This is not a sexy post.
It's about organization. I've spent this summer doing work that I've ignored or avoided for years, like figuring out what that stuff is that's crammed between my bedroom wall and headboard (one hundred dusty gift bags) or what that stuff is pushed into the far corners of my closet (photographs and school papers from college). I've thrown away tons of paper, and bought plastic filing drawers for the papers that I could not throw away. There are Paul's papers, my papers, Ava's ENDLESS drawings and Amir's ENDLESS school papers. Getting all of these things filed in a drawer system is important for two reasons, so we can find them and because Arizona is dusty, dusty, dusty and papers attract dust.
I've been to Goodwill several times to unload. I've painted two rooms (well I served as the general contractor and gave instructions). I've bought furniture, rearranged stuff and de-cluttered the house in general. On the side of the refrigerator I placed a huge calendar that shows all of our schedules for the next four months. I've included writing deadlines in this large calendar which has helped me see how I can merge what's a priority for me (writing and publishing) with my kids' many commitments. I can't emphasize enough how helpful it is to see where I have empty blocks of time. It has helped me visualize when I can sneak time to write other than in the middle of the night.
Last year, I made a vow to make writing a priority in my life in a way that I had not before then. I'm glad that I did and I'm starting to see the fruits of my effort, but oowee! the stress that I endured trying to finish a manuscript while working full time and toting kids to extracurricular activities. The stress was unbelievable. For the first time in my life, I experienced total exhaustion, chest pains, and migraine headaches. For the first time in decades, I had to see a doctor for symptoms and not a routine visit. I realized then that keeping four calendars in my head and not sleeping was insane. A friend, Dawn, laughed with me that multitasking is overrated. In fact, I'd say its not multitasking but more like ADHD.
This doesn't mean that my life is less busy or that I have more time to write. It just means that I can negotiate the chaos with more ease, which will be important when, on July 20, our family adopts Mr. Seymour Simms shown below.