It is so good to have a few moments to write.
Even better: hours.
I have hours. I’m away from the house. Cannot hear the dirty dishes in the sink nor the clothes to be folded calling my name. I have nothing but my laptop and am choosing to ignore my phone and social media.
If you are also a writer, you know what I mean.
And by writer, I don’t mean famous, or published, or even, “manuscript completed and rejected fiftyish times.”
Do keys tapping in a satisfying click-tick rhythm make your anxiety melt?
Words fascinate and enthrall you?
Sentences with perfect balance give you deep satisfaction?
Alliteration, onomatopoeia and entire-paragraphs-sans-adverbs bring you joy?
That’s what I mean.
Photo by Peter Nijenhuis
**We’re up to $35; see below!
We’ve all seen (and occasionally participated in) a Meet & Greet post. You know, “drop your link in the comments and maybe someone will click.”
Instead of posting a hit-or-miss link, let’s change it up. Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Describe your blog in nine words or less.
2. Paste a link to a post you’re proud of writing. Bonus points for adoption, mental health or parenting themes*, but it can be anything.
*With your link, please note the post theme, e.g., “Adoption,” “Mental Health,” “Parenting,” “My Happy Place,” “Honey Badgers are Misunderstood,” etc.
3. Reblog this to increase the number of participants. For every comment below, I’ll donate a dollar* to Compassion International, a fabulous organization committed to child development and rescuing kids from poverty.
*If the comment number rises beyond my ability to personally donate, I commit to raising the money.
4. Click at least two links and read the posts.
Have fun! And ignore the lemur. Feel free to hug.
I’ve missed you.
In September, I accepted a part-time job. In October, I agreed to work full time when my supervisor said those two little words I can never resist: process improvement. Almost nothing makes me happier than finding better ways to do…well, pretty much anything.
The downside is a sharp decline in free time and I’ve really missed writing.
Tonight I listened to a goal-setting webinar led by Michael Hyatt. I chuckled a little bit when he talked about his own goals. Maybe one of his goals for the year is to sell a lot of the “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever” program he offers at the end of the webinar.
Sales pitch aside, I learned (re-learned) a few things:
- Goals must be written.
- I believe the statistic on the webinar was around 40% more likely. I found a couple articles with statistics up to 80%. The point isn’t really HOW much more likely we are to hit our goals, but that we ARE more likely to do so. Check out some of the articles on the Forbes site.
- Goals must be measurable.
- “I need to lose weight,” is not specific enough. “I want to permanently lose that stupid ten pounds I keep regaining,” is better.
- Instead of “I want to be recognized at work,” a more measurable goal is, “I will meet or exceed my assigned metrics every week,” or “I will read three industry-related articles each week and discuss ways our team can utilize what I’ve learned to improve our processes.”
- Goals must have a deadline or time frame.
- Deadlines provide urgency. I’ve been “working” on updating spreadsheets for the past few weeks but never seemed to finish. Other When the top brass informed us (yesterday at 6 am) that the analysts would pull a report for a presentation at 3 pm today, guess what I finished by 2:30.
- Deadlines provide the ability to draft a timeline—and again, writing the goals improves our chances of finishing.
- Goals must be realistic.
- “I will run a marathon next week.” Written, measurable, deadline. And crazy, unless you’re an avid runner. For most of us, “I will walk to the mailbox instead of driving to get the mail,” or, “I will stop circling the grocery parking lot to find a spot three spaces closer. Instead, I will park at the far end of the parking lot,” are realistic goals.
Most of that is old news. Michael said a few things I’d never really considered.
Goals should be visible.
Post goals somewhere we’ll see them daily. Make a list or, like the picture here, find a creative reminder.
Goal lists should include no more than seven to ten items.
Bonus if we can pare it down to four or five. A goal list shouldn’t be twenty-five things because our brains can’t track that many items, even in writing.
Goals should be passion-driven.
If a goal isn’t exciting, why is it on the list? I never before realized that goal-setting is different from “the list of things I need to accomplish around the house this year.” No one is passionate about painting the front porch steps (on the other hand, I take great delight in plastering sheet rock…but still, not a life goal).
Our goals should make us uncomfortable. Even afraid.
If we’re comfortable, we won’t grow. We won’t take risks.
I plan (IN WRITING) to spend time this week (TIME FRAME) thinking about goals for the upcoming year. I know, it’s a little earlier than the traditional “it’s a New Year; I must revamp my life,” but I invite you to join me.
Let’s choose four or five goals (MEASURABLE) fired by our greatest passions.
Goals that freak us out a little.
Let’s talk about what we’ve accomplished this year and where we want to be next month.
Goal One: Even when working like mad at the job I love and working like crazy for the Hubby and kiddos I love, I will I WILL
I will (this is in writing) make time to post at least once a week (measurable and realistic) for the rest of the year (deadline).
Your turn! What’s your goal one? Comment below.
I updated the “About” page. Is this better, or worse?
(And yes, I found the Text Color button…to save your eyes, I tried not to get crazy.)
Trying to make the site more readable; I appreciate your feedback.*
*Like, seriously. If you hate the page, please tell me how to make it better. 🙂
Nutshell if you’re in a rush:
Hi, I’m Casey.
Hubby and I adopted two very traumatized kids through foster care. Our social worker called me hypervigilant (because I wanted her to do her job*) and now I write at Hypervigilant.org.
Resources for families of adopted children proved difficult to find; once we were right-side-up again, Hubby urged me to share our experiences. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Find HOPE here. And also lots of cyber-hugs.
*No offense if you’re a good SW. I know good ones are out there and we appreciate all you do.
Details of our story if you have a minute:
Hubby and I adopted two wild hyenas and lived to tell about it (and so have they), and now I’m sharing the saga with you. I share personal experience and thoughts from adult adoptees (some of the best resources EVER for figuring out how to help kids).
I started writing for anyone involved in adoption, but adoptive or not, consider yourself invited.
Stay a while; speak your mind. I love hearing your perspective. Some of the best parenting advice comes from people without kids, because their brains aren’t fried on square pants and the Lego movie theme song.
If you have no personal connection with adoption, but you read this blog and think “Geez, why doesn’t she just try _____,” please share suggestions. It takes a village to raise an idiot—I mean, child.
Similarly, it takes a blogging community to keep the child’s parents from singing EVERYTHING IS AWESOMMMMMMMMMMMME to the bank teller.
Everyone needs hope and the occasional laugh. I try to provide both by sharing the truth about adoption with an honest picture of our wins and mishaps. I also write a little fiction on the side. These are my favorites.
Alternately, you can read Adoption = for the same reason Hubby watches Cops: “Well, at least we’re not THAT crazy.”
Find hope here, whether you are in a beautiful moment of triumph, in the middle of ongoing battles, in the throes of a nervous breakdown or wishing you could just give those kids back to someone. Anyone.
(No, this does not make you a bad person. You WILL get through it. Please do not give your child to the grocery clerk with the kind eyes.)
I don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to give you what I’ve got. If Hubby and I can endure HellonEarth and keep two kids alive (which is sometimes a bit harder than it sounds), so can you.
If you are in the circle of an adopted child or adoptive parent, sometimes you will feel like walking away. Please don’t. They need all the help they can get. You’ll see what I mean. There’s a LOT they aren’t telling, because they don’t want you to run away screaming.
Adoption can feel very isolating. Almost like Witness Protection.
If you’ve read this far, thanks for hanging in with me. Tenacity is an excellent quality for dealing with adopted children. Also, you’ll need patience, empathy, and the ability to open a big ol’ can of whoop-a—oh, sorry…I mean…the ability to guide darling children through extremely difficult emotional ups and downs.
Actually, the can of whoop will likely be necessary for the social worker or other adult standing in the way of what your child needs. Keep it on hand.
Our kids will choose our nursing homes. I, for one, do not plan to end my days living in a storage unit with a bare bulb for heat. Especially now that we have to use those energy-efficient ones.
Casey Alexander writes and lives with her amazing, talented Hubby and two wonderful (and sometimes very weird) adopted children, along with three dogs and six outdoor cats. And also a hawk, who hangs around hoping to steal a cat (as the kids have grown too large).
I’ve been a little absent partly because our summer is crazy and partly because I’m writing a Princess story…the main character being a girl adopted from Foster Care. Posting the first chapter since some of you indicated “more fiction!” in a way-back-when poll. Like it? Let me know. Hate it? Well…be nice, but feedback is feedback. 🙂
Everybody wants to be a princess.
Well, everyone who isn’t already a princess wants to be one.
It’s no picnic, let me tell you. Except for when guards shoo the villagers away and you see thirty beautiful people carrying baskets and blankets into the meadow circle…then, right, it’s a picnic.
Everybody thinks they want to be a princess, and I’ll admit there are many excellent reasons to enjoy princessdom. Princessing? Princesshood? Perks include having people sit and listen to you even when you get off track. Like now. My apologies.
But there are two sides to every coin, and consequences to every wish fulfilled.
Everyone wants to be a princess, and it seems logical, until you understand the Princess Problem.
And here it is: Someone always wants to kill you.
I should have listened to my grandfather.
I am so tired of that woman. She will not leave me alone.
I just want to have peace and quiet, but no. It’s bad enough that Mom puts her nose in my school business, calling my teachers, showing up for lunch without warning, bribing my friends with cookies so they’ll like her. But that’s not enough meddling in my life. Nope. She also makes me do work. Like I’m her slave or something. If I forget, she follows me around and nags..
“Chores are your duty as a citizen of this great land we call our household,” she tells me.
Chores. Ha. More like doing her job for her. Parents are supposed to take care of the house. Moms do the inside, dads take care of the lawn and the cars and all that. Or they hire someone. None of my friends have “chores.” So much for my childhood.
“You’re lucky, Colleen,” mom says. “Not every kid learns life skills. When you graduate, you’ll be able to survive on your own. I know you don’t appreciate it all, but chores are good for your character. Be thankful. Your life, even when you think it’s horrible, is someone else’s fairytale.”
“Fairytale, ha. Emily and Madison don’t have to learn life skills,” I complain.
She laughs. Laughs. Like it’s no big deal.
“Well, when they pull their first all-pink load of laundry out of the dryer in college, they’ll wish they did. In the meantime, you still need to clean the downstairs bathroom. People are coming over in three days, and you’ve left it a mess. And then sort your laundry so we can start a load for you. I’m asking you to clean up after yourself. It’s not like you’re Cinderella.”
Pink clothes? What does that even mean? And no, I’m not Cinderella. If only. I’d ride off with that prince and live in style.
My thirteenth birthday party is Saturday. I will be a TEENager. Almost eighteen. In just five more summers, I can be outta here. A few weeks ago, I said this out loud. Stupid me. She laughed then, too.
“Wait,” she said, doubled over and gasping for air, “you’re killing me. Do you remember how long it’s been since you were eight years old?”
I sniffed. “That’s forever ago.”
“Exactly,” she said. By this time she was cackling, that annoying snorty laugh she does when she thinks something is really, really funny. “You are not almost eighteen. Trust me, five years is a long time. By the time you hit eighteen, thirteen will feel like ‘forever ago,’ too.”
I’m counting the days, believe me. One thousand, eight hundred twenty-nine, to be exact. In case you’re checking my math, don’t forget leap year.
I head downstairs to my bathroom. It’s actually the guest bathroom, but last year I sort of claimed it. Mom said it was fine as long as I clean it. And I do. Most of the time.
My twin brother Kevin and I used to share a bathroom. He’s completely gross. Leaving him in his filth was one of the best hygiene decisions I’ve ever made, right up there with deciding to wear deodorant. So he has to clean the upstairs bathroom himself. Now, if we could just get him to shower. With soap. Mom said he’ll start when he finally discovers girls. Like that will happen. He’s got his head so far inside his science books, he’s lucky he remembers to eat.
I wipe the toothpaste dots off the mirror. Mom always checks. She says “no one wants to see that.” I rub the chrome until it sparkles, then flick the rag across the counter. If the chrome is shiny, no one notices the rest. After I pour blue stuff in the toilet bowl, I figure the bathroom is good enough. It’s not like party guests are going to use the tub.
Should I post more, or are you bored? 😉
Feel free to provide editing notes. I can take it.
Why I Write
I write because I love it.
I write to keep me sane.
I write when I feel happy
or sad or just mundane.
I write because Hubby says,
“if you neglect to do
writing every single day
your attitude is poo!”
I write ’cause I adore it.
I write because it’s free.
Writing’s a true essential;
costs less than therapy.
I write because I want to.
I write because it’s play.
Sometimes I just write to learn
what my thoughts have to say.
Ask me if I’ll ever stop—
the answer is, I won’t.
And I write because my head
will explode if I don’t.
I write because I love it.
Why do you write?
Photo credit: Casey Alexander
*revision from earlier post
Finding time to write is not a problem for me.
I meant to post that on April 1…but didn’t have time.
Another blogger and I have been kicking around the idea of forcing ourselves to novel with a deadline.
I suggested we call next month Manic May (in which we write like mad) and proofread each other’s work in Judgmental June (because I couldn’t think of a better word starting with “J”).
Upon hearing my idea, Hubby said, “and then, Judgemental July because neither of you will finish writing in May, so you’ll have to push back proofreading.
Then will come Angsty August because you don’t like each other’s novels but don’t want to say so.
During Sad September, you’ll find your friendship ending over red pen.
You’ll try to salvage the project, if not your camaraderie, during Objective October.
Finally, in Nasty November: a fight to the death over grammar, stabbing each other with the Oxford comma.”
Geez. Maybe HE should write the novel.
I wake, cheek pressed against a cool, smooth surface beneath me. Breathe in, steady and deep. Out. In.
A slight breeze whispers through my hair, just this side of cool. The air brushes my back.
Light filters bright through the haze above and reflects from facets around me. I move my head just a little bit and the sparkling environment spins. I still, before the nausea causes complete surrender.
I don’t know how I got here. Or, for that matter, the definition of “here.”
I hold myself motionless, allowing my mind to focus.
No memory swims to consciousness.
I stare down, tipping my face away from the dazzling light. Attempting to calm the headache. Grasping for any clue about my arrival. Nothing.
I pull my fingers across the glassy floor, smooth and slow. No nicks or scratches. No bumps, no sand, no crumbs. Perfection. I roll over, my back against the hard ground, to see the shining, sharp edge of a cliff inches from my face. A terrified breath jerks in as I imagine slipping over.
Fear pours down my spine like ice water and I slide in the opposite direction. I want to be far away from that vertical drop.
Managing to distance myself from the edge by a few feet, I rest. This will do for now; movement is a struggle. Once I’ve regained strength, assuming I started with some, I’ll remove myself completely from the danger.
Not that the cliff poses a threat as long as I don’t throw myself over—and that’s not happening. I might not remember anything else, but a healthy fear of heights overpowers my memory gaps.
I listen, eyes closed. What is that noise?
There. To the left. Voices approach. Grow louder. I see them, a knot of slender forms. Everyone moves together. A smaller cluster materializes from the right. Each is wearing the same dark tunic. I squint. My eyes refuse to focus.
“Here! Another one! She’s over here, quick!”
Many hands pull and lift and carry. I realize suddenly that I do not have a matching tunic, but am too exhausted to care. Everything spins.
I embrace the dark.
This is my imagined reality: you, sitting at your screen, waiting with impatience for my next post and thinking, “Whyyyyyyyyyyy did Casey stop writing? What could possibly be keeping her from us?”
Real reality: you, sitting at your screen, thinking, “Who’s this Casey person again? When in tarnation did I follow this blog? I definitely need to adjust those auto-follow settings…”
It’s cool. I’m fine with it. Except when the person asking how to unfollow the blog is Hubby. Out loud. From the armchair five feet away. Then…it feels just a little personal. But it’s been a long month; I’m a little over-sensitive. (Just kidding. Pretty sure he’s at least fifty-three of my followers.)
I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. NOTHING is finished. I tried using the blog as my carrot. “I can write when I finish…”
Photo Credit: Clay Junell
And yes, if I’m reaching for the carrot, I know what that makes me.
Exhausted and desperate for motivation. That’s what it makes me.
Why—what were you thinking? HEY!
Anyway, life has been nuts. WordCamp US 2015 was fabulous. I still have pending (read: I need to sit down and write them) posts about what I learned. If you’re able to attend next year, I highly recommend the experience.
I’m still working through the pictures from WordCamp because as soon as I came home, Hubby and I began demolishing our kitchen (also a planned post…more later).
I keep telling myself that I can write a post once I get through a certain number of pictures. I can edit pictures when enough work is complete in the kitchen. And the day-to-day tasks don’t go away. Laundry, school, shopping, packing for family gatherings.
The above paragraph sounds like a list of complaints. Not the case, I assure you. I’m ridiculously happy when busy.
However, I realized today that I’m getting a bit twitchy. My carrot is just a little too far out of reach. I need to write almost as much as I need to sleep. (In fact, I’d much rather write.)
The kids have been good today—exceptional, even—and I still found myself wanting to withdraw from everyone to a dark, quiet space this evening, to write. Craving a keyboard.
Instead, I forced myself to participate in “building night.” Hubby and the boy assembled a K’nex roller coaster on the table while the girl and I sprawled on the floor nearby and snapped together an elfin Lego kit.
Three minutes in, I felt better. Spending time with the kids one-on-one (and together) has been on my subconscious “list of things that are making me antsy because they aren’t getting done.”
It’s so easy to put off the things we want to do because of everything demanding our time, and in many cases what we have to do must come first. Sometimes, though, doing something you want to do can give you the boost necessary to get through harder work.
Time with the kids, now blogging with you.
I feel the “we will never finish any of this and our house will always be a wreck and the laundry pile will never deplete and the list will only grow and…” panic dissipating already.
I am so ready for tomorrow.