blogging · writing

Checking In

It’s been really challenging finding time to write recently, and that’s in part because my children keep waking up at five o’clock in the morning.

The funny thing is – it’s not like I’m losing sleep when they wake up at five. My alarm goes off at 4 A.M. every single weekday. But, at 5 A.M., I am usually just about to sit down to do some writing – and then, minutes later, a small child is cuddled in my lap.

On the one hand, I love this. I’m a working parent, and morning snuggles are precious. If the boys start sleeping until 6:30 or 7 A.M., then I might not even see them in the morning.

On the other hand – I wake up at 4 so that I can go for a run, get ready for work, and squeeze in an hour of writing before having coffee and breakfast with my family and leaving for work at 6:30 A.M. So, when the boys wake early, something gets abandoned and it’s pretty much always the writing due to the order of events.

It’s 5:11 A.M. as I type this, and I can hear Jonas stirring; I’ve already laid him back down to sleep twice since my alarm went off. So, I’m using this time to troubleshoot. How do I make sure I get time to write, which is important for my self-care, my mental health, and my overall state of mind?

The most obvious answer is to try to start writing at night. The boys go to bed by 7/7:30 P.M., and I usually turn off the lights at around 9. I could do that. It’s usually less interrupted time, and it would probably work.

However – I am such a morning person. My best creative energy comes early in the day. By 7:30 P.M., I am DONE. I feel productive if I’m able to use that last hour of the day to read in bed in my pajamas. To actually produce content, at the time of day? I don’t know if it would work.

I missed a post this week – there was no post on playful + peaceful yesterday. I always do a little check-in with myself when I miss a scheduled posting day. Not because I feel any obligation to a reading audience. I do feel that, a little, but it’s more about my obligation to myself and recognizing how this blog helps me to process my life and the world. If I miss a posting day, it’s usually a sign that things are feeling a little hectic and I’m not finding as much time to take care of myself.

Now, that said – I think that missing my Tuesday post is more about the holidays than anything else. I love the holiday season, and there has been a lot of shopping and wrapping and decorating going on in our home and our life. Not to mention all the unpacking, cleaning, and organizing that’s involved with settling into a new home. These are all GOOD things – good reasons to be slacking on the blog. Way better than when I miss a post because work is too crazy or I’m too tired to do anything creative.

But – is there a solution, to my lack of writing time? It’s 5:46 A.M. and Edgar just climbed into my lap, so here’s my hastily developed plan:

  1. SLEEP TRAIN THESE BOYS. Keep them in their rooms until at least 5:30, and then inch their wake-up times closer and closer to 6 A.M. (We got an OK To Wake clock for Edgar than I’m hoping will help!)
  2. Try out some evening writing. Set expectations low.
  3. Use your commute to do some brainstorming. (I obviously can’t write while I’m driving, but I’ve been using voice memo and speak to text to “jot down” some ideas, and it’s really helping me to keep my thoughts organized and ideas flowing.)
  4. DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT TOO MUCH. It’s the holidays, I have two kids under 4, we just moved, and it’s okay if my writing routine slips a little this month.
  5. BUT WORRY ABOUT IT A LITTLE. I don’t want to keep putting writing on the backburner. I haven’t done any fiction writing since August. I want to strike a balance; I want to prioritize writing while being reasonable with my expectations of myself. If anyone has advice on how to do that, please share!
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blogging

Coming Soon To Playful + Peaceful

After two weeks away from the blog, I returned yesterday and, unsurprisingly, I felt completely overwhelmed.

This post is my way of organizing my thoughts AND a sort of “Coming Soon On Playful + Peaceful” for followers. It’s almost September – the other New Year’s! – so get ready for lots of writing on routines, habits, resolutions, and goals.

And so – here are the blog posts I am preparing for the near future, in no particular order:

  • My Audiobook Project.
  • Mid-Year Check-In.
  • What. A. Bonkers. Year.
  • Recovery 101.
  • Monthly Goals (September 2019).
  • 5 Things I’m Grateful For (August 2019).
  • How To Slow Down & Be Intentional When Life Is Crazy Times Five.
  • The Evening Adulting Hour.
  • Bedtime Hygiene.
  • Habits For The New (School) Year. (UGH HOUSEKEEPING 101.)
  • Everyday Self-Care.
  • Streamlining My Endless TTD List.
  • How To Make The Most Of Weekday Evenings.
  • How To Maximize The Weekend.
  • How To Be Yourself All Day Every Day.
  • Your Own Personal Questions.
  • Life Alignment, Continued.
  • What’s Your Oxygen?
  • Seasonal Bucket List (Fall).

Well, I’m exhausted just looking at this list! But I’m also pumped. I write on the blog because it helps me to process things and to sort through my thoughts and feelings about life and the world. This time of year is a lovely time to sort, to consider, and to resolve. Onward!

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blogging

Categories Galore

A few years ago, I reviewed every single blog post on playful + peaceful and sorted the posts into categories. It took forever, but once I started sorting, it felt important to categorize every post.

This blog started because I needed a creative outlet. I’d been an adoptive-parent-in-waiting for about two years, and we’d been officially on the wait list for almost a year. The blog helped me a lot. It gave me a space to process the thoughts and feelings I had about the wait.

My writing on the blog evolved as time went by. The wait continued. I wrote about the wait, but I wrote about other things, too – the books I read, my writing, podcasts, self-care, and anything else that popped into my head and then spilled out onto the page.

Then Edgar came home, and the blog continued. It moved from being a way I processed the adoption wait to a way I processed everything. 

That’s why thinking about the categories on the blog is important to me. It helps me to organize my thoughts about what I want to write. I recently looked at the list of categories again, trying to decide which ones I wanted to keep in the mix.

When I reviewed the categories, I noticed things. One of the categories I haven’t used in a while is play; I love writing about play, but I haven’t written about it in forever!  The same with grief + loss and personality, which are two topics I want to explore but haven’t much yet.

These are the categories I’m keeping in the mix. The list starts with the categories I usually write about the most frequently; it ends with the topics I rarely write about lately, but want to keep in mind when I am brainstorming and planning my editorial calendar.

playful + peaceful – blogging categories

  • Balance. (This can be about work/life balance, or about balancing being a parent and being a human, or about balancing the ways I nourish my heart, soul, mind, and body, which was the original theme of the blog.)
  • Self-care. (I write about what I need to read! My self-care sucks. I need to read and write about it as much as possible!)
  • Writing. (These three – balance, self-care, and writing – are the categories I use more than any others.)
  • Books + reading.
  • Parenting.
  • Goals.
  • Mindfulness. (I am hoping to write about this more! I’m reading a great book on mindfulness and trying to start a daily mindfulness practice. I also have meditation  and presence as categories, but I think those will end up being subcategories to mindfulness.)
  • Adoption. (I love writing about our adoption journey. I’m hoping to write about it more and more, especially as the boys grow and we start learning more and more about the experiences of being an adoptive parent in the world.)
  • Blogging.
  • Flow/Life Alignment.
  • Mental health.
  • Farming.
  • Podcasts.
  • Poetry. (Just something I use from time to time when I find a beautiful poem to share!)
  • Recovery.
  • Wellness.
  • Simplifying.
  • Gratitude.
  • Community.
  • Friendship.
  • Family.
  • Creativity.
  • Personality.
  • Grief + loss.
  • Play.
  • Goals.
  • All The Things or Thought Of The Day. (Just two catch-all categories I use for my monthly summary posts or for posts that don’t really fit into any other category.

This feels like a lot, but I like it! I like looking at this list and thinking about topics I want to explore. The category for this post is blogging. Enjoy!

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blogging · books + reading · writing

Accidental Hiatus

After an impressive streak of biweekly blogging, I haven’t published any posts since July 1. (It’s July 6 now!) And even my July 1 post was a day late.

This was a completely accidental hiatus. A lot of different factors combined to get in the way of my writing routine these past two weeks:

-Waiting impatiently and anxiously to hear about a potential new job.

-Finding out that I GOT THE NEW JOB! And subsequently dealing with related tasks like resigning, fingerprinting, and planning my summer sabbatical.

-Participating in fun life events: weddings, birthdays, parties, visitors. All good things! But they disrupt my writing routine, for sure.

-Reading a great book called The Heart’s Invisible Furies. LOVING it so far!

-THE WORLD CUP! I didn’t follow the group stage as closely as I usually do, probably because my home team did not quality. (Sad face USMNT.) I miss soccer like crazy, and watching the World Cup is getting me excited to start following MLS and the USMNT and USWNT again.

This accidental hiatus brings up an important question that I am hoping to answer during my summer sabbatical: How do I maintain my writing routine despite any demands or distractions life tosses my way?

Sigh. That’s the big question, especially for a Rebel like me. How do I form and maintain habits? Even if I really want to form a habit, it’s hard for me to make it work consistently.

The best idea I have (I think) is my weekly planning date. I really want to sit down once a week and think about when I can write, and which writing I can work on at each time. Same for the other habits I want to maintain – running, meditation, yoga, meetings.

There will always be THINGS – things that stress me out, things that get in the way of my writing. I’m proud of myself for not throwing in the towel when I got a few days behind. My schedule might be a little off – but I’m here, and I’m writing, and that’s all I can do.

blogging · writing

Prioritizing

I’ve been feeling really optimistic and strong about my writing goals.

I actually wrote them down today, and that felt simultaneously scary and awesome. My two big goals for 2018 are to post consistently on the blog, and to finish a draft of my novel.

I’m feeling optimistic – but the actual writing is not getting done to the extent I’d like at the moment, and that scares me.

The thing is that I have limited time in my week for everything I want and need to do, and I’m having trouble balancing the needs for family, friends, recovery work, writing, reading, farming, and mindfulness. And, you know – anything else that needs or wants to get done.

The blog posts have their own implicit deadline, so that’s easier. As long as I stay committed to posting twice weekly, that’ll get done.

But how do I make sure I’m getting novel time?  Especially when (like now) my fingers aren’t exactly itching to write it?

I don’t have any good answers right now. All I have is my optimism, and I’m just going to hang on to that and hope for the best.

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blogging

Playful + Peaceful

Today, this little home-away-from-home of mine got a fresh new name: http://www.playfulpeaceful.com.

I just love it.

But I loved the old name, too, and I wanted to explain a little about why I made this change.

The previous name for the blog was heartsoulmindbody.wordpress.com – heartsoulmindbody, for short. It was a little bit of a mouthful, but the name stemmed from my original theme for the blog. I wanted to start a blog because I wanted to get comfortable with publicizing my writing, and because I wanted a creative outlet for all my adoption stress. Right around the time I decided to start it, I read a short children’s story with one of my group therapy classes. The story came from The Seven Habits Of Happy Kids by Sean Covey, and it was all about balance – about nourishing the four quadrants of yourself, heart, soul, mind, and body. I love talking about and writing about balance. I started writing blog posts and adding hashtags to the title indicating which quadrant I was writing about that day.

I really loved it – but I never felt like heartsoulmindbody rolled off the tongue very smoothly. And then, I decided that I wanted to purchase the domain name for my blog. It might seem silly, but I decided that it was important to me, and that it was a step that would help me to take the blog and my writing more seriously.  And heartsoulmindbody.com was not available – so that got me thinking about finding a new name for the blogcropped-14680701_10154635252274837_3446540224843695047_n.jpg, and revamping the way I blog. I’d still write about balance, but I’d move away from the hashtag bit, and I wanted to come up with a name that was a little broader. Because really – I write about EVERYTHING on this blog.

I tossed around a lot of different words and ideas before I came to playful + peaceful, and I mostly chose this title because I LOVE LOOKING AT THOSE WORDS. When I think about what I want from life, how I want to feel, this is it: playful and peaceful.

I’ve recently abandoned using the hashtags, too. I sort of liked them, but I think my blog posts look more professional and polished without them.

I’ve been strategizing about other ways to improve the blog. I want to take more original photos to use with my posts. (The photo I used with this post is a shot of the NCR Trail, which cuts right through our property.) I want the blog to be a blend of all the things I love – my family, my writing, books + reading, the farm, parenting, and so much more.

This blog kept me sane during the intense years of the adoption wait. The blog has been a way for me to slow down and take perspective of my circumstances, which is something I’m not great at in my day-to-day life. I have big writing goals, but even if I didn’t, I’d want to continue to cultivate this space. It’s an outlet for me to express myself. And it’s a playful and peaceful place to be.

 

 

 

blogging · family · parenting

May: Thoughts On Parenting

Yes! This May is the Month of Mommying on the blog.

I’ve started using an editorial calendar for the blog a few weeks ago, and I’m finding it a really helpful tool. Whenever I think of an idea for a post, I think about when it would be best to write and share on that topic, and I tentatively schedule a date for that post. What I’ve discovered is that thinking this way helps me to generate more ideas, and often a theme develops.

That’s what happened with May. I had a few ideas for posts that were related to parenting, and I figured that the month of Mothers’ Day would be a good time for that kind of content. Then, the more I thought about topics related to parenting, the more ideas came to me.

MAGIC.

I hope you enjoy this month of thoughts on parenting (with other subjects blended in there as well).  Happy May!

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