Help Me, I’m Drowning

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 8.23.46 AM

Flikr Creative Commons via Aimanness Photography

Many writers feel overwhelmed. We’re frequently trying to balance a day job, family, special occasions, emergencies, blogging, social media, laundry and even BATHING. It seems like just about the time we get a good juggling rhythm, someone tosses another bowling pin in our hand (sick kid, car breaking down, computer crashing).

I’d love to say that I’m perfect at these tips I’m about to offer, but I’m a lousy liar. But, I will say that though I’m not where I’d like to be, I’m far from where I used to be (again, thank you Joyce Meyer).

Sometimes We JUST Need to Outsource

I do a fairly good job of at least keeping the house looking like it was hit by a Category ONE Hurricane and not a KATRINA. But, do I have time to scrub all the floors properly and dust the blinds and make the shower sparkle like new? To wipe away ALL the macaroni and cheese The Spawn has painted on various surfaces? To vacuum every crevice filled with Cheerios and cat fur?

*clutches sides laughing*

My solution? Once a month a team of housekeepers come to rescue me. I love Maid Day. It’s like Christmas morning for the working mother. The house smells of Lavender Pine-Sol and everything glows…for at least a half an hour. Granted, I had to give up Bikram yoga (and settle for working out at the regular gym). Also don’t get to eat out as much, but that $90 a month is priceless for my sanity. I tend to be a person that needs things to be tidy or I can’t focus.

Dust bunnies will start a rock band if you leave them together too long.

Redefine What Clean Means

In the comments on my last post, a lot of you fretted about the unmade beds and the dishes and the laundry. I do too. But I am getting better. There was a time I would not have been able to work until I made my house shine like Maid Day. Now? If I can see the floors and flat surfaces?

We’re good.

The inside of my house seriously needs to be painted. I got through half the rooms then developed such bad tendonitis, I couldn’t finish. So the livingroom has patched holes from where the previous owners hung their pictures. We also have a few Crayon “murals” from The Spawn’s early years.

We won’t even begin to discuss the condition of our carpet (Hint: a toddler, two cats and a dog).

But there was a time this would have bothered me to the point of needing medication. I would’ve sold a kidney to hire painters and get new flooring. Now?

Just look away. Learn to un-see.

The Spawn claims he "Zombie-Proofed" his room.

The Spawn claims he “Zombie-Proofed” his room.

This past week has been super stressful. Mom in hospital, niece graduation, final revisions on new book, but oddly, what stressed me out the most? The belt on the vacuum broke. Instead of hoofing it across town to the closest vacuum supply, I thought, “Let’s order one off-line. Surely it will get here in a day or so because the place is in Dallas (40 minutes from us).”

It took a WEEK. Apparently the vacuum supply never expected someone to order a belt and BAGS for their vacuum and had to have them shipped from North Carolina.

Seriously.

It’s been over a WEEK since our floors have been vacuumed. O…M…G. That is a week of crumbs, cereal, cat fur, and pieces of plastic from toys Pippa has half-eaten.

Pippa found the clean baby blankets.

Pippa found the clean baby blankets.

...and the load of clean towels fresh out of the dryer.

…and the load of clean towels fresh out of the dryer.

Again, just look away. Get back to work.

Does the Five Second Rule apply to dogs sleeping in your clean laundry?

To make it in this game, we have to up our standards in some places (our craft) and lower them in others (laundry can wait, just hide it in the bathtub behind the shower curtain :D). We can’t live at 1000% in all areas and not completely drown. We need lifelines.

Delegate

When Mom was in the hospital, they kept screwing up her food. She has all the same food allergies as I do (no gluten, dairy, soy, etc.). Harris seriously has the most incompetent kitchen staff, EVER. They put bread on every meal they brought me when I was in the maternity ward. Did the same thing to Mom this past week.

Actual statement from my stay at Harris: But your burger doesn’t have wheat. That’s white bread. *head desk*

But I digress…

There was a time I would have dropped everything, run to Whole Foods and then driven the 40 minutes to Fort Worth to bring her food. This time? Called Palio’s and sent her a GF, dairy-free pizza…twice.

And she loved it.

If you have an intense period of revisions, ask fellow writers for guest posts. Post YouTube videos as your blog. Let your teenage kids find cool stuff for you. Allow your family to be part of your success. Let people help. We like to help.

I know I am still working on this delegating-asking-for-help-thing. I’m the first person to offer a hand, but seriously need to work on asking for help when I’m swamped. But I am improving :D.

All of this is a process. Some days we will rock it and others we will just….

Yeah.

Focus On What Endures

In the end, just remember. The laundry will never be finished. The dishes will never stay clean. Walls will need repainting and carpet will have to be vacuumed weekly…or hourly if you have a toddler. But relationships? Memories with our family and kids? Love? Finished books? Blogs that new people can discover or that can be made into books? Healthy friendships? Our art? Those things endure, thus need to be our priority.

What about you? Do you completely forget to delegate? Does asking for help just not even enter your mind until you’re one inch from a nervous breakdown? Are you good at delegation? Or are you a hopeless control freak (*guilty face*)? Have you learned to be better at asking for help or delegating? Any tips? Advice?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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  1. #1 by Catherine Johnson on June 12, 2013 - 11:37 am

    Great timing. I would seriously love a once a month cleaner, but Phil would never say yes. I am swamped this week (field trip set me back) but trying to stay calm. That sounds very difficult with your mum. Summer motto easy blogpostsrus.com :)

  2. #2 by Nicky Moxey on June 12, 2013 - 11:40 am

    Oo a cleaner (I wish…)

  3. #3 by Laurie Boris on June 12, 2013 - 11:42 am

    Excellent timing. I’m pretty bad at asking for help, but you’d be surprised what I can “unsee.” If it bothers my visitors, I’m more than happy to point them toward the cleaning supplies.

  4. #4 by broadsideblog on June 12, 2013 - 11:45 am

    My recent vacation (two weeks, true vacation, no damn work) was only possible because I have a terrific assistant – when an editor suddenly needed further work on a story, as I was camping at the Grand Canyon and had left my computer elsewhere, I handed the whole thing off to my assistant, even giving her my email password.

    I needed a break. I got one because I was able to know how badly I needed that break and put the network into place that allows me to freelance and still recharge. I also have a cleaner in twice a month ($115) total and it’s worth every penny.

    Maintaining “control” 24/7 will only impair your mental and physical health. Unless you simply cannot afford one minute of another’s labor, or can’t get free help, why bother trying?

    • #5 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 12, 2013 - 12:02 pm

      Caitlin, where do you find a good assistant? I have been through THREE and they just created a bigger mess than what I started with. One of my reasons for having a hard time delegating.

      • #6 by broadsideblog on June 12, 2013 - 1:22 pm

        I’d be happy to refer her to you! She’s looking for new clients and is terrific. I’ve gone through many, and only a very few have been disappointing — because I managed them poorly.

        I have found them through friends (one was the student of a private school teacher I’d taught); from my own classes, poached one from my agent. Bizarrely, perhaps, I found C. because we were reading one another’s blogs and I could tell from her writing that we would be (and have been) a great fit for one another. I could tell she had what it would take — sangfroid, sense of humor, smarts, self-reliance.

  5. #7 by Theresa Wright on June 12, 2013 - 11:46 am

    I was twitching as I read this. I have a post to work on, I want to get to yoga sometime today, carpool to drive, vacuuming to do (and yes, my vacuum needs to get into the shop, too), paperwork to file for our small business as well as bookkeeping, help the kids with their father’s day gifts, etc. It’s not easy to ask for help, but thanks for some ideas on how to keep it in perspective.

  6. #8 by Tiffany Pitts on June 12, 2013 - 11:47 am

    I have a little trick that cleans half the living room in five seconds flat. It’s really easy.
    First, you sit down on the floor. Then you lay down on the floor. Then you stare at the ceiling until you realize that 50% of the room is already clean. It sounds hokey but it works really well when you’re having one of those “OH MY GO THIS PLACE IS A WRECK AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START” moments.

  7. #10 by Lanette Kauten on June 12, 2013 - 11:48 am

    Now I’m feeling guilty because I’m not currently dealing with the same problems as a lot of other women writers. My kids are at their grandparents this week, and they’ll be gone again the whole month of July to see their dad. Since I don’t work outside of the home, I look for fun ways to procrastinate. Although, in my defense, I home school a histrionic teenager who screams about how she can’t write a character profile on Medea only to turn in the paper two days later, and it’s A quality work. Until school starts up again, I’m going to enjoy getting as much writing done as I can.

  8. #11 by Julie Glover on June 12, 2013 - 11:53 am

    I’ve been toying with that once-a-month housekeeper idea. You may have pushed me over the edge.

    • #12 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 12, 2013 - 12:02 pm

      Best thing I EVER did. I had to sacrifice and budget, but man it so ROCKS.

      • #13 by Julie Glover on June 12, 2013 - 12:06 pm

        I think I’m saying goodbye to professional massages, hello to housekeeping. :)

        • #14 by kimterry on June 12, 2013 - 12:23 pm

          I know what you mean, Julie. My Massage Envy membership fell by the wayside, last spring. Miss it, as I had locked into one therapist with golden hands. Still, I needed the money for other things.

  9. #15 by Janet K Brown (@janetkbrowntx) on June 12, 2013 - 11:53 am

    I love the idea of focusing on what endures. good motto

  10. #16 by breeroberts on June 12, 2013 - 11:56 am

    I’d be tickled with just a cook!

  11. #17 by Writer / Mummy on June 12, 2013 - 11:57 am

    I’ve just about learned to ignore the dirt, but haven’t quite learned to block out the disapproving looks of horror on the faces of friends when they come round. My mother has given up coming entirely because it makes her palms itch! I’ve also booked kids in for extra morning at preschool just so the kitchen floor gets mopped once a week… As you say, though, what’s really going to matter in ten years?

  12. #18 by christicorbett on June 12, 2013 - 12:07 pm

    I think of my dust bunnies as my own personal cheering squad…since they’ve now banded together in the hallway and wave at me when I walk by :)

    Christi Corbett

  13. #19 by Satin Sheet Diva on June 12, 2013 - 12:08 pm

    What a great way to put it, “Focus on what endures.” That’s going to end a lot of strife for me.

  14. #20 by Debbie Morella-Haynes on June 12, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    I recently started working from home and found this exact thing to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. Productivity teachers say to complete the 3 most important things on your to do list before anything else. So I put “straighten house” as the first. (I’m pretty sure that’s not what they meant.) But I found I couldn’t concentrate and stay at something because every time I looked up, …. there IT was ….. staring me in the face. But, awareness is a great teacher. I have since moved this item up the list to #3, and am getting used to staring IT back in the face until it backs down.

  15. #21 by TamrahJo on June 12, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    Asking for help never crosses my mind until I just passed into nervous breakdown zone – but I’m trying to get better at it! :)

  16. #22 by hcfbutton on June 12, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    Not great at the delegation side of things. Always great at the answering the call to help side of things. But I think specifically because I don’t ask for help all the time, when I do, people respond quickly. I also find it tough (at least in my job) to delegate because sometimes the explanation takes me longer than to do it myself. But I have to remember that if I train someone once on it, then they can do it for me the next time.

  17. #23 by kimterry on June 12, 2013 - 12:20 pm

    A dog in the clean laundry? No problema. A cat? Aaaaaaaaa-choooooooo!!!

  18. #24 by Jackie Vick on June 12, 2013 - 12:20 pm

    The hubby has been unemployed for a few weeks, which means my house is clean. There is an upside to everything. And my sympathy about the hospital. Hubby had a terrible work accident–a head injury, which meant his head needed to be elevated. I came in several mornings to find the bed flat, and the nurse on duty argued with me because her computer didn’t say anything about the bed. You have to be a bull terrier for your loved ones when they are in the hospital! Glad to hear things went well.

  19. #25 by kimterry on June 12, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    About the Harris food, I think the kitchen had a peas-and-carrots surplus. Now, the food I got in the rehab unit (Richardson Tower) was pret-ty tasty. (Couldn’t possibly be because I was delirious I was still alive!)

  20. #26 by KM Huber on June 12, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    Thanks, I need this one today, Kristen, really needed it. Different details here but same issue of what endures and what energy I expend. Just this morning in the mail room at my apartment complex I saw a sign from a cleaning service, and just the thought of someone coming in to do what costs me so much energy and ultimately so much down time seems worth the rearranging of the budget. Also, Caitlin’s original comment on another post of yours got me thinking in that direction, again. Now, like Julie Glover, I am over the edge.

    For what it’s worth, in my years as an administrator, the really good assistants were those who truly love being an assistant and did not want to be in any other job or career. Truly, some people are born to it, and the job of an assistant is far from a job for just anyone needing a job.

    As always, thanks for helping us see ourselves.
    KM

  21. #27 by Rebekkah N. on June 12, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    Is there still a bed? Check. Have all the animals refrained from using the bed as a litterbox? Check. Is the bed made? … Who cares. It’s still a non-litterbox bed. I say it’s good enough.

    On the other hand, let’s do make time for girls’ night. That’s actually important.

    #priorities

  22. #29 by Tasha Turner on June 12, 2013 - 12:30 pm

    My mother-in-law convinced me cleaning help is a must have and its better to go without just about anything to have someone come in 1-2 times a month. Since I got ill its become a necessity. I do wish the house was less cluttered with stuff/papers we don’t use/need so there would be less dust and the cleaners could really make the house look fantastic when they were done. But there is good enough. If I can make it through rooms without tripping on anything it’s clean enough until the cleaner arrives…

    Occasionally I do go into a “the clutter is way out of hand and I can’t take it anymore”. This results in my sitting my husband down with the boxes of mail/papers that have piled up over several months and the recycle bin and screaming “do something about this”.

    I’ve also put a moratorium on buying anything that is not a cleaning product, disposable, or digital as with 2 people living in a 3 bedroom house we don’t have even floor space for new stuff. Replacements for broken appliances/computers/etc, are exceptions… As are the occasional paper books… But yeah I’ve learned to just not see a lot of the problems.

    In my 1st marriage my husband used to tell me how I was doing everything wrong until he realized he’d become responsible for all the housework. He eventually learned good enough when he got tired of working full-time and doing all the housework. That was not the happiest day of my life I’d enjoyed being the “man of the house” who went to work and came home and relaxed and everything else was taken care of. The reversal of roles was fun while it lasted.

  23. #30 by katemsparkes on June 12, 2013 - 12:38 pm

    I’m not gonna lie, I have a special gift for looking the other way. I could leave the entire house littered with toys, books, and papers and be fine with it. I’m better than I used to be about doing the dishes, but if they have to wait a few hours until the writing is done, I have no problem with that. Yes, I like the house to be reasonably clean under the clutter, but that’s not enough to motivate me to sweep more than once a day.

    I do have this juggling problem, though, because mess stresses my husband out, so I end up tidying a lot even though the mess doesn’t bother me or the kids. What I do is The Epic Ten Minute Tidy before he comes home from work (twenty minutes if the kitchen is a mess). Toys to bedroom or basement, floors swept, dishes collected and washed, bathroom and kitchen counters wiped, clutter cleared, at least into baskets that I can set aside until I have time to put things where they belong (baskets are essential for this kind of cleaning). This leaves me free to work during the day (OK, and I waste a lot of time, too), and things are reasonably tidy for my husband when he’s home. When he works nights, I tidy before he wakes up and again before I go to bed.

    The other stuff gets done; I clean the bathrooms, wash the floors, etc. in between work sessions. I also have to juggle one kid who hasn’t started school yet and demands a lot of attention, a dog who needs regular walks, homework with the other boy, etc., but it’s nice to be able to let some things go for most of the day. It probably also helps that I’m antisocial and don’t have to worry about surprise visitors…

    But I would kill for a maid. Seriously. If I had something I could give up to get one, I’d be right there with you.

    • #31 by Lanette Kauten on June 12, 2013 - 12:51 pm

      This sounds like my house. I am exactly as you are, and my husband is exactly how you described yours. The difference is mine works out of the house, but he goes away on business trips a lot. The first few days he’s gone, I only concern myself with the dishes. On the day he’s coming back, I do a mad sweep of the house.

  24. #32 by deeannfrye on June 12, 2013 - 12:44 pm

    Love this post! I think we can all relate! The best cleaning my home gets is in the 10 to 15 minutes before I know company is arriving! I have become a real Houdini at hiding the mess that frequently takes over my living room and kids rooms!

  25. #33 by reneemaynes on June 12, 2013 - 12:45 pm

    Focus on what endures – you are so right. Sometimes it’s too easy to focus on the little things, like windows that need washing and cobwebs in corners, and forget the important stuff. Great post.

  26. #34 by Prudence MacLeod on June 12, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    Yes ma’am, since I started writing my tolerance for dog hair and dust have gone way up. :)

  27. #35 by norasnowdon on June 12, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    outsourcing!? what a great idea. altho my idea of clean is already seriously compromised ;) by my selective seeing, I love the idea of letting go of the many stupid chores I fixate on. and this way i’ll get rid of procrastination enablers…
    great post!

  28. #36 by jeanlauzier on June 12, 2013 - 1:06 pm

    I have teenage daughter to help around house. She takes care of dishes, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathrooms during the week…on the weekend, the kitchen is mine. Plus…the others all do their own laundry…have since they were about 7…if they don’t fold and put away…long as I don’t see it…fine. Daughter does get paid extra for her work which gives her spending money and me free time to write. I do try to remember that the things that will matter years from now are not how clean my cabinets were or if the carpet has been vacuumed today.

  29. #37 by Damian Trasler on June 12, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    Yeah, I see your problem…Juggling with bowling pins. Bad idea. Stick a piece of dowell in the neck of a coke bottle (2 litre, naturally) and tape it in place. Instant juggling club. A lot lighter than a bowling pin. Here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-RI25VdrJusMVhFdHZXM0d4Zk0/edit?usp=sharing

  30. #38 by cynthiagrstacey on June 12, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    Too funny. Mr Clean Magic eraser will erase the Spawn crayon Mural…I love your posts Kristen.

  31. #40 by cynthiagrstacey on June 12, 2013 - 1:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Cynthia Stacey and commented:
    Another Awesome Post by Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone.

  32. #41 by Arza Winters on June 12, 2013 - 1:19 pm

    My six-month-old’s toys were on the floor as I was about to write this morning, and my first thought was to clean it up. With my OCD, I like an organized writing space. However, my second thought (sometimes the second thoughts are better than the first) was that I’m working on a first draft. Aren’t first drafts all about play? I can be organized when I’m editing. For now, the disorder adds a little conflict. And we all know conflict drives a story.

  33. #43 by llreynolds777 on June 12, 2013 - 1:22 pm

    Truer words were never spoken than dust bunnies will start a rock band if you leave them together too long. I have put my call into the cleaning service. Hey, if Kristin Lambs does it, then so should I!! (At least this is what I’m telling the husband.)

  34. #44 by Ileandra Young on June 12, 2013 - 1:35 pm

    Just last week I was talking about how useless I am at asking for help. My best friend had to literally pry my hands away from the pram and send me to bed like a child. She took my twin boys for a walk and I snatched half an hour’s sleep (after doing the washing up and vacuum – don’t tell her; I said I went straight to bed!).

  35. #45 by Andrew Toynbee on June 12, 2013 - 1:47 pm

    Can I please reblog your wonderful post as I am swamped by the day job, writing demands, travelling (work again), health worries, blog posting (neglected) and other stuff I don’t want to go into. I know its not a fraction of the work needed to take care of a house and family, but I’ve missed my last two blog posts and I need help..! Phew, breakdown narrowly averted!

  36. #47 by Andrew Toynbee on June 12, 2013 - 1:48 pm

    Reblogged this on Andrew Toynbee's very own Blog and commented:
    If you feel under pressure to write, blog, cook, clean and care, then take some advice from the desk of Kristen Lamb…

  37. #48 by Brianna Boes on June 12, 2013 - 1:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing pics. Zombie-proof! LOL! Really though, when other people say, “Oh my house gets messy,” I get the feeling they mean a few random toys on the floor. My house more often looks Zombie-proofed than not, especially in the kids room!

  38. #49 by Jodi on June 12, 2013 - 1:59 pm

    Love the idea of asking for outside help with blogging when you know things are going to be stressful. This is great, thanks for sharing!

  39. #50 by AM Mahler on June 12, 2013 - 2:03 pm

    This is so true, Kristen! I would just say as someone that works from home, it actually did worlds for my sanity to just make my bed every morning. For some reason, just doing that one thing each day, didn’t make me unspool. I see an unmade bed and immediately start obsessing over everything else that needs to get done.

  40. #51 by Jessi Gage on June 12, 2013 - 2:16 pm

    Yes. Yes, yes, and YES! $90 well spent.
    The picture of the zombie-proofed room looks exactly like my living room most days of the week. It kind of stays like that for days on end because (a) it’s just going to get messed up again and (b) I’d rather write. I don’t lose what I wrote for that half-hour, but a half-hour of tidying is completely erased within 15 minutes.
    So, yes. A post on writters’ priorities is awesome! Nice to know I’m not the only one living in filth so I can write filth.

  41. #52 by TraceyLynnTobin on June 12, 2013 - 2:23 pm

    One of my coworkers once asked me, with a completely straight and serious face, “Don’t you have cleaners?” I looked at him like he was nuts because, for one thing, I live in the kind of area where people don’t have the money for such an extravagance (and trust me, it’d be a lot more than $90 around here!), and for another thing, I have a toddler. What’s the point in paying for maid service when it’s guaranteed to be messed up again in 15 minutes flat?

    You may be able to tell I have trouble delegating. I’m even known at work as the one who won’t accept help. I always feel like it’s MY work and I HAVE to do it myself. It’s terrible really, but it’s one of my character flaws. I’ve been known to shout my mother out of the kitchen because it KILLS me to let her help me cook. lol

  42. #53 by Shea Ford on June 12, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    Ha! You totally got my adrenaline going with “Actual statement from my stay at Harris: But your burger doesn’t have wheat. That’s white bread. *head desk*” I’m seriously sensitive to gluten and ignorance like that just makes me want to pull out my hair. lol

    That said, the kitchen is where I have the most difficult time delegating. I’m the only one with gluten trouble so I’m completely obsessive of how food is stored and dishes cleaned.

    I also LOATHE flat wall paint. This is apparently standard wall treatment in a new house. We’ve been here a year and between Mac N’ Cheese fingerpaint, chair rubbings, and toys that must have walls for roads, you’d think we’ve lived here for 10+ years. lol And I can’t stand that I can’t clean it! One of these days, we’ll get to painting it with decent gloss…

    The best way for me to get to writing, is the get out of the house.

  43. #54 by tomwisk on June 12, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    Thanks, getting a bit jammed and needed some perspective. One thing though, clean is relative. to my room mate it’s swabbing everything in sight with bleach, thinnly diluted. To me it’s a quickrun with the dust buster and an old t-shirt. Heck we’ve got two cats.

  44. #55 by M T McGuire on June 12, 2013 - 3:05 pm

    Cleaners, or as you guys call them, maids. The author’s best friend. Definitely. ;-)

  45. #56 by howmyspiritsings on June 12, 2013 - 3:19 pm

    It has never personally bothered me when my house was a mess when I was on a writing tangent, however, I am not the only one who lives where I live, and my husband is the one who insists on a clean house.I do like where I live though because we rent. If something breaks, we call the landlord. Yard work is part of the rent. Like you I try to do a little every day. I WISH I had a maid to come in. Fortunately I have a twelve year old that I feel I need to train to take care of things, so it certainly is helpful to know that I can delegate. (By the way, when the dog gets in the laundry basket, stick it back into the dryer and spray it with a little Febreze then run it for a few minutes. Will make the clothes smell nice again, and it will get rid of the dog hair!)

  46. #57 by Kathryn Chastain Treat on June 12, 2013 - 3:46 pm

    I love this blog post. I love the comment about lying on the floor and discovering it half-way cleaned (minus the cobwebs). I don’t ask for help because getting someone to come in and put on tyvek suits and then clean while they are sweating inside them, just wouldn’t be possible. Because of my illness, I don’t have specific cleaning days. Things get cleaned when I am up to it.

  47. #58 by J. L. Mbewe on June 12, 2013 - 4:06 pm

    I have a hard time delegating. I couldn’t hire someone even if we could afford it, I’d clean up before they got here. Ha!

  48. #59 by seakievSuzanne on June 12, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    I’m still trying to decide between hiring cleaning help versus using that money to market my books. So far, book marketing is winning. But I’m getting tired of mopping floors.

    • #60 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 12, 2013 - 7:04 pm

      Marketing doesn’t work. Hire the maid and write more books.

      • #61 by seakiev on June 12, 2013 - 7:51 pm

        What about services like BookBub? They’ve helped to boost my book sales…isn’t that considered marketing?

        • #62 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 12, 2013 - 9:07 pm

          Some of it is a good investment. I hear good things about BookBub. But what really boosts sales is multiple books and compounded sales. THAT is where the money is ;).

  49. #63 by Paula on June 12, 2013 - 4:30 pm

    Re: the rugs — I learned the hard way: buy Persians. Only Persians. I prefer tribal designs, because they are so intricate NOTHING SHOWS. I have three dogs and a very sloppy 3-generation family. The rugs look fabulous and honey, if you could only see what’s there. If you can’t afford the real ones, buy machine made.

  50. #64 by danielocceno on June 12, 2013 - 4:38 pm

    The “five-second rule” applies to a (dropped on the floor) egg battered shell-less jumbo Philippine prawn with tail, still attached, for a finger food – deep fried in 100 percent coconut cooking oil. I have a craving for it. We do not even use cocktail sauce. It usually has plenty of flavor salted and the coconut oil. I have ample time early morning and in the late afternoons, but I cannot concentrate on my novel. My laps in writing are being spent on FACEBOOK. I am looking at the “shameless plugs” of writers who have traditionally published or are self-publishing. I check out the covers and their write-up of what the book is about. I still would consider it walking forward towards my goal of being a paid novelist.

  51. #65 by alexlaybourne on June 12, 2013 - 4:45 pm

    Great Post Kirsten,

    I suffer from the same, with a full time job and 4 kids running around, my wife and I are always running around tidying up after the most recent tiny hurricane to sweep through the room. My wife will vacuum three times a day, and will still have to run it again once the kids are in bed.

    It is important to realize that spotless doesn’t always mean clean, that clean is relative, and what you tell yourself it is. With kids around, you cannot and do not want to live in a place that looks like a model house, or a show home. It isn’t possible, and isn’t healthy for you to try. Not while juggling as many things as you, we all, do.

  52. #66 by Widdershins on June 12, 2013 - 5:08 pm

    Dust Bunnies breed! Under the bed. When we’re asleep. The offspring then mutate into Dust Dragons. And the human race is screwed!

  53. #67 by Hildie McQueen on June 12, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    Time runs away from me, every single day lately. I am convinced that if you look up “Overwhelmed ” in the dictionary, my picture is there. Now I know there are a bunch of pictures, I have major company. Your article helped me realized that yes, maybe it is time for a little help. Thanks!

  54. #68 by Jess Witkins on June 12, 2013 - 5:36 pm

    When I first quit my job I went to “work” on the house. I vacuumed and mopped all the floors, cleaned out my entire closet, was the only one responding to the garbage and recycling bags for awhile, and did all the dishes. I thought I was helping everyone else out, and I was. But I still wasn’t writing. DFWcon recharged me. I’m still stressing over the new job hunt and getting cover letters and resumes completed, but otherwise I’m writing and working out again – the two things I NEVER had time to do at my stressful old job. That is PRICELESS.

    And my laundry doesn’t get done until it doubles in size and climbs the wall of my closet. hahaha

  55. #69 by Marsha R West on June 12, 2013 - 6:15 pm

    Wow, Kristen, it was like we were drawing from the same well. I just finished a post for tomorrow’s blog about the crazy times. Good and bad stress. More like suffocating. Oh, well, I guess that’s drowning, right? LOL Have finished line edits and have a new cover. In one of your spare moments, (LOL) check it out. http://www.marsharwest.com/category/blog. Remember to breath. That’s the most important, so you can take care of yourself. Otherwise your no good to all those others depending on you. Hope your Mom is doing better.

  56. #70 by RobynAldridge on June 12, 2013 - 8:38 pm

    KISS PRINCIPLE: Pull in welcome mat. Shut door. Put on blinkers and write.

    DON’T let mental health workers hear you talking to your characters. Workers might want to investigate your abode and their report might not tally up with the writing in your manuscript.

    NEVER lie on floor to clean. Means more clothes to wash.

    DON’T give 100% of yourself in the name of housewifery. Save something for you, something you can share with your family and friends, and allows you time to write, just for you. In other words, love yourself. If you don’t, then you’ll come up empty. You’re Number 1 to you and never forget that. If you do, you’ll run the risk of hurting yourself and never achieving your goals.

    We came from the earth and have limited time to free the muse. Enjoy that time which ticks on. If you don’t, it’ll be you done and dusted before you’ve written, “The End” on that manuscript.

    BTW, Kristen’s blog was recommended by the Captain of 50ks in 30 days (Down Under).

    Outback dust storm on the horizon so I must prioritise or I’ll not have my tally for today.

    • #71 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 12, 2013 - 9:08 pm

      Brilliant observations and 1000% YES!!!! Awesome. Can I get a link to express my thanks?

  57. #72 by Elle Carter Neal on June 12, 2013 - 9:51 pm

    Oh! All the way across the globe (in Australia) we have the exact same play-gym mat (the one covering Pippa with the cat, red bird, frog, elephant, etc.)!

    I used the baby-steps concept to write a first draft of a novel before giving birth to my second baby. Now I’m using it to develop my social presence: I realised I spend a LOT of time on the Internet just reading and reading and reading other people’s stuff – the solution I came up with this week is to spend the first five minutes of my Internet “break” (i.e., each time I have an urge to check my Facebook feed or email) working on either a blog post, newsletter content, Facebook page, or a tweet. Then I can go linky-clicky mad for a little while. (And then it’s back to writing, or folding laundry.)

    I’ll let you know if it works!

  58. #73 by donnajeanmcdunn on June 12, 2013 - 10:57 pm

    I don’t know if I’m terrible at delegating because I don’t ever try it. My husband will sometimes do some laundry, but that’s about it as far as the house goes. I used to have our three daughters do chores when they lived at home, but my four cats and two dogs just don’t help out much now.

    I still work full time and I’m almost done with the first draft of my second book. I do most of my writing at work (it’s okay, they know. I just have to have my work done) and most of my time on the Internet, when I get home. I stop at the gym on my way home and workout for forty-five minutes. After 42 years I guess I do have my husband trained pretty well, sometimes he’ll make dinner for us.

  59. #74 by Paige on June 13, 2013 - 12:00 am

    Mette Ivie Harrison gives a great talk about this.
    Thanks for the ideas!

  60. #75 by amandalewisab on June 13, 2013 - 1:46 am

    I try to delegate. I try to ask for help when I’m swamped, drowning or without the resorces to get the job done and then the inevitable happens. The person who commited backs out. 90% of the time they flake on me. Now, am I not only left stressing that the help I expected is now non-existant, but I’ve got more stress because the goal isn’t going to be reached unless I do it myself all by myself. You see; it’s because I’m so “understanding” of others feelings, that people around me don’t feel accountable for promises they make to me, because they know I’ll understand. So. How can I change this situation I get myself in? Stop asking for help? Or stop letting others say no to me?

  61. #76 by Nin Ashmore on June 13, 2013 - 2:36 am

    Hi Kristen,

    I wonder if you or your readers have heard of FlyLady.net. She will send you emails and practical tips on how to stay on top of housework. One tip I love and that is after you take your shower, and while still in the shower, take your wash cloth you used and wash your shower, or tub, with your body soap, or shampoo because, as she says, “soap is soap.” Rinse the shower out with the shower head and ta da it’s clean for the next shower. Then when you get out of the shower, wipe off your sink, and straighten it up. Put anything away that doesn’t go there. Next take a minute to swish and swipe the toilet with the toilet brush. In a few minutes the bathroom is clean.

    I don’t knock getting the maid to do it. But if you are the maid, then sometimes great pointers will help an overwhelming task become manageable. She teaches to do chores in 15 minute increments. It’s a great system when adhered to.

    Love your blog! I flew into Denver recently for my granddaughters graduation and thought if it was at the same time frame, I would’ve loved to have attended your recent workshop there and meet you. Perhaps at a later date…

  62. #77 by DJ on June 13, 2013 - 5:56 am

    In our house the company comes and the wife closes the bedroom door–

  63. #78 by Gloria Richard Author on June 13, 2013 - 6:54 am

    Two things: (1) Spawn’s statement that he Zombie Proofed his room? Priceless! (2) and, what others have said, focus on what will endure.

    Unfortunately (for me) what will endure is the sale of this house — yes, it’s back on the market. This means daily attention to details, details, details. I’ve found breaks to be a great time to motor through the house and pick up items left by hubby and the dogs.

    Does anyone know a good trainer? For husbands who tend to think “here” is the best place to drop any and all miscellany? For dogs, who (like Spawn) do not appreciate the concept of putting back one toy before taking out another.

    I so enjoy your humor, Kristen. And, WOOT(!) on the “final” in the edits bit about your new book.

  64. #79 by tamarknochel on June 13, 2013 - 7:20 am

    “In the end, just remember. The laundry will never be finished. The dishes will never stay clean. Walls will need repainting and carpet will have to be vacuumed weekly…or hourly if you have a toddler. But relationships? Memories with our family and kids? Love? Finished books? Blogs that new people can discover or that can be made into books? Healthy friendships? Our art? Those things endure, thus need to be our priority.” – I am seriously in tears Kristin! You made me cry! While i have very often, ok, always thought of my writing as art. I hadn’t ever put it all together like this! What i do every day WILL endure the test of time. Even if the world never sees it my KIDS and GRANDKIDS will. My writing is a piece of ME and it’s therefore a piece of them. While my kitchen may not remain a mess forever, my book will if i never take it seriously and clean it up. No one else can write like me because they’re not me. But others CAN clean a house and do the laundry! (Look forward to the day the Spawn can reach the washing machine! It’s a Hallelujah day! ) Thank you so much for the permission to take what i do seriously. I needed that today. I’m NOT just playing on my computer all day, I’m creating something that will last!

  65. #80 by creativityorcrazy on June 13, 2013 - 7:22 am

    Love the picture of your dog in the laundry hamper. Our little dog will do anything to find her way into a load of warm clothes fresh from the dryer. Delegation is a good thing, but I’m not so good at it. I am getting better, kind of had to, since becoming a full time caregiver for my husband.

  66. #81 by staceywilk on June 13, 2013 - 7:34 am

    Kristen, your blog post came at the right time. Thank you! I was walking up the steps to my office and I all I saw was the lint on the carpet and I thought, “Ugh. I should vacuum, exercise, throw a load of laundry in, instead of sitting at my desk and work on marketing my book and getting the art work together.” I’m going to take your advice and ignore. I’ll keep my eyes glued on the ceiling as I walk around the house!

  67. #82 by Robin on June 13, 2013 - 7:57 am

    love this. We are leaving for a family trip to Montana tomorrow and I have a HUGE to do, list + working out + the guilt of knowing there’s some picnic for the last day of school today that I SHOULD go to if I was a good mom, but I honestly have only 4 hrs left before I have no more freedom for the summer, and have no desire to cut my time short! Sigh….love the idea of the once a month cleaner. I had one every other week when I was working a full-time job but then cut it out when I stopped. And I just can’t keep up w/bathrooms and floors. if people don’t see it? Like the bedroom? Not clean. Everything else is in piles. But maybe I can get a quick blog post out and workout when my son is home and playing Minecraft…that’ll work. Thanks for the priority advice :)

  68. #83 by jumpingfromcliffs on June 13, 2013 - 8:07 am

    Fabulous post :D This very evening I shall be taking the “Yeah, that’s close enough” approach to sorting out the spare room for an impending parental visit, in favour of sorting out a particularly irksome chapter ending.

    Delegating, however, is an entirely different matter… never have been able to do that. Not where the blog is concerned anyway. I’m in no way a control freak (genuinely), I just never feel things will turn out quite the way I want them if I leave it to someone else.

    Big thanks for this post, I did think I was the only one who couldn’t superhero everything into shape and still have oodles of time to write – now I know we are legion!

  69. #84 by NancyS.Goodman on June 13, 2013 - 8:16 am

    Reblogged this on Rakes Rogues and Romance and commented:
    How true is this? For me, it goes beyond the drowning in laundry and the things that never get put away (although now with my daughter back home from college, I do put things away, she just keeps taking them out!). It’s the feeling that so much may be passing me by that I can’t catch up with. But there are things I know I have to do, like Kristen says. I have to keep reading. Right now I am reading a great book called Astor Place Vintage. Fantastic read. I have to keep up with not only my blog but the blog of all my wonderful writer/reader friends.Last year at this time not only did I not know these blogs existed I didn’t realize this crazy writer world existed. I am fortunate to have experienced a taste of it. My friendships are one of the most important things in my life and I make time for that going out to dinner/have a glass (bottle) of wine night.
    And then, because what it’s all about is the writing. Fingers to keyboard, pen to paper. However you do it. It must be done.
    Dishes be damned.

  70. #85 by L. Marie on June 13, 2013 - 10:39 am

    I’m so glad to read this post and discover your blog! I’m looking at my unvacuumed floor and the piles of papers and feeling massive guilt. But I’ve got deadlines and books to write. I do feel overwhelmed!

  71. #86 by tamarknochel on June 13, 2013 - 11:52 am

    Reblogged this on Tamar Knochel and commented:
    Word of the Day: 1 Chronicles 1:1-4:23
    Today I am Re-blogging my current favorite blogger’s post from yesterday. Kristin Lamb is a hilarious writer who blogs about writing professionally. In this post, as in most of her posts, the things that she uses as suggestions for ways to be a successful writer translate amazingly well for anyone else who is not a writer.
    While the entire blog helped me. Her ending sent me to tears. “Focus on What Endures” – It’s so easy to lose sight of the things in life that are truly important. I’d love to say more but the Holy Spirit is reminding me that I’m not supposed to be talking today, Kristin is. I’m just supposed to introduce her. ;)
    So without further ado, MY role model, Kristin Lamb!
    *thunderous applause*

  72. #87 by feltenk on June 13, 2013 - 4:18 pm

    Great post (Andrew Toynbee reblogged this) and now I’m a follower ;) I’ll also link to your page on my blog and mention your novel :) http://kristyfgillespie.wordpress.com/
    I’m adding a post shortly ;)

  73. #88 by feltenk on June 13, 2013 - 4:24 pm

    Also, I’m with you on the tidy house- if I ever have a child, I’ll give up some book buying & Starbucks for a monthly maid! And your dog is funny!

  74. #89 by Louisa Mack on June 13, 2013 - 5:43 pm

    Thank for that post from the bottom of my heart, especially that bit about what’s really important! I hope your Mom has a quick and easy recovery.

  75. #90 by RobynAldridge on June 13, 2013 - 9:09 pm

    Facebook is best. My head is staying clear of most social stuff for this month but I’ll see anything left on FB (occasionally). Can’t hang around there for too long, otherwise Captn will be onto me for that, too. BTW, it was Captn who recommended your site. Just pulled myself out of the RWA (Oz) 50ks to check in here. Can’t hang around for long otherwise our Captn will be on to me with the cat o nine… http://www.facebook.com/robyn.aldridge1?ref=tn_tnmn Hope this works. It’ll have to suffice for now b/c the email address I’m using here is different from the one I use for FB. My pic is still the same though. It’s a compilation of a couple of pics I took when I was photographing my shadow. Misshapen? Well, I was carrying a large bag.

  76. #91 by Carolyn Dekat on June 14, 2013 - 12:22 am

    I was happy to adopt my mother-in-law’s mantra: If they came to see me, they won’t notice the mess. If they came to see the mess, I’d hate to disappoint them.

    Though sometimes I wonder when she stops by if she wishes she never told it to me….. :)

  77. #92 by RobynAldridge on June 14, 2013 - 6:17 am

    Now I can’t even spell your name! Nothing like getting attention, even if I didn’t drive to the wrong state!

    • #93 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 14, 2013 - 7:09 am

      I am not that picky about the spelling of my name. There are far more important things in life to fret about :D. I am just thrilled you take the time to comment *hugs*

      • #94 by RobynAldridge on June 14, 2013 - 6:56 pm

        Thanks for that. In my case, I’ve observed that the spelling has changed over the decades. In the thirties, the female form was Robin.

        • #95 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 14, 2013 - 7:42 pm

          HELL, I am stoked that you COMMENT. You think I am going to nit-pick? WRONG. YOU ROCK! *will fix spelling and grammatical errors because I love you*

  78. #96 by christineardigo on June 14, 2013 - 12:49 pm

    i hope the person that said that to you about the wheat wasnt part of the Nutrition staff. I am a dietitian and we are so strict with allergies. Usually it is the other way arond. We get an egg allergy and the person insists they can have French toast!
    This post came at the perfect time. I had a breakdown at the end of my work day Tuesday with all the end of the school year happenings, all the outisde and inside chores that had to be done, a family member that insists on making my life miserable and not having a minute to pee.
    I took the next 5 days off from work and I am on a roll. Spent 12 hours on Wednesday from 9am-9pm working on the outdoors, and spent the next day cleaning the inside. I feel refreshed. Now to finish the my book! Almost at the climax. And i am relaxed and revigorated! Thank you for this!!!!!
    I have been following you faithfully for 2 years! YOu have helped me more than you will ever know!

  79. #97 by Brock Clayards on June 14, 2013 - 1:24 pm

    Kristen in my former working life I was in and out of a lot of homes. I could tell when a house was trashy and when it was ‘loved in’ there is a difference. We can’t all be Martha or Marvin Stewarts. Your comments about outsourcing are spot on. Outwards appearances can be deceiving but what come from the heart always shines through.

  80. #98 by Iola Reneau on June 15, 2013 - 9:55 am

    Talk about on the same page…In my journal this morning I was ranting at myself about this very topic. I care for my terminally ill husband, babysit my grandson so my daughter can continue in college, have three teens still in the home who have been trained to let mom do it all ( my fault completely), had electrician’s in my home off and on over two weeks, plus I am trying to build a career that should have been started twenty years ago. Delegating is no longer an option it is vital to my sanity. Great post. Nice to know I am not the only one on the edge of chaos…

  81. #99 by Dave Benneman on June 15, 2013 - 10:25 am

    You bet the 5 second rule applies to the dog jumping in with the warm towels, as long as there is no humping involved.

  82. #100 by lexiconia on June 18, 2013 - 7:54 am

    Great reminder that you can’t do it all, and shouldn’t expect to keep things under control all the time. Thanks!

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