ Stewart (only, you know, without the insider trading and hostage taking).

I know a lot of that is thanks to privilege and luck (my Hubs can do his job from home, my kids are a good age – old enough to entertain themselves some of the time & to understand what’s going on, but young enough I’m still capable of helping with their schoolwork when needed – we have money and storage space for food, and we have a backyard) but a year ago I wouldn’t have thought there was *anything* that could make me enjoy being a homemaker.

Don’t get me wrong, this still isn’t fun. There are days when the kids drive me up the wall. I desperately want to finish writing my book. I don’t know when I’ll see family members and friends in person again. And, oh yeah, I’m terrified of me or one of my many family members dying (a not-so-small possibility considering ages, underlying conditions, and the sheer horror of this disease).

But I have to take joy where I can find it, and being able to rock this whole Stay-at-Home-Mom-thing is apparently my new (if ironic*) joy.

 

*Ironic in the Alanis Morisette-sense, not actual irony (the definition of which I’ve never really had a handle on, having hated English classes as a kid. And yes, I know, that’s also “ironic,” considering my current career aspirations.)

(I also want to point out that my husband is totally doing his part in household chores: he cooks on weekends – aka when he isn’t working all day – does a lot of the outside chores, and does about 95% of our shopping.)

 

 

 

 

What is Time, Anyway?

No, I’m not actually referring to life during the pandemic (although, once again, sorry for the late post!)

I’m actually talking about the timing issues I’m having with my Adult Urban Fantasy WiP.

Trying to plot out the passage of time in my book is feeling like trying to schedule holiday celebrations with multiple extended family members (wow, is this now a dated reference? Yikes!)

Anyway.

Basically, I’m juggling the work and life schedules of four characters (can’t be a Sunday or the minister is busy, Friday afternoon’s a no-go because of the lawyer). Add in the complications of hospital visiting hours, and a 24-hour deadline – not to mention time for the characters to, you know, sleep -and…yeah, chaos.

I’m pretty sure the only cure for this mess is to pull out a day planner and plot directly into it, to make sure I don’t end up with, say, a 10pm Girl Scouts meeting.

What about you? How do you plot out the timing in your books? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

No Such Thing As Normal

Sorry for the late post, but I lost track of the day of the week.

What can I say, time has no meaning during…whatever we’re calling this period – “lockdown” and “quarantine” don’t feel right to me, because we’re not technically experiencing either of those in Ottawa. And “social distancing” or the new & improved phrase “physical distancing” are just too unwieldy. I guess we could just say “Covid-19,” but that refers to the actual illness, and may cause confusion. So, yeah, what are we calling this? Put your suggestions in the comments.

Anyway.

Today marked my first trip to a store in over three weeks (Hubs has been doing our once-a-week grocery shops), because I needed to top up my asthma inhaler. And, I’m not gonna lie, it was weird. And a little scary.

I wore a homemade mask – which is not fun when you’re already short of breath (by the time I got home, I was panting like I’d run a marathon). I had to grab a few other things besides the prescription (soap, vitamins, and, since I was already there, a few Easter treats so we can pretend to have some semblance of normalcy).

Wandering around the store was like a big game of tag – only avoiding other people’s cooties instead of their hand. Luckily the store wasn’t too busy, and most people were very considerate about giving lots of space, and waiting for an aisle to clear (except for the extremely oblivious lady who stopped once just past the cash to rearrange all her purchases, and again outside the door, causing a back-up of people who wanted to leave the store.)

It’s only been three weeks, but already my whole mentality has changed. I felt like a trapped rabbit when I encountered another shopper (especially if there was someone else blocking the aisle six feet behind me). In another few months, when the restrictions finally begin to ease, I’m not sure we’ll be going back to what was once considered “normal.”

We’re all going to be traumatized by this. Not just by the deaths that will touch our lives (although of course that will be part of it), but I can’t imagine not having a two week supply of food and goods in my house now, or going out shopping “just for fun.”

And I’m going to be giving serious stink eye to anyone who gets within my six foot bubble for years to come.

For now, I hope you’re all staying safe. I’ll be back next week (assuming I can figure out what day it is)

April Check-In

Normally I start these check-in posts by commenting on how quickly the previous month passed, but I’m pretty sure March was about 687 days long this year.

Despite how long it felt, I haven’t exactly been productive, writing-wise. It’s hard to write when the world is crashing down around you, and on top of that, I have three kids at home to entertain. This week I pretty much gave up trying to write while they played their “educational” video games (I’m at the point where the Math Prodigy music plays in my dreams!), and focused my “free” time on crafty things instead (working on some homemade gifts for my boys’ birthday next month).

I’m hoping to get to back to writing next week, although I’m keeping my expectations pretty low, especially since we’re supposed to actually begin school-from-home, and I have a feeling that’s going to suck a lot of my time and mental energy.

Even my reading/audiobook time has taken a hit, as many of my dog walks and chores have become family events.

March Reading Stats

  • Adult Mystery (6)
  • Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal (1)
  • YA Fantasy (3)
  • YA Contemporary (1)
  • Re-Reads (3)

March Total: 11 (+ 3 Re-Reads)

Year-to-Date: 66 (+7 Re-Reads)