Friday, September 4, 2009

Summer Time And The Living is—Easy?

~Sia McKye~

Unless you’re a writer and live at my house.

Easy is not exactly how I would describe it. I’m overrun with people, noise, the constant barking of dogs, and clutter. My yard looks like a used truck lot. Hey, I got all colors, makes, and models. Of course, I also have hot sixpacks walking around—not hard at all on the eyes.

We had a tornado come through in April and did thousands of dollars of damage to my property, so now we’re doing repairs. New house roof, siding, fencing, tree removal, new barn, haying and bush hogging. So we have all sorts of equipment going at any given time. Logging trucks moving in and out the pasture. Bucket trucks, tractors, and three huge trailers to haul the tear off from the roof.

Living at my house is anything but quiet or easy. August has always been my best writing month. I look back with fondness to last August when I wrote 3000 words in a day and still got my household chores done. Pfft. Not this August. Even earphones and music don’t help. There’s no place to hide to escape the pounding hammers, buzzing saws, or blaring of rock music—even with the windows closed it thumped it’s way into my house.

Add to the chaos outside, I’ve had my sister and her guy living at my house too. So my three-bedroom house is full, meals become a major undertaking. Do you realize how many dishes six people use in the course of a day? What dishwasher? My sis and I shared the dishwashing tasks as well as meal preparation. Not to mention what your refrigerator looks like with a cazillion bottles of Gatorade stocked in it. Trust me, it's suddenly not as big as you thought it was. You know? I once thought I had too many towels. I don’t think that any more and I swear I heard my washer groan.

There was always a question I needed to answer, or something I had to see, a decision I had to make on some aspect of the work being done. This was a big project and at any given time there were at least three crews working, one on the house, one cleaning the debris bush hogging, and cutting down trees, one on the two barns needing repairs and new roofs. I walked miles—just to walk to the barn and back is a half a mile and I did that several times a day, climbed ladders to look at the damaged decking, or something around the chimney, to see the how the felt was laying or look at how the shingles went down, a problem with the drip lip…endless. Then there is the paper work. While I have a good insurance policy, I still had to fight tooth and nail at times, to get funds released. So I was either on the phone with the bank, the lumberyard, or the insurance company. I have about 200 pictures of documentation and most of those pictures were taken by moi.

You’d think once everyone went home and the house became quiet after dinner writing would be easy. Sorry, the brain was mush and I was tired and ready for bed by 8 or 9 pm. I don’t know how many times I was falling asleep over my keyboard as I prepared my blog. And it suffered as well. Normally I’m booked about four to six weeks in advance. I’m looking at September and realizing I still have open slots. Most people have TBR stacks and I do too, but now I also have a pile of ARCs sent to me by various publishers to be read and reviews written. Normally, everything is organized and each day I have X amount of time to work and X amount of time for my own writing. I still did what I had to do, but any extras—forgetaboutit.

My poor muse said later gator, and headed off to parts unknown for a vacation and is apparently having a grand time. All I can say is, thank god I didn’t have a deadline.

This week has been a bit quieter but next week, I have another crew coming in to finish up my outer office walls and then I get to go on a working vacation to a writer’s conference in Columbus, OH. I also have an interview, and a speaking engagement with a writing group. I figure by the time I get back, my muse will be too and we can pound out the rest of this book and work on a proposal. I hope.

So, how was your summer? Get much writing done? If you’re on a deadline, how do you handle distractions? Especially like these?


Nancy J. Parra said...

Oh Sia, hugs! But I must admit your photo caught my eye and my imagination. :)

Sometimes you have to know when enough is enough. And I'm here to say you've certainly had enough! So, don't let your writing muse send any guilt your way. In fact take a few days vacation yourself-not a working one-before you start back up. You deserve it.


K. A. Laity said...

Sorry to hear your summer has not been as productive as you hoped. I know the feeling. I'm paying the price for my happy wandering this summer by being over-booked and stressed this first week of teaching and it's not going to let up before the end of September.

Figures my parents have decided to visit the northeast this month. Argh!

My self and my other self (I'm starting to hear Robyn Hitchcock's "My Wife and My Dead Wife" when I refer to my pseud) seem to have lots of musing because they know I don't have time to WRITE now and they are perverse.

And it's way more fun to be writing stories than to be revising the Women's Studies certificate and writing the proposal for our name change -- or assembling my tenure package. Aieeeeeeeeeee!

Anonymous said...

Sia, I don't see how you could have done any better than you did. The blog didn't suffer, and that's something right there.

How do I handle deadlines with the people in my house? It's not nice or pretty. "What part of this needs to be done, don't you understand?"

And then there is the delegating. You do the dishes. You take care of the animals. You, stop making messes. My family doesn't like deadlines. smile

With six people in the house, there are never enough towels, dishes or room in the refrigerator. The end is close.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My quiet and productive summer was shot by several tragedies and family losses. So I didn't get as much accomplished as I'd hoped.

But I'll take that guy in the top photo there! LOL

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Olivia Cunning said...

Plenty of inspiration for later, I'd say. Absorb now. Vent in a ms later. Preferably a ms that has a hot sixpack in a hard hat for a hero.

Lessee, I wrote one ms and half of its sequel. Summer is my most productive time. The rest of the year, the day job gets in the way, so I write when I can and rather compulsively.

Deadline? What's that? I guess you need a publisher to have a deadline. Huh?

Are you going to join us for NanoWrimo this year, Sia? All the construction should be done by then, right? And then you can vent those 50,000 words you've been storing over the summer.

And look, Sia. I'm using my proposed pen name! About time, huh?

~Sia McKye~ said...

I noticed that, Olivia, lolol! I'm thinking you'll be having some deadlines very soon now and perverse creature that I am, I'll enjoy watching you squirm and moan, lol!

aries18 said...

I think you've done a helluva job keeping up as well as you did, what with all the stuff going on, your knee healing and um, normal life. Your blog didn't suffer, we all loved each guest and accompanying interview. You did good girl.

Things will calm down, I just know it. After you get back from your wanderings your muse will show up, meekly handing out inspiration and help and you'll just wail away at the keyboard!

I got lots of stuff done this summer, but precious little writing. I'm saving it for Nano I think.

Thanks for keeping your blog up and keeping yourself well. What else can a girl do?

Have a sunny day.

Judi Fennell said...

Summer is a necessary evil in my mind. Writing has definitely suffered. Can't wait for next week when they're all in school.

Sia, YOU noticed the things that didn't work with the blog, but the rest of us didn't. You rock, woman!

Magdalena Scott said...

My goodness, I'd say that with all that construction going on, and all that eye-clutter, it's a wonder you got *anything* done. Have a great working vacation--it sounds like fun!

Jill Lynn said...

All this, and you never lost your cheerful attitude either. To me, that says more about the woman you are than anything, and your muse is going to have to work hard to catch up with you!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Ah Jill, what a sweetheart, thank you, what a nice thing to say. :-) I can't wait to see the finished product with your story in it. Congrats my friend.

Lolol, Mags, I will admit to some *daydreaming* While most of the guys so, there were a few really hot ones. Who could help but notice such fine scenery? Take a better woman than me.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Judi, what would I do without your unfailing rah-rahs and encouragement? Thank you.

You've pegged me well. I'm harder on myself than anyone else can be. But then, I think you understand that all too well.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hawk, stand in line sweetie. I saw him first and I gave out the gatorade so first dibs, lmao!

I know it's been a rough summer for you too. Hugs and hang in there.

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds like your summer's been really tough - but you keep handing out the coffee. Thank you!

I have a feeling I may have written quite a lot the last couple of months. But one day I'll have to read what I wrote and find out how bad it all is. Writing forwards (in textnovel) has been a really new experience, but I'll wait till I'm finished to decide if I've learned anything from the experiment (except that maybe I'd rather write backwards and sideways).

Anonymous said...

Well... My summer was busy in other ways, Syl... What with Mom and Hubby both in hospitals in the same week, daughter and Mom having no other transportation besides "Jeanz Jeep" and the HUGE veggie garden that no one else around here except Hubby and I seem to want to tend (although, most of them seem to EAT out of it okay... go figure) -- and that's not to mention various and sundry historical society projects/business/etc. -- it's been pretty crazy here in the ole wild hinterlands, as well.

Hey... No sweat. A wise elder once told me: "That's what makes this crap interesting."

Having fires to put out lets you know that you are still ALIVE and kicking... And, while I can sympathize with all the hubbub at your place -- just think: Some people don't have a place they can lay their heads at all. We're pretty lucky.

Jean C. Fisher

~Sia McKye~ said...

Nancy, I do have a few others I took and I will post them later. A couple came out slightly blurred, darn it, and lord that one is, pretty to look at. lolol!

As for vacation, two day of the five is working the rest is spending time with a fun GF so I'll be refreshed when I return.

Kat Sheridan said...

Doing happy dancing that I'm taking Sia's "working vacation" with her! I'll make sure she gets into lots of fun things, finds inspiration, and goes home ready to write! And maybe I'll be ready to write, too!

VA said...

Nice view Sia.

If life doesn't throw me a few loops I make them myself.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lol! Honestly, I like life relatively loopless. But I am adaptable. Good thing too.

Yes, Kat, I'm happy dancing too. I'm SO looking forward to my vacation. Hopefully, I'll snag my vacationing muse on the way back and make her work. :-)

Anonymous said...

First, when you're done with the guy at the top, send him to me.

Second, I was wondering how all that was going. That explains where you've been!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Hey Sweetie,

My summer has been like yours but in a different way...I've had everyone I know in the hospital. From young to old, even me twin.

Like you, my brain just can't think by the end of the day to write and I've got to have this new book done by July 2010 for the RWA Nationals!

Last night I made a choice to stay positive and believe I can do it all. And I will find a way...but if you find that path before me - will you give me a heads up! LOL

Come by and visit sweetie - I've got a special award for you!

BTW - that hunk you've got pictured, if all your help looks like that...I'm not feeling sorry for you...can I come visit and I promise to keep an eye on your workers for you! ;-D


Karen Walker said...

Hello Sia,
I'm a newbie to your blog and lol, what a first one to find. Yumm. It's so frustrating when our plans get out of whack due to things completely out of our control. Sounds like things are started to get back to normal. Tornadoes. Eeek. I'd just be so grateful everyone survived and the house is fixable. Wishing you some restorative peace time on your vacation.

Sun Singer said...

Reading this drove me nuts--more than I was already.

Let's hope things settle down and soon. You need a cabin in the woods or a suite at the Ritz, any place to get away.


Conda V. Douglas said...

Man, Sia, what's up with this year? Everyone I know, myself included, has been swamped, overwhelmed all year. Good news is, that like you, things this month seem to be settling down at last. A little. Let's hope it continues!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yep, lost in Chaos. Still not totally done either. I'm thinking October should be a more productive month for me.

Lord, Claire, can't you see the line for the guy up top? Sheesh. lolol!

Good to see you stop by!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh Malcolm, you do know the way to a girl's heart. Lord, I'd love a cabin in the woods! Which is funny, since I live practically in the middle of nowhere as it is. 7 Miles from town, beyond the back 40, surrounded by pastures and woods.

Oh yah, and that clear map for everyone of late to find my house. Sigh...Darn google anyway....

~Sia McKye~ said...

Karen, I'm so glad you stopped by. The picture was a bit of a lure, lol! Resistence is futile.

Do stop by again.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hawk, I will as soon as I catch my breath. May the rest of the autumn be condusive to writing for us both.

Conda, I hear you!

Bob Sanchez said...

Holy chaos, Sia! It's a wonder you get anything done.

Bob Sanchez