Shifting Gears

Many, many years ago, when my husband and I were dating, I wrecked my car. Fortunately, Jeff had two cars:  one for “normal” driving and an old beater he drove to work. (His job involved carrying around a lot of tools and putting a lot of mileage on his car.) This worked out great for me–he let me borrow the beater while we searched for a new car for me. It meant I’d need to learn to drive a stick-shift, though. After his dad spent a good afternoon in their vast back yard teaching me, I got the hang of it and Jeff sincerely complimented my gear-shifting skills.

That’s cars, though. When it comes to life, I’m not so proficient at gear-shifting.

I have a tendency to start something, and then plow through to the end, unable to stop and refocus on something else. I don’t like the “do it bit by bit” method. Yard work, for example. I don’t do a little bit each week or each day. I’d rather let the yard go to heck and then block off a whole week and do nothing but yard work, ignoring it the rest of the time. I save photo-printing for a day when I can do nothing but that all day long.

And when I write….

In some ways, this can be good, because when I set my mind on something I get it done. BUT, other things suffer. Cooking, for example. I become so engrossed in what I’m doing I forget I need to stop at 4:00 and start dinner. Not that it much matters, since I forgot all week to stop what I was doing and go grocery shopping for stuff to cook.

One thing that really gets messed up is my attitude about social events. I have a husband who loves to go-go-go on the weekends. He especially loves vacations of all sorts. Week-long road trips, three-day weekend camping trips, day trips to theme parks. I love those things, too, but when I’m in writing mode or cleaning mode or yard work mode I tend to short-circuit when he asks about planning trips. I know my mind will be on the writing or editing or whatever I’ve left behind, and I can’t focus on the fun we’re having.

I wish I were more relaxed about it. I know I’m supposed to stop and breath now and then. Stop and smell the roses and all that. But my brain just won’t let go until a project is finished.

It’s summer now, and Jeff keeps hounding me about “a summer vacation.” My response? “But, dear, my book is coming out in less than two months! I have editing! I have blah-blah-blah! Can’t we just wait till it’s all done?”

Sure, Kat. And at that point, summer is over. And of course, I’ll be starting a serious marketing campaign in Sept. How will I shift gears from that to take a vacation? And how will I shift back and forth between marketing and writing the next novel? And still remember to shop and cook…


Cars are so much easier.

PS–the winner of the print copy of ODD LITTLE MIRACLES by Fred Warren is….James Maxon! Congrats, James.  Message me on Facebook so I can get your mailing address.

About Kat Heckenbach

Kat grew up in the small town of Riverview, Florida, where she spent most of her time either drawing or sitting in her "reading tree" with her nose buried in a fantasy novel...except for the hours pretending her back yard was an enchanted forest that could only be reached through the secret passage in her closet... She never could give up on the idea that maybe she really was magic, mistakenly placed in a world not her own...but as the years passed, and no elves or fairies carted her away...she realized she was just going to have to create the life of her fantasies. She shares that life with her husband and two homeschooling kids. Kat is a graduate of the University of Tampa, Magna Cum Laude, B.S. in Biology. She spent several years teaching, but never in a traditional classroom--everything from Art to Algebra II. Her writing spans the gamut from inspirational personal essays to dark and disturbing fantasy and horror, with over forty short fiction and nonfiction credits to her name.

9 comments on “Shifting Gears

  1. Ain’t it the truth.

  2. Single minded focus can be an incredible blessing as well, though. It’s stressful to have a half-dozen partially finished projects all lingering around pulling at you to give them the most attention.

    But I can also sympathize with your woes about shifting gears. I believe the trick is finding ways to have your time in blocks. I know I’m not doing well with the “write today, run around tomorrow, have a few hours to write the next day, catch up on all the stuff that isn’t getting done while writing the next” schedule my summer has created. The lack of momentum makes the old creativity car run like a beater with a bad transmission.

    And by the way, I’m thrilled for your release coming up. I pray all the pieces fall into place with minimal stress.

  3. Glad to know I’m not the only one like this, Susan and Becky! And prayer for pieces falling together is MUCH appreciated :).

  4. Aren’t you the one who schooled me about that inertia law? Objects in motion staying in motion… something like that.
    Of course, I tend to stay at rest so I don’t know much about motion.

  5. My Dearest Kat,

    When I get terribly overwhelmed, I write myself a list and do one thing at a time. Now I don’t mean big things like, clean the whole house. I mean little do able things. Like clean the kitchen sink, read for 15 minutes,pay one bill, kiss the cat, scratch my husband. You get the idea don’t you?

    • Oh Billie, I am SO the list-maker! I have the big things on a calendar, then I make a small list from that for every day. I must do it, or I go insane trying to keep my day organized.

      “…kiss the cat, scratch my husband….”–LOL!!! 😀

  6. My dearest Kat,

    I so understand! There have been times that I had to get up in the middle of the night just to do something because I couldn’t sleep knowing that it wasn’t done.( My husband is in the background nodding,He say’s I can’t leave one dish in the sink overnight.)LOL

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