Staying Inside the Lines

I don’t like adult coloring books. Coloring inside the lines of detailed drawings frustrates me because I lack the patience and precise tools to accomplish it well. But I stopped at the library today and passed a table inviting patrons to take a moment. So I did, with this result.

Imprecise, a little confused, very colorful: this bookmark summarizes how life has been going lately.

A major house project is nearly complete, and along the way a bunch of other stuff broke. But at least there’s a final-ish product that we can now use and enjoy. And the other items have now been replaced.

Traveling doesn’t make anything go smoother. Delayed flights, extra laundry, more stuff to put away, loss of home time, and missing the planned schedule…I feel like I’ve been on the road a fair bit of the summer.

One munchkin is about to start school…which makes both of us anxious. We did stop and get school supplies together, which was a fond childhood memory of mine I wanted to extend to her. Trying to readjust everyone’s schedule is much harder.

The other munchkin is about to have a birthday party. Some people love planning parties. Some people like crafting. I like the latter but not so much the former. Trying to balance the time I have with the work to be done is a fine line. I want to make him happy and I enjoy seeing my friends, but I struggle with doing enough and being happy with the result.

Then there’s another planned trip for which some prep work needs to be done. I’ve made a plan but haven’t executed–and won’t–until after the birthday is behind us.

Meanwhile I just started Month 2 of a three-month workout program. It’s kicking my behind: while I feel stronger, the scale refuses to budge. I am focusing on the “beginner” plan and doing it as well as I can. While it’s a hit on the ego to treat myself like a beginner, I do occasionally have to swap or add rest days to the program to keep myself going. I also don’t prioritize the time to do more exercise right now.

Work, of course, continues its daily slog.

The balance is always my writing. My remote coworker said today that we needed to regularly schedule our time together to get our work done because we always de-prioritize it in favor of everything else. There is wisdom to his words. It seems like making time to work on my writing always gets the least of my attention.

By the time the kids are abed and I get back downstairs to a desk, the question is not “how much do I care about this story?” but rather “can I do this story justice right now?”

I finished my final revision of “Sea Dreams” on a printout. This re-read and review uncovered a number of small problems with the manuscript. Right now I’m typing in the edits for the last seven scenes. After that, the story is off to beta-readers and the only changes to the story will be from their identified errors.

I’ve also got the sequel printed out to treat the same way (cutting one editing step from my original process). But I’d like to finish writing the third book before starting the sequel’s edit.

Recreation-wise, I’ve been wrapping up “Quantico” and watching the Netflix series “Anne with an E,” and I’m still only halfway through the past season for “Arrow” and “Big Bang Theory.” I’ve also been reading a few books, including a graphic novel and the memoir “I am Malala,” which I highly recommend.

So for now, it’s on to the next item on the to-do list while I try to keep a grasp of that evasive tranquility.

Do you feel like this season of life has been busy, or have you been coloring inside the lines?

Saturday Snippet: Sea Dreams

Wow, it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted one of these, but you know what it means…

“Sea Dreams” is almost here!

So here’s your sneak peek. I’d love to know what you think.

On Saturdays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts.  All snippets are copyrighted.  These excerpts from my writing are first draft, unedited words, and may not appear in the final work.

“You feeling okay, Mare?” David asked. “You’ve been moving through the day like a zombie.”

Maryn couldn’t resist the opening. “Brains!” she moaned, tilting her head to the side and lurching in her seat.

Brandon burst out laughing and David snorted on his juice, which only made his brother laugh even harder. Maryn grinned before turning back to her calculus problems, but a little envy nagged her. David never looked tired—with his perfectly disheveled blond hair and easy smile, her cousin fit right in with the popular crowd he called friends. And while she wanted to paint him with the same brush as the rest of that crowd, he surprised her sometimes, like now.

The fact that he even noticed that she wasn’t quite herself in between all the texting on his phone was a small miracle. But coming from the guy who could usually be depended on to provide a play-by-play of the last party or school game—often from the same night—Maryn supposed it wasn’t really that strange. David was good company in that sense, needing little more than a nod or a mumble to keep up steady chatter.

Her goofiness certainly distracted them from David’s question. If she told David about her strange dreams he might start checking in on her more often, especially at school. And she didn’t want to risk him saying something in front of his friends, particularly not his gorgeous, popular girlfriend Jen, who already looked at Maryn a bit like she was a squashed bug on the bottom of her brand-name shoes. She really didn’t need Jen to think Maryn was more of a loser than she already did. Maryn tuned out David’s mundane commentary the rest of the afternoon as best she could: the new basketball coach changed the varsity team’s entire training program over Christmas break.