Slow Living Part 3: Slow Working

sneak peek into next book

Speaking of Slow Living, I think this might apply to work too.  I think I am the slowest worker ever. My mind goes a million miles and hour but I can never seem to make those ideas happen as fast as I want them to. My actual productivity during the day-to-day is always about half of what I expect it should be. Everything I do takes forever!

For example, I’ve been working on my latest book, “Happy Birthday Little Hoo” for about two years now and poor Little Hoo is getting older than my illustration of him. If I don’t hurry up and finish this book he’s going to twenty before I’m done. Just kidding. But it feels that way sometimes.

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This slowness could be attributed to a few things. I often put my books on the back burner in favor of quicker jobs that pay the bills right away. I have open-ended deadlines on my books and I don’t get paid when I finish them. I make quarterly royalties that add up over time instead. In the long run the books actually make me more money than my small jobs but I always forget about that because I’m living paycheck to paycheck and I’m more concerned about the short term. It’s silly Brenda-style accounting that makes no sense. But basically it works out that the squeaky wheel jobs get worked on and since my books don’t squeak at me they get worked on the tenth of never.

Another reason I work slow is because I have to go with the natural rhythm of my creativity. Creativity is something that can be frustratingly fickle. Many times I find myself doing methodical, boring work instead being creative because my brain just isn’t in gear. Sometimes I think I get stuck in that plodding-along boring mode because I’m focusing my energy on household chores and making sure my loved ones are taken care of, which is important too. It’s all a big juggle. And I’m lucky that I even have the choice to do either.

Back in the beginning of the year I went to a doctor for a real physical, something I don’t think I had done since I was like eleven. I got all my blood work done and all my levels came back amazingly healthy. (Thank you regular yoga routine!) This was great news because I was worried I was pre-diabetic and probably had bad cholesterol and who knows what else could be wrong. I’m at that age where people start comparing ailments when they get together at parties so I was expecting something bad coming. Turns out I’m healthy and I don’t need to take any medication for anything EXCEPT that I am alarmingly low in vitamin B12. I don’t know why. I guess it’s common in women my age and my doctor made a note for me to get my thyroid checked this year, which I totally intend to do.

I sat on that bit of information for six months. I don’t know why. Laziness probably. Just this month I finally bought a bottle of vitamin B12 at our local drugstore and started taking them. And guess what?!!! I’ve illustrated four pages in two days. More than I’ve done all year! Pathetic I know. But maybe I was just stuck in a brain fog and I didn’t even know it. The doctor said that was the usual symptom of low B12.

So the message of this post is sometimes work is slow. Sometimes that’s for good reasons and SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO TAKE VITAMINS! Who knew!

We’ll see if it sticks.

 

Slow Living Part Two

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It feels like fall here lately but I know it’s a trick. Summer here usually lasts until Halloween so I’m not digging out my sweaters anytime soon. I’d rather shiver all fake-fall long, in layers and hoodies than put on an actual warm wooly pull-over sweater because the sun is watching me and as soon as I do, it will poke it’s angry head out of the clouds and make everything A HUNDRED DEGREES! I can’t complain though because of the whole no snow, no mud, no ice thing. We do have it pretty good here.dogs-being-dogs2

The girls and I have started a tradition of going to the beach on Saturday mornings. Remember my old beach that I used to take walks on everyday and share pictures here? Same one.  I miss that old beach so this new dog-morning tradition is fixing that up.

The beach allows dogs on leashes on the beach between 7am and 10am which is perfect because I don’t think I could handle the dogs on the beach any longer than that. They are so dirty and ill-behaved. It’s pretty much sand and digging and dirty, smelly dogs for hours. Then we haul the sandy wet dogs back into town for bagels and coffee, walking of course. It’s great. The dogs then try to eat our bagels and get wet sand all over everyone and the other patrons at the bagel shop get annoyed with us but we persevere. I have a theory that the more we do this the easier it will get.

dogs-being-dogs

The lovely thing about beach-dog mornings is that we have amnesia about them. While we are there the girls complain about everything under the sun. They are wet, they are not wet enough, they should have worn their swimsuits or leggings or ugg boots or whatever, they don’t want to carry their leggings or ugg boots or flip flops or whatever… they are cold or hot or they want to stay longer, they stubbed their toe on a rock, they are starving and need to eat right this very minute or use the bathroom…etc etc.

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I’m not much better myself. I’m getting pissed at the dogs for fighting with each other or eating seaweed or drinking drainage run-off water that is probably contaminated with some kind of algae that will make them puke in the truck later…but then magically, as we climb over the hill back to our inland city, those bad memories dissipate into thin air just like the humidity. All we remember is how pretty the beach was, how the ocean was so peaceful and grand at the same time, how beautiful the sky was in it’s myriad of subtle colors stretching on forever…and how yummy the bagels were as if the salt in the air perfected their flavor somehow. It’s funny how the misery of the beach becomes what you savor later.

Just like I always say, you love what you suffer for! Psychology 101.

So my message for today is: get out there and suffer a little!