How I Write

Last week Sarah from Little White Whale asked me to share How I Write, which is a current blog hop going around. I agreed because I love to read these stories from others. I also think it is important to share so other people may seem some similarities in our stories and decided to write theirs too.

It also didn’t hurt that I love Sarah. Her writing is honest and real, and her photography is beyond words amazing. You should check out your blog if you haven’t read it before.

1. What am I working on?

Listen To Your Mother. Our show is May 4th and for the last couple of months this is pretty much all I’ve been able to think about, as my sporadic posting on my blog testifies to. Last summer I was working on a series, Summer Loving, that I would love to get back to after everything dies down. Also, I’ve made a promise to myself to finish a manuscript this year (I have several ideas) and submit my writing to more places (which I’ve done, but won’t know the outcome for awhile).

2. How does my writing differ from others of it’s genre?

As it reads in my mini-bio over there in the sidebar, my writing is honest and real, but I deliver it with sass and, hopefully, grace. I’m not sure if this sets me apart from everyone that writes in the memoir/parenting blogging space, but I’m okay with that. It is one of the things I love about this type of writing and the people who do it. We put it all out there, and that helps people. At least I hope it does.

3. Why do I write what I do?

As far as the blog, I have two reasons, one for me and one for the reader. I write for me because it is how I learn about myself. I didn’t know this was a thing until I started sharing so many personal stories, but I’ve learned more about myself in the five years since I started this blog than I ever did before I had it.

For the reader, earlier this year I decided to write a mission statement for my blog. Not with the intent of sharing it, but to help me focus on what and why I write. It is:

To share personal stories, advice, tips, and photos that have an impact on the reader.

That’s what I want to do. Have an impact. Hopefully one that is helpful.

For the other types of stories I write, I do it because I have to get the stories out of my head. For years and years I didn’t realize that these characters circling around inside my brain were trying to tell their story. Now that I do I have to get those stories out, whether I share them with others or not.

Why I Write

4. How does my writing process work?

I’m not sure I have a writing process. Most of the things I write I work on in my head, sometimes that takes five minutes, sometimes it may take five months (if I’m being stubborn). Most of my writing is done on the corner of my sofa after the kids have gone to bed. David sits in his chair right next to me, and I tap, tap, tap out whatever it is I’m writing. See? That’s why I’m not sure what I do sounds anything as official-sounding as a “process”.

One of the things I’m supposed to do as part of the blog hop is to tag two other people. I’m tagging Elaine, who writes at The Miss Elaine-ous Life and is my LTYM partner in crime, and you. That’s right. You. Consider yourself tagged. I want to know How You Write.

Spring Cleaning and Organizing Tips

One of my goals for the year is to finish an organization project that I’ve been planning for awhile now. I’ve started it, but I still have a long way to go. Right now I’m in the “let’s get rid of stuff” phase of the project. In other words, I have clothes bagged up that the kids can no longer wear and things boxed up that we no longer use. All of these bags and boxes are currently stuffed in my foyer waiting for me to have a garage sale after LTYM. Whatever you do, don’t ring my doorbell! Right now, back door guests are most definitely best.

I’ve always found that spring is the time I feel most inspired to do this type of clearing out. I don’t know if it is because everyone is talking about spring cleaning or if it is because after being closed up in the house all winter you are ready to ditch everything you own. Either way, I think it is a good idea to hold on to this feeling and let it push me to make some major strides into my organization project.

My main problem is that, while I have the drive and inspiration, I tend to be overwhelmed at the enormity of the project. I’m a big thinker and sometimes it is a challenge for me to focus on making small steps. That’s why I’m happy to be sharing these spring cleaning and organizing tips courtesy of LG’s home economist Laura Johnson, on how to spring clean most efficiently. She also has ideas to help us involve the kids in the clean-up routine.

Spring Cleaning and Organizing tips from LG home economist Laura Johnson.

Chores is such an ugly word. Just saying it makes our kids run and hide. So how we can go from chores to fun, family-oriented activities that get the house organized and keep mom out of the therapists office? Here are some spring cleaning and organizing tips that will do just that:

Organization Tips
Laura recommends the following:

  • To battle feeling overwhelmed by cleaning the entire house, start with the rooms that the family or guests are in the most. Prioritize cleaning and de-cluttering common areas including the kitchen, family room, and main bathroom, as they are the best places to start.
  • Focus on one room at a time. Cleaning one room per weekend is a great way to make a dent in cleaning and not feel too overwhelmed.
  • Make a list to help break large chores down into smaller ones that are more manageable. For instance, if the family room needs to be cleaned and picked up, break it down into smaller parts of that task that you can hand out, or do one night at a time (organizing a bookshelf, putting blankets and pillows away, vacuuming, etc).

One thing that I’ve also found has helped in the past is to use a timer. We can set it for 15 to 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, we stop working for the night and move on to something fun. Like watching Sponge Bob for the 57,945,823 time. (penny, penny, penny, penny, penny, penny)

Involving the Kids
Another way to make the chores go by faster is to involve your kids. I know right now you are thinking that will most definitely not make the chores go by faster, but maybe it will if we try some of these tips from Laura:

  • To help involve kids in cleaning, it’s all about making it a fun experience. Make a list of all the items you want to accomplish, then pick the ones that are age appropriate. Display them on a table or wall so the whole family can see. Roll a pair of dice to see who gets to pick first, and have everyone (parents included) choose their chores. This will allow the kids to choose what they think they might enjoy, instead of cleaning because the parents “said so.”
  • To further engage kids, you could also have an alternative goal within whatever chore they’re assigned or picked for themselves. For example, when organizing a bookshelf or kitchen cabinet, they need to alphabetize the books or spices, sort the books by color, etc.

I’ve also learned that specific instructions work best when it comes to my kids. “Clean the living room” results in nothing but whines, but if I say, “pick up those towels and take them to the laundry room” the work gets done a lot faster.

Keeping It Up After Spring
This summer my kids will be home with a sitter, and one of the things I’m considering is a daily chart with activities. Some will be fun (picnic at the park), some will be related to keeping up with school so they don’t fall behind (read for 15 minutes), and some will be to teach them more responsibility (unload the dishwasher, fold a basket of laundry), something I’ve failed miserably at in the past. I’m hoping this will teach all of us how to better share the responsibilities of keeping up the house, and that it will stay more organized going forward.

What are your ways that you involve your kids in helping around the house, or how about some spring cleaning and organizing tips? I could definitely use those.

Original image taken by Backdoor Survival adapted via a Flickr Creative Commons license.

I’m a member of the LG VIP Bloggers group. Throughout the year I will be sharing tips and information that I find helpful. I was not asked or paid to write this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own, like always.