Posts Tagged OCD

Zombie School, OCD & How To Keep Modern Life from KILLING Us

The Spawn LOVES "Mommy School"

The Spawn LOVES “Mommy School”

Back in 2013 I wrote a post detailing The Parable of the King Who Forgot to Pay the Internet Bill and All The Kingdom was Super-Sad….also known as The Parable of TKWFTPTIBAATKWSS. I’ve had a lot of challenges lately. After Spawn being fired from nursery school for his over-zealous love of zombies, I’m home-schooling.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s FUN and Spawn has come LIGHT-YEARS. I take him to the museum, we study space, and explore fluid dynamics using water guns. We built and launched his own rocket (which he christened The Nebula because its mission was to find “baby stars”).

He still loves zombies (a lot). He plays a zombie, shoots the zombies (and sometimes he mistakes ME for the zombie, though that is totally understandable and hard for me to be too judgy). He carries his zombie NERF guns EVERYWHERE. He makes up songs about zombies, poems of zombies, tales of zombies…

I need a nap. I really miss six hours of quiet time to work. Especially because the constant interruptions and not finishing???? *left eye twitches* Yes, I AM SHELDON.

Spawn being home-schooled? Yeah. I get the living room clean, turn and BOOM! My need for closure is being tested to the MAX.

And sometimes?

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.01.28 AM

Anyway, my old schedule was already hectic but with Spawn at home? I’m out of my mojo and have done some DUMB stuff…namely when I scheduled the Antagonist Class, I was looking at a JULY calendar.

Seriously? *hangs head*

What a Week

Also, after Spawn got booted from nursery school, I put him in Karate. I then signed up at the same dojo to show Mommy Support (and maybe get a workout). I took Brazilian Jui-Jitsu because I used to teach Jui-Jitsu (though I will say BJJ is very different and I am a total noob).

Last Tuesday, I was sparring and went to pin my opponent in a choke hold. He countered with a leg sweep to escape that I countered…with my FACE, breaking my nose.

S-E-X-Y!

S-E-X-Y!

Now, the nose wasn’t that bad, nothing that some ice, tape and Ibuprophen couldn’t handle. In fact, a broken nose can be awesome family fun. I chased Hubby around going, “My nose is CRUNCHY! Touch it!” And he screamed like a girl and climbed up the back of the couch faster than a cat high on catnip.

…then yelled something about me being a freak and I am rather shocked that after six years he’s just now figured that out.

So last Friday I’m running errands for the other family business and, of course my phone was DEAD because Spawn likely broke into my iPhone to play Angry Birds and ended up booking a flight to Dubai.

…and my class was in our digital classroom waiting. And Jay was calling. And no one answered :( .

Where is Kristen?

Um, duh *rolls eyes*. I was totally preparing for class on SATURDAY.

The ANTAG class is MY FAVORITE to teach, so I’d been looking forward to it more than a 6-year-old wanting a snow cone. Looking back, I probably should have rescheduled the class anyway because I didn’t sleep for three days because I’m a belly-sleeper and that doesn’t work so great with an injured face. But, I tend to just press on (like I continued sparring 30 more minutes even with a broken nose).

Sigh.

I need a cone *hangs head*

I need a cone *hangs head*

Which brings me to a new parable. The Parable of the Teacher Who Couldn’t Read a Calendar and All the Students Were Super Sad. I sent out a mortifying embarrassing professional note of apology to the abandoned attendees *weeps*.

Those signed up will get extra cool add-ons provided they forgive me. But good news is the class is RESCHEDULED for this Saturday and Jay has sent the NSA “Ice Cream Truck” to make sure I’m present.

I know it’s a holiday weekend for Americans, but 1) a lot of attendees are NOT in America and 2) we have a recording if you can’t attend in person. And, if you can? I can think of NO BETTER people to hang out with than you guys on a holiday.

What Does This ALL Mean?

Man, I was hoping you guys could tell me. KIDDING! No, just that the life of a modern writer is uncharted territory. A lot of you are moms, dads, single parents, grandparents, etc. You have day jobs and kids and maybe your laundry also owns cloning technology.

Maybe you’ve been through illness, deaths or are caring for a loved one who is sick. I’m helping care for my grandmother who just had two strokes and has dementia that’s going downhill faster than my heart can bear.

We might be writing late at night or early in the morning. We just about go to pat ourselves on the back that we’ve got everything under control, when something we forgot PATS us on the HEAD…with a hammer.

Some Tips:

Write It DOWN—When I fail to write lists and get this notion that “I can totally keep this in my head”? That’s when I get in trouble. For instance, I might have SEEN the error in dates if it was WRITTEN on an actual calendar.

I can be in the middle of working and be assaulted with a NERF sword. This breaks concentration—Ya think?—and then it goes downhill from there. A written list is invaluable and Jay is going to teach me Excel which, frankly, is like Sanskrit to me

But I WILL say, Modern Society kinda ticks me off sometimes. They hand us an app or a tool to “get more done” and instead of it freeing time? I just get loaded with more stuff to do. When we get to where we’re sorting e-mail in the bathroom? Time to back away from the smart phone.

Okay, I know none of you have ever done that. Just me. I own it.

Delegate/Ask for HELP—I’m struggling with this one big time, but baby steps. I’m a workhorse and I kid you not, it usually isn’t until I’m exhausted and in tears that I realize I could have possibly maybe asked for help.

THIS is how the keys end up in the fridge and the mayo in my purse.

Laugh—Is it embarrassing to make mistakes? OH YEAH. But mistakes help us learn and keep us humble. Just about the time I think I am all super-smart? *winces*

And this isn’t an excuse for me to just goof off and not strive for excellence. But, if I keep focusing on where I blew it? Definition of unproductive.

Give Grace—Every magazine ad or commercial tells us where we suck. It shows us we are old, have too many wrinkles, big thighs, a messy house and our kids aren’t properly prepared for college (even though the kid is only THREE).

The thing I’ve learned is that perfect people are 1) boring and 2) lying. Imperfect people are real. REAL=AWESOME. We have good days and bad days and OMG WHY AM I ALLOWED TO LIVE/BREED days. But it’s just a day. It passes and one day it will be a great story ;) .

…like The Parable of the Teacher Who Couldn’t Read a Calendar and All the Students Were Super Sad.

And if I don’t blog again this week? Happy Fourth of July!

The laaaand of the FREEEEE! And the home of the…

Next.

What are your thoughts? Do you have days where you couldn’t find your own butt with a team of sherpas and a GPS? Do you struggle to balance life, home and writing? Are you sometimes too hard on yourself? Do you have a hard time discerning giving yourself grace versus making excuses? Does modern society vex you too? Oh, there’s an APP for that. How about a NAP APP?

Are you a Sheldon too and when life changes, you have a hard time adjusting? Have you caught yourself answering/deleting e-mails in the bathroom on your phone because it’s the only place the kids/pets can’t chew through the door? Okay, probably just me.

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. 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 novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

THIS SATURDAY is my  Antagonist Class  PINKIE-SWEAR!JULY 5th). Use WANA15 for $15 off. This class will help you guys become wicked fast plotters (of GOOD stories). The GOLD level is personal time with me either helping you plot a new book or possibly repairing one that isn’t working. Never met a book I couldn’t help fix. This will save a TON of time in revision and editors are NOT cheap.

For more help with your social media/author platform/author brand, please check out Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.

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How Obsessive Are You? The Reward of the Relentless Pursuit

Oh, look! Kristen must have shopped here.Image via Flikr Creative commons, courtesy of Ryan Leighty.

Oh, look! Kristen must have shopped here.
Image via Flikr Creative commons, courtesy of Ryan Leighty.

Being a successful writer is a lot like being a successful anything. One must, of course, at least possess some talent. But, talent alone isn’t enough. Talent is like a vein of gold buried deep in a mountain of granite. Unless someone works really hard, the gold is worthless. Someone needs to put in the sweat equity to mine that gold, refine it, and transform it into something the world finds valuable.

Character is important, because character is what makes us get up earlier or stay up later than the next guy. Character is what will help us focus, what allows us to be teachable, and what presses us to finish what we start.

But, yesterday, I did a bit more thinking about what component truly stands out when it comes to being a successful author. The word that came to me is obsession.

It came to me after my third run through a Gears of War 4 (video game) level, where I kept earning two and a half stars. A HALF star? What IS THAT? WHO AWARDS HALF A FREAKING STAR?

Anyway…

I don’t know about you guys, but my absolute FAVORITE show in the universe is The Big Bang Theory, and Sheldon (an OCD/likely autistic physicist) is my favorite character. I find myself laughing and yelling, That is SO me!  

From rearranging the couch cushions to the “right” order, to always walking the same route when I go to the park, I have this weird tendency to need and follow patterns in life.

Me watching Hubby load the dishwasher.

Me watching Hubby load the dishwasher.

I begin my days exactly the same way every morning, and, if events push me out of this routine, I get a tad twitchy. It’s also why I hate going grocery shopping with my husband. He shops in the wrong order. 

NO! You can’t start shopping on THAT side of the store! Are you mad? Who starts shopping in the bakery?

Communist.

You can't start in the bakery. Who starts shopping in the BAKERY?

You can’t start in the bakery. Who starts shopping in the BAKERY?

This past weekend was, of course, Easter, but was also our wedding anniversary. To celebrate? Non-stop Gears of War 4 marathon.

I have to be careful with video games. I can’t stop until the game is “finished,” and even then, I only finished on Normal Level. Now we need to beat the game (finish) on Hardcore and Insane. Oh, and there are still clues out there we haven’t found. And, have I mentioned that, on most levels, we only earned one or two stars? They don’t match. They all need to be THREE stars.

Okay, at least all be two stars. Make them match.

At the gym, the Stair Monster is trying to kill me. If I set it to do a 25 minute workout, I will make it 51 floors. FIFTY-ONE? No, needs to be at least 55…but then it’s a 27 minute workout. Crap. Okay, we’ll go to 30 minutes make it even-Stephen. 64 floors? ACK, Okay, just to 65 floors…31 minutes? So 60 minutes later and 121 FLOORS….

STOP ME BEFORE I KILL MYSELF!

While my obsessive nature isn’t anything that requires therapy or medication (yet) I do think it’s a quality that helps me do what I do.

When we create characters in a novel, we must remember that their best quality always has a dark side. The loyal, tender-hearted protagonist, can also be a naive fool easily taken advantage of. The hard-driven Type A is a great leader and achiever, but often tramples over the feelings of others.

All of us have a dark side. Our greatest strengths are often our greatest weaknesses.

My dark side is I can (if unchecked) be controlling, OCD, and obsessive. I frequently find myself worn out from doing all the housework, because, well…YOU CAN’T FOLD TOWELS THAT WAY! WHO FOLDS TOWELS THAT WAY? WERE YOU RAISED BY WOLVES?

I’ve had to learn to trust others, delegate, let go of having things my way, and just focus on my responsibilities. Appreciate that others can do things differently and that’s okay.

*left eye twitches*

Really, it is. I’ll be fine.

Being obsessive is a good thing, but the dark side of being obsessive manifests as manipulating, bullying and controlling others. I would love to say I have never been guilty of any of that *whistles innocently* but, what can I say? I’m a recovering “first/older sibling.” I’m working on it.

Yet, when I think about what’s really helped me persevere as a writer, I know I have my obsessive nature to thank. Ten years ago, when I was skewered in my first critique, I worked tirelessly until my work was so good, no one had anything but praise. If I didn’t understand something, I didn’t read a book on the topic, I read all books on the topic.

We won’t even mention my scrapbooking phase.

Obsession is part of why I blog. I heard about the 10,000 hour rule (the magic mark that separates the master from the apprentice) and I’m all about efficiency. Become a better, cleaner, faster writer and hit 10,000 hours sooner.

I think all of us require the fire of obsession to do well in this business (any business). We just need to remember three key things:

1. The world does not reward perfection; it rewards finishers.

2. Learn to delegate. Let your family be part of your success. Let your husband fold the clothes, you can refold them later keep writing.

3.  The numbers on the Stair Master WILL NEVER BE EVEN AT THE SAME TIME. I’ve tried. Ellipticals and treadmills have also been infiltrated. I think Al Qaeda is behind the calorie counter.

For those who want a laugh, there is a small dose of Sheldon in this clip. I apologize ahead of time that it is only 1:29 minutes. REALLY, PEOPLE?:

What you do think? Are Stair Masters evil? Are you a bit obsessive? What are your obsessions? Could you see a little (or a lot) of yourself in Sheldon? Do you have to be careful with your obsessive nature? Do you drive your family nuts with your obsessive tendencies? What do you do to keep the obsession channeled to your writing?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of April, 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 April I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

Note: Due to Easter holiday/anniversary…okay video game marathon, I will be choosing March’s winner later in the week, so stay tuned.

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78 Comments

Strange Addictions & Habits–Do They All Have to Have Meaning?

 

Sigmund Freud 

This past week I was sick with a cold, and, once I got to feeling better, I stripped all the bedding and went to Febreze the room and…I could not find my cans of Febreze. This might not seem all that eventful, except I have a habit; a weird, strange whacky habit that I have been trying to break. We’re gonna play armchair psychiatrist today. It’ll be fun :D.

I am addicted to Febreze. Stop laughing.

I think I have all of these.

I use “addicted” in a very loose sense. I am not spending my son’s college fund on Febreze, but I do seem to buy a lot of it. More than seems normal. In fact, I find myself going straight for the aisle of house cleaning supplies, eager to see if they have any new fragrances available, even though I still have at least a half a dozen cans at home yet to be used.

I know this sounds insane, but over the years it seems like I always have one strange addiction that, when I get rid of it…a new one takes it’s place. And none of my addictions are anything that will land me in jail or rehab, but they still makes me scratch my head and wonder, “WTH?”

Years ago, I was addicted to office supplies. It seemed I could not make a trip to the store that I didn’t at least purchase pens, notecards, highlighters or rubber bands.  I still cannot go to a Staples without a list and a will of iron. I think this addiction stemmed from childhood. My mother was the one who always made me bring extra school supplies for the kids who came from underprivileged families so they wouldn’t be embarrassed. My mother would stock my bag with extra boxes of Crayons and notebook paper that I could slip to the kids who didn’t have any. I was the “Go To Gal” for glue, rubber cement, colored pipe cleaners and googly-eyes of all sizes. Scissors? I could totally hook you up.

I am from a military family, and we believe that, “Three is two. Two is one, and one is none.” Translation? Be prepared….for everything.

One day, I realized that the office supply thing was getting out of hand, thus forbade myself to buy any office supplies until I was really, truly, genuinely OUT. My calculations put that date at November 13, 2024.

…so I started buying “Thank You” notes. “Thank You” notes of all varieties and sizes and shapes, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I ever remembered to send them. When I forbade myself to buy anymore “Thank You” notes? Cleaning supplies took over. When we moved into our new house almost two years ago, I swear I must have had enough cleaning supplies to shine the entire neighborhood. It took me a year to use up all the cleaning supplies I had stockpiled. I guess if the Zombie Apocalypse struck I wanted to have plenty of Swiffer refills just in case. *slaps forehead*

So you guys can guess what took the place of the cleaning supplies. You got it.

Febreze.

At one time I had at least two cans of it in every room. Febreze in every scent. Febreze in the new holiday scents. Limited time only fragrance? I am so there. New Zealand Springs? They had me at “New Zealand.” Ooooh…had to have it. Oh, and at Wal-Mart I can get the two pack for $5.00. At Target, I have to pay $2.53 each.

Yes, I am only saving .06 but that adds up when you have a habit like mine :D.

Oh, but this brings me to a weird habit. My husband makes fun of me because I have a compulsive need to add numbers in my head and then take it down to its root (if that root is a whole number). For instance, if I see the date April 28, 2011, I instinctively add 4 + 2 + 8 + 2 +0 +1 + 1=18…. 1+8 =9 and taken to its root is 3. I do this with addresses, dates, you name it. I actually am freakishly accurate tallying the grocery bill in line (tax included).

I have no idea why I do this or where it came from. Just like I really do not understand why I feel the need to have Febreze in every room of the house. Well, I DID have Febreze in every room of the house until I started noticing my Febreze addiction was getting a wee out of hand. Now I am down to one can…which I had taped behind the toilet tank :D.

But this makes me think how unique all of us are. We all have these strange habits, addictions, compulsions and tics. Some of them make sense and some just never will. These odd behaviors are what make us unique, whether it is collecting smarta$$ t-shirts or a compulsive need to touch the doorframe before we unlock the front door. Some of these habits have a story behind them, and others? Well, they just seemed to spring to life all on their own.

What are some weird habits and addictions you guys have?

I collect bodies under my house.

Kidding! *laughs awkwardly*

Let’s keep it light. Do any of you guys have odd hobbies or collections?  Maybe you collect shot glasses or bobble-head dolls? Cabbage Patch paraphenalia? Do you have any odd rituals? Do you think all habits and rituals have a root source? Or are some habits just spontaneous, with no psychological root? Come on! Let’s play armchair psychiatrist!

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, 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 every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

Important Announcements

Will post this week’s/ month’s winner later today. Check back, please.

May 9-13, 2011, I will be teaching an on-line Building Your Author Brand with Social Media Class for only $15 to support the wonderful Long Island Romance Writers.

Tomorrow!!!!!  I will be teaching TWO social media classes at the Books ‘n Authors and All that Jazz Conference this Saturday at Weatherford College in Weatherford, TX. The conference is FREE.

My new book, “Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer” will be out in less than a month!

Until next time….

In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.

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