May 29, 2014

Getting Squirrels to Run the Same Direction

by Kari Diane Pike

"So, now that you've completed your degree, what are you going to do with all you spare time?"

If only I had a dark chocolate truffle for every time I have been asked that question...Mmmmm...truffles. But I digress... I get it that people are curious. They wonder why I even bothered to obtain a degree in the first place. I mean, I'm "middle-aged" and I am still a stay-at-home mom with only one child left in the house and he's sixteen and gone most of the day, so life is easy. My time is my own and I can spend my days puttering around, going to lunch, watching movies, shopping, and doing my nails - oh, and eating chocolate. Right?


My problem is in trying to answer that question. Why do I hesitate to tell people that I'm writing a book? Maybe because I don't have anything to show for my efforts yet? Perhaps I don't want them to ask when I will finish it? Am I afraid of being held accountable? Or maybe the reason is because I haven't found a way to park my backside in the chair and really get serious about putting my research into an actual book. I have never before had so much trouble focusing. Yes, in the past I've been distracted by "more important" things like feeding my family and cleaning the litter box, but this time it's different. I know what I want to do, but I seem to find every reason imaginable why I can't do it.

During my run this morning, I tried to think of ways to eliminate the "squirrels" scampering in different directions in my head. I tried to visualize trapping them and setting them free somewhere else. The visualization became one of squirrels running in hamster wheels, but the wheels weren't turning because multiple squirrels were trying to run in opposite directions in the same wheel. Some of the wheels connected to each other, like gears. Then I saw a pattern of gears - all stuck in place because the gear in the center was out of alignment. 

Are you still with me? I think what I learned about myself is that I am always going to have multiple tasks, projects, challenges, whatever you want to call them. I will always have the same 24 hours a day (minus time for sleeping and eating...oh to think of what I could do if I didn't have to sleep or eat...except I love doing both)! I am the mother of a large family and I will always have "stuff" to do. The trick is to balance the gears and set things so that everything is turning in the right direction with the proper amount of force. Balance isn't about having everything "equal". My body requires a balance of nutrients, but that doesn't mean my sodium and magnesium levels are the exact amount. That would kill me. Balance has a deeper meaning for my body and for the way I spend my time. Some "gears are small and some are large. Some turn slowly and some fast. It comes back to the wise old adage about "a time and a season for everything." 

So, how do I get the gears to line up? My first step is to name those gears and write them down on paper. I think I'm going to look for one of those children's set of gears and put a label on each one and then organize them so they all turn together - a good visual, don't you think? The exercise will help me establish priorities and give me a way to track my progress. I think that has been a big part of my problem - not being able to see progress in the little things. You know, it only takes one little loose screw to stop the clock. But that's another visualization for another day. 

How do you keep your writing goals in balance with the rest of your life?



  1. I LOVE this! I have to have a ton of things going on all at once in order for me to be productive. Since I had very few places to be this week, I got NO writing done. But I did spend a lot of time on FB and Pinterest:) My book is not going to get worked on much this summer, but I can whip out a ton of blog posts for my blog because I can squeeze in an hour here or there. When kids are back in school in the fall, I'll have more concentrated amounts of time to work on the book.

    I have to prioritize time for myself. I even put it on the calendar for the family to see - it says "Mom Writing Time" so they know not to bother me. It's more difficult with my computer out in the open because I am easily acessible. When I'm serious, I go somewhere I can't be bothered, like the library, my room, the park, or my hubs office (where I can lock the door).

    1. Thank you for your comments, Stacy. I can relate to getting things done better when the pressure is on. I am so much more organized with my time when I have deadlines. I need to make a "Mom Writing" sign. great idea. hugs~

  2. What a perfect post. I, for one, totally identify with it on several points. I hesitate to tell people I'm a writer. I don't because I don't think I'm good enough. I ask myself what would need to happen for me to be good enough. I can't answer that question. I also find myself running off in several directions as once. Prioritizing is important for me. When I remember to do it, I have success. If I write it down in the morning, I get it done - maybe not that day, but in the next few days. So I write my to do list most days.
    Thanks for this post. If fits for all of us and is a wonderful reminder to continue on this path because we have Sisters that are with us. :}

    1. Thanks Christy! So why are we so hard on ourselves? I consider you to be a very talented writer...more than good enough. And yes, we are with you all the way! hugs~

    2. I don't guess that's why I don't write lol

    3. But Terri, I love reading the things you write.


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