Tag Archives: flylady

Not so much with the rockin’

Okay, so I’m a downer. Sue me.

Things in my GIT life are better. I’ve been doing better with the housekeeping thing which is mostly a matter of keeping the dishes washed. That’s really the main stumbling block in my life. There have been times in the last two weeks where I’ve had unexpected stuff come up and come home late with no dinner plan and still whipped up something quick out of my pantry. Good to be veering away from that “let’s just get take-out” path I was headed down. (I really like take-out. A lot.)

My weight/size continues to be the same. So far I’m not having trouble keeping off what I’ve lost. Of course now that we’re going into the colder part of the year that will be more of a challenge as a) I like to eat when I’m cold, and b) it’s cool enough in my house that I can actually use the oven without roasting us. This may result in cookies.

To cope with that I’ve started Zumba. Let me just say that I’m glad it’s just me and the pets and that they can’t talk. I couldn’t be more stiff and out of step. These hip just don’t move like that, okay? Let’s face it: I am waaay too uptight to salsa.

Is Zumba the all that and a bag of chips that everyone says it is? So far it’s not. It honestly doesn’t seem different from any other aerobics video I’ve done in the past. I mean, yeah, I can see where the dance aspect is there, and maybe how the production is different, but those are things that don’t seem to affect my experience of it. I’m not saying I hate it or that I’m quitting, I’m just saying I’m not going to be going to Amazon and writing one of those reviews gushing about how it’s the funnest exercise evar and I’m, like, super-addicted.

I will say, though, that I’m not sore, and I’ve moved enough that I maybe should be. And maybe it’s somewhat motivating that I have this secret, Zumba-inspired fantasy that I will finally learn to loosen up and dance, and also attain the label “hot mom.”

So I guess my final verdict on that is that if you like to dance, you will probably like this, and if dancing makes you feel like a dork, then you may not like it as much as the Zumba-crazed reviewers imply you will.

ROW80

So today’s the big #ROW80 Twitter party. I’m gonna be standing over here in my corner watching, if you don’t mind.

I’m having a lot of trouble with Heroes Under Siege. And I remember going through this with the last book. I can’t seem to find a place to get started. I can’t craft the right scene for the beginning to show what I want to show.

It doesn’t help that, if I could change something about Heroes ‘Til Curfew, I would change the beginning. I’m not sure what I would change it to, I just feel like the beginning was pretty weak with not enough happening and too much exposition. I was in that thing where I was trying to write something that could be easily understood by someone new to the series, and hopefully interesting enough to draw readers of the last book along. But I probably went like 1500 words before anything interesting actually happens. Which is not good.

So, learning experience for me. I’m very much with the thing that this book is done and over and I’m going to apply what I’ve learned to the next book. I’m not going to change what’s already out there (that would be weird and it’s not THAT bad).

Meanwhile, the whole experience doesn’t fill me with confidence about getting started on book 3. But I’ll figure it out eventually. It would be awesome to be able to get started in time for NaNoWriMo.

5 Comments

Filed under GIT

GIT: Building a Control Journal

Here we are for another GIT (Goddess in Training) post, in which I try to figure out how to, you know, live.

I’m totally standing by what I said about how I was into the traditional publishing thing to learn stuff. And I was lured by the possibility of an advance. But something I didn’t talk about: it seemed easier.

Once I made the decision to go that way, I immediately felt less pressure. Sure, traditionally published writers absolutely have to work to market their books, but it seemed like I would at least have some help and guidance in that regard. More than that, it was the traditional publishing schedule that was appealing. In indie it’s definitely a good idea to put out as much work as fast as you can. So the idea of only being able to put out one book a year for a while, and being okay with doing only that if I wanted, was appealing. It was a relief to think that I might be able to write one manuscript a year and let other people deal with the details, and to feel like I wouldn’t be the sole person in charge of my own destiny with regard to marketing.

Now that I’ve gone back to indie, of course all that pressure’s back, along with more because I was such a slacker for months while I was finishing Heroes ‘Til Curfew. I spent the weekend redesigning my site here, revamping some of the static content. I’ve got a bunch of ideas for things I want to do and try, and mostly it’s just stuff I want to do better. Stuff I’m letting slide because I spend a lot of time worrying instead of just buckling down and taking care of things.

And the worst part of THAT? One of the things that doesn’t get done is writing the next book. Right now I am RIGHT where I was last year in terms of not writing consistently because I’m constantly doing this #HeadlessChicken act. My stats sickness is a little better this year. Which is good. Maybe I’m in recovery. On the other hand, I’m busier in my personal life. My daughter started a dance class this year, I’ve got four different social commitments which actually take me out of the house 6-12 times a month (this is a lot for me). Scariest of all, I’ve got a Girl Scout Brownie troop I’m going to be leading this year. We’re supposed to have our first meeting on Friday, stuff’s not in place for that yet, and I have about a million details to take care of.

I’m conscious of kind of freaking out here. So somewhere in the middle of being better about keeping house (which was destroyed by two seven-year-olds having a sleepover this weekend), being better about family meals, being better about fitness (my back is killing me and I think it’s because my muscles are too weak to hold me up properly because all I do is sit in front of this computer), being better about social media, figuring out the Girl Scout details, remembering dance class and the other stuff on my calendar, I have this vague recollection that I’m supposed to be writing a book–if I ever want to get anywhere in this career, and while I’m at it, there’s a short story and novella I need to write before that book comes out. Not to mention that idea I’m supposed to come up with for my agent for something different.

[At this point I’m reminding myself to breathe and thinking that it’s a shame I don’t have a moment to read more of that book about Zen so I can just be in this moment and not in all these other moments I really can’t affect from here or whatever.]

However, at some point in the past, I used to write more, I used to read more, and I had a baby who nursed hourly and then an insane toddler who had to be watched every moment and never napped. And somehow I also got housework done, served a lot more from-scratch food than I do lately (including homemade baby food), and somehow had time to maintain a personal blog and socialize on LJ all the time.

One thing that I had at that time was a control journal–a domestic’s day-planner. I had a page for every day of the week and all I had to do every morning was open it up. All my routines were written out so that I didn’t have to think, I just had to do and cross things off.

Control Journal a la Flylady

And of course, after some time of doing these routines, they actually became routines. But having it written down allowed me to be on autopilot before I actually learned the route. You can see on one side were some of the things I was supposed to daily. There as a place to write in stuff specific to that day–like sending my brother a birthday card–and a place for writing in tasks which weren’t daily or weekly. This page’s notes tell me to finish one of the slipcovers I was making and to declutter the entertainment center.  I’d write all those things in when I organized for the week on Sunday. On the other side of the notebook is my dinner menu for the day with recipes, in the order they had to be started. So the crockpot recipe was first, bread recipe for the bread machine next, and quick fix vegetable sides at the end.

I realize that I spend a lot of time spinning my wheels because I’m so stressed about not having stuff done that I can’t think what to do next. So I don’t actually DO anything, so I get more stressed. And I think I can really point to things falling apart when I moved from that last house to this one. My routines were upset because things were different and I stopped using the journal.

Flylady imageSo I’m going to be working on building a new control journal for myself. Or perhaps a few of them. I need to keep track of stuff for the house, stuff for the writing job, stuff for Girl Scouts. I’m not going to stop everything to try to make the perfect journal all at once. I’m just going to start writing things down, collecting data, putting it together a little a time.

If you’d like to read more about control journals, click here.

9 Comments

Filed under GIT

Some Musings on Motivation and #ROW80

And when I say musings, I mean that I’m looking at some things that I’ve done right, and trying to figure out how the hell that happened.

There are three big things I’ve done in the last several years that I can easily point to and say: these are things which required a lot of motivation and I made them happen.

  1. Got my house together– When my daughter was finally done nursing and I was once again free to move about the cabin, I really did a lot of work to get my home in order. It was the first time in our marriage (about 15 years at that time, I guess) that we lived without any cardboard boxes in view. I decluttered, I cleaned up, I got routines together, and when disasters happened (as they did daily as I had a toddler around) I was able to take care of them and get things back to order.
  2. Wrote a book– Meaning I finished it. I started at the beginning and I wrote until the end. And it was even good. I made an outline, I had a list of scenes, and I tried to write at least one every day. I didn’t write every day, but I averaged more than one and I finished 30 days after I started. No putting it aside 2/3 in and starting something else, no putting writing aside to pick up another activity.
  3. Lost weight– I got married while I was still in college. Between the weight everyone gains in college and the weight everyone gains when first married, I was kinda screwed. My senior year I made a big effort at diet and exercise and lost half of what I’d gained those four years. But after that it was a slow but steady increase until I got pregnant almost a decade later. After losing enough of the baby weight to get out of maternity clothes and back to a size 14, I pretty much maintained 160-165 for a number of years. Today I weighed in at 127.5, a weight I haven’t seen this century.

So if I went through this period where I was good a keeping up my house, why is my house a wreck? Why am I always struggling with this? What am I doing wrong?

Why did it take me a month to write the first draft of Hush Money and close to ten months for Heroes ‘Til Curfew?

If I have the self-discipline to just say no to binges, over-eating, stress-eating, etc., why can’t I seem to apply that in other areas?

This is stuff I’ve been thinking. Reading about motivation can be confusing. A lot of it seems to come down to this concept: You just have to really want it. I can’t make you want it.

Well, um, I think I do want it. That’s why I’m here. I don’t know how to make myself want it anymore than this. I’m not even sure I’m comfortable with the notion of a greater level of want. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to help with my crazy level.

I mean, did I not want to write Heroes ‘Til Curfew? Of course I did. Did I want it enough? I think so.

It’s hard to talk about this stuff because nothing happens in a vacuum. I was better at housekeeping when I wasn’t also trying to run an Etsy shop or a writing career. I was better and just writing when I wasn’t in the throes of second book syndrome. There are definitely other factors at work.

But other people manage do more than one thing at a time, and I’d like to as well, so I’m looking at these three successes and trying to figure out what they had in common.

  1. When I was good at housekeeping, my goal was not to have a perfect or even beautiful home. I did not own the house I lived in, I knew I couldn’t afford to make the improvements it needed. It was never going to beautiful, but I was going maintain it and keep it as clean and comfortable as I could. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of making it better and maintaining the progress.
  2. When I was good at getting a book written, my goal was not to produce the greatest book ever. I had no standard I was going for, except for it to be finished and as good as I could make it. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of writing a book from beginning to end.
  3. When I was good at losing weight, I never had a goal weight. I might have said, I’d like to lose x amount, or I’d like to be x by the end of the summer, but those were just things I would throw out in conversation, like wishes. They were never subgoals of some greater endgame I was trying to achieve. In fact, when I did really start to lose weight, it wasn’t about losing weight, it was about changing my eating habit. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of learning to be mindful about eating and making better choices.

The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process.

That’s what I’ve pulled out of this. I’m not sure what it means, what to do with it, how to apply it. Not yet. Plenty of people do great by focusing on an end result and breaking that down into smaller tasks. I don’t think I’m that person. Some people make the decision to change their actions and they follow through. I don’t. When I tell myself to do stuff, most of the time I just don’t.

Maybe because it’s always easier to just stay where I am.

I’ve already determined that I need to change my thoughts before I can change my actions. Now I’ve determined that thinking about my goals as big end result things, or even smaller, successive results, doesn’t really work for me either.

What is going to work for me? Still don’t know. But if I figure it out, I’ll pass it on.

#ROW80: I have 10 threads for Heroes Under Siege. My goal for the week is to make sure I understand what happens in each one from beginning to end and how they interweave. That’s going well so far as I’m at 7/10 mostly done. I’d like to start brainstorming specific events and jotting down scenes next week.

Meanwhile, I should have a guest post up over at Book Lovers, Inc. today. The post is about taking something often considered boyish–superheroes–and taking it for Team Girl. And there’s a giveaway. Go, read, comment, make it look like people like me.

5 Comments

Filed under GIT

I have too much crap

It’s GIT Tuesday. Things are going okay. School starts tomorrow and while I haven’t gotten everything done I wanted to do, things are better.

You know how you get Netflix in the little red envelopes and then you put them back in there and send them back. But you can also send two back in the same mailer. So the other day my husband asked me about all the Netflix mailers I have in the basket. And I explained how every once in a while I send two back in the same one, blah blah. “So you’re just saving the extra ones for emergencies?”

Um, I guess so. I mean, that’s dumb, right? Why am I holding on to these things?

Holding on to things is a problem. I hold on to so much stuff just in case I’m going to need it again. I have a drawer with jeans in every size from 4 to 16. What the hell?

Letting go of things is good. I’ve done it before and I know this. It’s just one of those things that doesn’t come naturally. But when I declutter, when I have less stuff, things are much better. There’s more space to, you know, live and stuff. I don’t know why the decision to give up stuff is so hard when the actually giving it up and living without it really isn’t.

So back to the weight loss thing, here are some things I gave up:

  • Drinking calories. The only exception is that I try to drink a glass of milk at dinner most days. Otherwise it’s water and diet stuff.
  • Diet Coke. I didn’t give it up, but late this winter I kicked at 5-6 per day habit down to a 0-2 per day habit. I think the loss of all that sodium from my diet has made my weight more stable, not ever-changing due to water retention.
  • Ordering french fries. We go out to eat every Sunday with my parents, plus my mom and I go out a few times a month, plus I have a child who likes the fast food playgrounds. I have plenty of fries with that opportunities in my life. At fast food I just say no. At a sit-down restaurant I ask to substitute something green. It’s never a problem. If someone else has fries and they look particularly good, I’ll snag one, but I don’t need fries with that. I think this has actually made a big difference. I’m a big fan of the carbs and fries are definitely one of the good things in life. But good enough to carry around on my person for years to come? No.
  • Being full. I never eat until I can’t eat anymore. I mean, I used to, and now I can’t even figure out why I used to. For some people, that feeling equates in their mind to “satisfied.” I decided to think of it as “stuffed.” And I don’t want to stuff. I eat because I’m hungry. To get unhungry. So when I find myself thinking about a second helping at home or eating much more than half of what’s on my plate at a restaurant, I try to pause and think about whether or not I’m still hungry. Since my goal is just unhungry, if I don’t feel hungry anymore, it’s time to put the fork down.

I tell you this because, as I said before, changing the way I think and actually being mindful about the eating has really helped me get back to healthy weight. Don’t know if it’ll be helpful for anyone else. Hope so. Meanwhile, I should go declutter and let go of some stuff.

5 Comments

Filed under GIT

GIT Tuesday

I decided to move Goddess in Training to Tuesday since I’m often running around on Thursday. Of course, it shouldn’t matter. One of my many GIT goals is to write blog posts at least one day in advance and schedule them. That’s a baby step as my original plan was to have things scheduled a week in advance. So I’m writing to you from Monday, I wrote today’s post yesterday, and Sunday’s post on Saturday. So far, so good, on that one, anyway.

Other than trying to keep up with the blog, Kait made me make massive lists this weekend. I’m having company in about six weeks. Very important company. I’m having multiple houseguests over multiple nights. I NEVER have anyone over at my house, so this is a Big Deal. I’m not freaking out because the people coming know who I am and it probably won’t a surprise to them if everything’s a shambles, and they’ll still love me. Still, I’d like to make an effort to not have my guests live in squalor. So I’ve got this massive list of housekeeping tasks that need to be done anyway and would get me solidly on track if I could maintain it.

Other lists are maintenance tasks, some health and fitness stuff (like going back to meal planning and doing yoga every day), and the steps I need to take to get back into the social media stuff like I’m supposed to.

I’m actually kind of excited about it. Maybe that’s a strong word. But I put a bunch of stuff in Cozi yesterday, and it’s looking doable.

Already I hit a snag where my husband called and got my out of bed, sending me on a series of errands that took up the whole morning. During the errands I ran into another mom and since we’re supposed to have a heat index of 110 today, we made tentative plans to meet up at the pool this afternoon. So I haven’t done anything on my list today, except laundry and this post I’m typing. But I think that’s okay.

Weight Loss Tip

Big heading! Rather than just babble at you about how I’m trying to get my shit together, I thought I’d try to come up with some of the things that helped me lose weight this year.

My tip of the week is a thought process. Recurring thoughts are habits. Habits don’t automatically start happening just because we decide we should do something differently. Once you start something, it takes time to catch on. But once you’ve repeated the behavior enough times, it becomes something you do rather naturally.

I mean, you all know that right? And that the concept works with things you say to yourself in the same way it works with making you bed when you get out of it or putting your keys in the same place when you walk in the door. (I marvel that there are people in the world with made beds who always know where they keys are. Baby steps.)

So here’s the concept: Extra crap you put into your body becomes extra crap that lives on your body. Yeah, it takes a lot of extra calories to make a whole pound, but a) a pound is nothing to sneeze at, and b) it’s not like it only happens if you eat that many calories in one sitting–it’s cumulative. So when you walk by the cookie jar and grab one–or three–cookies just because they look good, not because you’re even hungry…how much extra you does that add up to in a whole year? Everything that goes in counts.

What I learned to ask myself is: Do I really want to carry that around?

I mean, seriously. If I’m looking at dessert, knowing I’ve already hit the limit of what I need to eat, that stuff is going right to my butt. And forget what it looks like, I have to carry that. Maybe for years! Yeah, maybe it’s looks delicious, but delicious enough to carry for years? On my ass where it no longer looks quite so enticing?

No. Way. I am way too lazy for that.

Yeah, it’s not always easy, but this habit of stopping to think about whether or not I want to make a lifetime commitment with this brownie is sort of a cold shower for me.

I’m not on a diet. I don’t write down what I eat and I only sort of generally estimate calorie intake. It’s not a horrible, regimented thing. This habit is part of a change I went through that means I don’t HAVE to do the hardcore diet thing.

So that’s my tip. Hope it helps.

PS. Today’s my brother’s birthday. If you happen to read, Happy Birthday, Dave!

6 Comments

Filed under GIT

GIT Thursday

Not like I need to add another day to a blog schedule I’m already not really keeping, but I’ve been wanting to start talking about some stuff that doesn’t really fit in with the rest of it. Like, in yesterday’s post I mentioned that I’ve dropped several sizes over the course of the year. Kait talks about her commitment to weight loss and getting fit on her blog a lot, calls it Goddess in Training (GIT). And trust me, Kait’s commitment is inspiring. Mine…not so much.

But then, hey, I lost over 15 pounds this year and, like, 35 over the last 7 (my daughter just turned seven so there’s a good marker for when I was the biggest). And I need to give myself credit. I’ve made real changes that made a real difference.

Somehow I’m just figuring that out– that whole idea that the loss, which I’ve kept off all summer, despite ice cream and vacation, is a result of changes I made and applied consistently and not somehow that I’ve been lucky with my weight or it just kind of happened. (If you’ve ever heard that thing where depressed people tend to believe their lives are ruled by outside forces…yeah.)

I live in chaos. In FlyLady land, CHAOS stands for Can’t Have Anybody Over Syndrome, a condition where your home is such a wreck you have to block the door with your body just to sign for a package. Because it’s just that bad, you don’t know where to start, and even if you do blow through and clean it up, everything’s a wreck the next week because you don’t have the habits to keep it up.

So much of “having it together,” it seems to me, is about these habits.

So this morning I was thinking about how I couldn’t have actually worried away 15 pounds. I forget to eat, but I’ve been forgetting to eat for years. I just used to make up for it and then some. So what was the change? Well, there were a bunch, and some of them were changes in how I think about food. More accurately, they were me getting into the habit of THINKING about food rather than just acting on hunger and cravings. About making what I eat a thoughtful decision rather than a whim. Which is less tiresome than it sounds.

So I took control of the eating and it was good. Now if I go back a bit in the blog, I should come to a post in which I think I said that I need to work on changing the way I approach writing. I can’t be depending on things to just come to me, I need to learn to work consistently and believe that the words will come, even when I’m not in the mood. Which sounds a lot like I need to work by thoughtful decision rather than whim.

Hmmm….

The chaos is not just in my house. It’s not just about the amount of pet hair that’s on my floor right now or the dishes I’m pretending aren’t in my sink. It’s in my head. It’s in the fact that I’m so mood dependent that I seem to wait for inspiration to dictate everything I do. When and what I write, if I pick up my house, what I eat…

And hey, it’s non-optimal to say the least.

So maybe what becoming a goddess means to me is taking control over my shit. Which is scary because it feels like planning to become someone entirely different. Kait would tell me to break it down and work on one thing at a time. So I think that’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to try not to think too much on that big picture.

3 Comments

Filed under GIT

My Intentions for 2011

Well, I stayed up until midnight last night, but was so tired I forgot to check my numbers before they went away. So now I’ll have to wait until the reports come up to see how I did in December. So I guess I’ll be putting off my look back at the year for a few days. Which is cool. This frees me up talk about what I want to do this year.

Intentions 2011

Fiction

  • Really work at least an hour each weekday (30 min. ALONE) on real work.
    Heroes 'Til Curfew Cover Art

    Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

    Not blogging, or any other kind of marketing, and calling that book work. If I don’t get work done during the day, I need to make up the time after everyone goes to bed.

  • Complete and release Heroes ‘Til Curfew, the short story about what happened when Joss got home at the end of Hush Money (needs title that’s shorter than that!), possibly another short story, and a full-length book 3 novel.
  • Do some real work on outlining the series.
  • Write at least 3 scenes per week until the draft of Heroes ‘Til Curfew is finished.
  • Complete 1 scene per weekday on the next book. Get back in the habit of sitting down and writing a complete thought.

Blogging

Heather's scrapbook cover for the blog

  • Work out a schedule to post at least three days a week.
  • Write at least one regular post a week that might interest non-writing visitors. I actually have no idea what it is to be a non-writer, or what interests non-writers. If anyone’s got topic suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Hobbies

My current doll collections

I need to get back to having time for other things in my life.

  • I want to read more books this year.
  • I want to get back to my doll hobby. I’ve got several dolls that need their faces painted and other maintenance.

    A knitting pattern on the Sony Reader

  • I want to get back to sewing and patternmaking. I enjoy that and I want to find the time to create and publish patterns again.
  • I want to continue knitting at least once a week. Getting out with actual people is good for me and I haven’t been to knitting in over a month now. So I’d like to try to do that. Even if I miss my regular day for some reason, there’s no reason I can drop in a different day. (Why am I so rigid?)
  • Exercise. While hardly a hobby, ew, I don’t want to give it its own category. So I’ll put in here with things to make time for. I just need to make sure I get up and do some little thing every day. And we’ll see where that leads. I got an indoor bike trainer for Christmas, so maybe I’ll be able to combine exercise with reading this year.

Housekeeping

I used to be pretty into Flylady, which was a huge help to me. I’ve really slacked off on that since my daughter started school and I’ve turned my attentions toward creative pursuits.

What lunch used to look like before Hush Money.

  • Restart the baby steps and re-establish routines
  • Get back to regular menu planning because getting the cooking/shopping stuff under control always makes things run more smoothly. I’ve got some great recipe management software now, so I should be able to make this not so much of a chore.
  • Make this the year I get rid of all the excess crap. I’ve still got most of my daughter’s baby clothes and toys. I’ve got tons of fabric and yarn I’ll never use. I’ve got mountains of paper books that will never be read again (and as most of them are too old for the used bookstore, I’ve no idea what to do with them).

Christmas 2011

It’s pretty safe to say I mostly failed at Christmas this year. I don’t ever do a

Even the little dollies got presents in 2009.

fabulous Christmas, but I usually do a lot better than this. I usually put away a little cash out of my grocery money every week all through the year and then have most of my gifts purchased by November. I usually give lots of gifts of homemade cookies. None of that happened this year. Nor did I send any cards.

In previous years I’d done the Holiday Grand Plan, and I’d even run the LJ community for it for the last few years. Since it starts at the end of August, right when I was into marketing Hush Money, learning a ton of new stuff, trying to get the print version out, etc, I turned the running of the group over to someone else and didn’t participate. And when Christmas came around I could really feel the difference. So this year I need to get back on that wagon and make this Christmas better and less stressful at the same time.

***

If you’ve read this far, you’re pretty awesome (and possibly really bored). Thanks for hanging out with me while I think through my life. This probably looks like a lot, but I don’t think there’s anything new here, or anything that’s not what I already feel I need to be doing. It’s just working out how to be more consistent with all of it that’s a problem for me.

Organization. Maybe my real intention is to stop being my own worst enemy. Help me help you, Susan.

18 Comments

Filed under goals