Monday, May 23, 2011

Answering the Number One Question I get Asked, and a Peek into my Writing Space

It's time to play the...


Where I take you through my writing day, and you get to guess which priorities get neglected around here. 

This game was inspired by the number of times I get asked, "How do you find time to be a mom and a writer?"

Also brought to you by, "I could write a book, but I don't have the free time you obviously do."

And my favorite: "I'd write a book, but I love my kids."

Okay, nobody really said that last one, but sometimes it feels like it. 

I'm sure you've all heard writers say they are as busy as the next guy, and it's true. So I'll take you on a tour of my writing day.

Here's my writing space:

I come here whenever I get a chance. There are three things I need on my desk in order to really have the most productive writing block (not to be confused with "writer's block":
The Bread of Life.
Water, Diet Coke, Tea, and honey for the tea. 

Yes, I pee a lot. But that gives me a good break. 

I try to make everything convenient. If I need another Diet Coke, I simply walk out to my front porch.

A place for everything, and everything in its place. The Diet Coke's place is on the front porch. Next to the car seat. Under the caulking gun.

If I need something to eat, like a leftover roll, I look under the coffee table.
Who needs a pantry?

If I need something to wear, I look on the kitchen floor, and check to see if they're dry yet.

There really is method to the madness. They're drying in the sunlight.

I like to keep weapons accessible. If I need to act out a fight scene, I simply grab the light saber next to the chair:

... or the sword next to the other chair:

...and for the really emotional scenes, I choose the Scythe of Death on the kitchen bar stool:

If Kid C asks me where he can find a clean shirt, I (exasperatedly) tell him to look where they always are... on certain Tuesdays of the month... when the moon is just right: folded and neatly put away in a large pile next to the banister.
That space is dedicated space.

And if friends come over, I escort them to the one room of the house that is generally clean. The kitchen.
I don't like to be distracted while I'm eating. So there's only one computer and one television in the kitchen.
Sure there are all those clothes on the floor, but they are in really neat piles. The reason my kitchen is so clean (relatively, I know) is because I made a vow a long time ago that the kitchen is too beautiful to mess it up with my lame attempts at cooking.

Now for the crux of the game: Can you guess how I find time to write? Can you GUESS WHAT I NEGLECT?

I heard a quote over the weekend: "Balance comes when you neglect a little bit of everything."

I can't remember who said it. I was too busy writing. But it's very true. I neglect a little bit of everything, but a lot of a certain thing. You probably know what that certain thing is.

What about all y'all? How do you find balance? And was anyone a little disappointed that the Rapture didn't happen? Or maybe it did, and y'all are gone now...

I miss you already. 


  1. Dude, I'm so with you. Right now, in the midst of some tough edits, I am only saved by the dual technological wonders of CrockPot and Roomba.

  2. Beth- Glad I'm not alone. But what's a Roomba? *Runs to Google, hoping it means "Free Housekeeper"*

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Oh my goodness this made me laugh. The diet coke belongs under the caulking gun! And I may or may not have that same light saber in my house... Just sayin. :)

  4. K.D.- Everyone has a light saber, right? And no matter how many times you chuck it down the stairs, it ends up back upstairs, in the living room. At least in my house.

  5. I wasn't raptured, either! I guess heaven doesn't want me and hell's afraid I'll take over.

  6. Yeah, pathetic Rapture! If it had happened you wouldn't have to worry about cleaning...well at least not feeling guilty about not cleaning.

  7. I don't feel guilty about neglecting the laundry because I know it will never leave me. Even if I stop talking to it for a week it will still be there, arms open, ready to take me back.

  8. I don't write (often) nor do I have children and yet I neglect almost everything. So, I understand how you feel (sort of). I think negligence and procrastination is just the human condition.

    As far as the Rapture is concerned, I really like the follow billboard that has popped up in several cities:

  9. 'Also brought to you by, "I could write a book, but I don't have the free time you obviously do."'

    Seriously? Someone said this to you? And I'm sure it was with a condescending tone. Grrr.

    Your house looks good. Even when I was home full time (and wasn't writing), trying to keep up with six children was impossible. I took a college Algebra class that had a story problem that started with a toddler messing things up at a certain rate and mom and dad cleaning up at a certain rate, starting at such and such a time. The theory was the parents would eventually get clean everything cleaned up. But I don't know if it's ever been documented to happen.

    Laundry is what always frustrated me. I realized one day that the kids were making new dirty clothes even as I was trying to get everything wash. That's when I knew the only way to ever get caught up was to make everyone go naked for a day. Um, no.

    Enjoyed your post. =D

  10. Debbie- :)

    Sal- I like that perspective!

    Jenny- wouldn't it be great if they could rapture up the mess in my house? Take it all away!

    Kate- You're right. Laundry loves unconditionally. Let us not forget it. :)

    Jenni- That billboard is awesome.

  11. Donna- I would so much rather do an Algebra problem about housework than actual housework. That's how much I hate it.

    In fact, if I didn't write, I still would have plenty of "free time" because I wouldn't be doing housework.

  12. This is a great post! I'm so glad I'm not the only one with swords, light sabers, and various weaponry scattered all over the house.

    I am pretty good about washing and folding the laundry, but only because I block out the time and then watch TV as I fold. Of course, it never gets put away, but it's clean and folded. :)

  13. Lucille Ball had the perfect back-atcha you can fire at the next um, loving mother who would write if only she had the time and hated her kids a bit more:

    If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.

    (I think Lucy hired a housekeeper, or she wouldn't have said this.)

  14. Jenilyn- There's something to be said for "clean and folded"! I don't know what it is, but it's something. :) Catching up on television is the only incentive to get me to do any housework.

    Robin- That's awesome. And totally true. *Off to use it as the perfect comeback!* *Waits for someone to cross this line*

  15. I LOVE it. :) What a great post--definitely made me laugh and embrace my neglectful mother/writer ways.

  16. Love this, Brodi. Who needs dressers when there are so many good places to just pile laundry? That's how we operate, too :)

  17. Veronica- Exactly! And if, heaven forbid, I actually need to sit on the couch, I move the pile of clothes. Simple. :)

  18. this is hilarious! i love the bread under the table. everything in its place.

    my last blog post was about my writing space [which is my bed, but i think people were confused, thus explaining the comments that they wished they had an office like mine to write in.]

    when markus zusak spoke at the provo library he mentioned that you need to make writing either no. 1 or no.2 on the priority list. i use this as an excuse all the time: "no dinner tonight kids, i wrote today." or, "just turn your underwear inside out, dear, i'll be writing and won't have time to do laundry." it takes all the guilt and stress away. life is breezy, fancy-free!

    okay no, not really, but there are certainly a lot of things that i've sacrificed on the writing altar that other people don't see/think about. great post!

  19. balance is over rated.

    clean houses are WAY over rated.

    i pay kyle to clean. although i have yet to pay him. 20 yrs of marriage. looks like i owe him a LOT of money.

  20. Rachel- That Zusak is one smart cookie. It's totally true. Writing has to be not only a priority, but a high priority. Maybe the only thing that sets writers apart is that we can see all the things that could be cut from our lives.

    I saw that housework could be cut from my life long before I actually did any writing. :)

    Dorien- That's an excellent idea. Sam, you're hired! I'll pay him in love.

  21. Can you please come to my house so I can laugh at the baggie of fermenting grapes I found under our couch, the dirty underwear in the hallway, and the matchbox cars that have been wedged into the brass trim around our fireplace? I laughed so hard at this post. And that is one of the better definitions of balance I've heard. Was that at POMs?

  22. Cath- Yep. That was my favorite quote from POMs. So true!