Monday, March 29, 2010

Chapter, Chore

I don't have a housekeeper. It's my mess, I should clean it up. Well, it's also the mess of two sons, a husband, and two dogs, but WE should clean it up. If you're a woman, you know that means you will clean it up. Man, I should have gambled and had a third child. Maybe she would have liked to help her mom around the house. Yeah. Those are some low odds, huh? Anyway. People think I don't have a job. Well, they know I do, but they act like I don't. I'm imminently interruptible. And dispatchable. After all, I don't report to work anywhere, even though I work all the time. I've actually got three full-time jobs, but who's counting? Well, me, but I don't count. So here's my key to a semblance of sanity: Chapter, Chore. This only works in the re-write process, but with a little discipline, it works well. If I sit at my desk too long I get antsy. If I'm away from my desk too long I get antsy. I should just face it. I'm constantly antsy. So I break it up. I rewrite a chapter, then force myself to stop, get up, and do a chore. I switch the laundry or load the dishes or mop the floor. Then I get back to my desk, rewrite another chapter, force myself to stop, get up, and do another chore. I do have to force myself to stop rewriting, too. It's easy to get into the flow of the story, and who likes chores? But sitting at the desk too long can make me stale, and a stale author makes for uninspired rewriting. I find that the combination of sitting at the desk and getting up to do something "active" makes the day productive and...enjoyable. My house gets cleaned, my book gets rewritten. I think it's a good approach no matter what your job is. If you've got a desk job and e-mail's driving you bonkers, reply to five, then do something else. Reply to five more, do something else. If you're a student facing homework and chores, do a subject, do a chore. It keeps the boredom out of both. (And it would shock and amaze your mother, and also make her happy.) So that's it for now. I'm feeling antsy, which means I've been at this desk plenty long enough. Time to do some dishes!

18 comments:

Jinnyd said...

Thanks so much for putting it that way! So it's better to split up "boring" things so that you don't get bored with either or them that much? I don't know why I've never thought of it.

I'll be sure to try it sometime. It sounds like it's a very productive way of doing things, and makes the best use of time.

Don't your sons get assigned chores around the house? Just asking, as every kid in my family has to do chores of some kind to help out.

Anyway, so what are you working on right now, in terms of books? The Running Dream, I guess, and Sammy 14...? :-D

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Exactly.

And yeah. My sons have assigned chores. But that doesn't mean they get done without "reminders". I hate to nag. And I try to be patient and recognize that childhood is short and should be enjoyable--it really is over so quick. But a good work ethic is instilled at a young age, and I think a good work ethic is what makes a person successful in life. So yeah, I try to balance things, but it's not easy.

Trying to clear the decks to start on SK 14. Getting close...

xzx583 said...

Maybe you could train your dogs to clean up the mess. It might not cure being antsy, but it would help around the house. =D

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

That would be an awesome trick! Simply getting them to stop shedding would be a great help :0

clararoxlol said...

great way of putting it

Jonas said...

Ironic. I was in an extreme cleaning mood and was cleaning up everywhere, like, just before I read this post. It was just chance that my phone updated me to the post in time. :)

Pooja Dimba said...

great ideas you have there! :)
hm... though when i start my homework i've got to finish it or else i blank out when i come back... i also get distracted very easily!

Dohickeyjr said...

Maybe get some obsessed fans to clean your house for a "glance" of Sammy 14

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Dohickyjr: I busted up! Thank you for the laugh!

Jonas: Funny!

Everyone: thanks for your comments :-) And for the record, my husband is a great guy who is willing to help me out any time but works way too many hours!

Helen said...

I'm exactly the same as you! Since I'm a really active person I hate staying at the desk doing something boring. On rainy days when I try to do my homework I have the need to get up and play some active games like on the Wii!

Elizabeth said...

I actually 'let' myself read a chapter of Sammy after each Math Lesson (when I have several at a time). So I read a chapter, then do a lesson, then read a chapter, you get it :D lol. So I'm not as productive as you are, because for me a chapter is leisure, but it makes me do my math faster :).

Dohickeyjr said...

Cleaning, such a funny thing.My mom makes me make the house superclean before any of my friends come over everytime. It was like we were trying to sell them the house instead of having their company.

tatjana said...

Louisa(7) Sammy Keyes fan:
Your blog sounds just like your books, which by the way I loooove
Tatjana(mom):
Hey that sounds just like my life...(freelance illustrator, dog, kids, house, husband...)
thanks for Sammy, we're having fun with her every evening

xxCammyLoverxx said...

I thought I commented but I guess I didn't. Any-who, I like this idea, maybe I'll try it! (:

-Stephiee.

sammy4ever said...

wow! i can't believe i went a whole week and FORGOT to check you blog! i am so sorry i am just really busy.
ANYway, that's what i sometimes do when i'm doing homework (only i don't clean). i do a little homework, then i get antsy from sitting still for so long so i just run around the house for a while to see what everyone else is up to. then i get back to homework again.

xxCammyLoverxx said...

Last night I had dream #2 about WC. Except, the cover was pink and black and glittery. Hah. :)

-Stephiee.

Levina said...

Writing IS a chore.-__-
but it's a A FUN chore = O

Are you really starting SK 14 or are you just messing with us...? I mean, you just finished 13, right? Slow down and relax, girl!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Relax? Me? Ha! And how can I? Sammy's in a graveyard! At night! And there's this guy with a ... oh, I really, really, really need to button up!

So, uh, no, I'm not messin' with you :-)

Not about writing the book, anyway!