Life Slump?

At Smack-Dab, we're talking about slumps this month. There are all kinds of slumps you can have. Reading slump? Nah, I'm doing alright there. I read all the time and listen to audiobooks when I drive or walk. (Although I am 13 books behind on my Goodreads goal! Gasp!) But gosh, the rest of my life feels like one big slump.

I shouldn't feel that way. It's summer, when I don't have to work and have lots of free time. It's been warm and windy. My garden is all planted. I've built a temporary fence around it to protect it from the neighbors' two rowdy puppies and mine as well. I've staked up the raspberries, even built chicken tunnels so my chickens can free-range a bit and be safe from the afore-mentioned puppies. Since my brother and his wife are visiting from New Zealand, my house is pretty clean inside. But all I seem to be able to focus on are the things I'm not getting done, the areas where I'm failing. The 16-year old who needs to go to summer school but is refusing to. The 13-year old who needs some guidance in developing self-control and self-reliance. The 30 extra pounds I'm packing around that's leading me to have foot problems. The long list of projects awaiting me. In fact, before my summer vacation even started I found myself pre-emptively stressing out over all the things I know I'm not going to get done.

And writing? Well, I'm writing this. And I'm thinking a lot about writing. But I'm doing very little actual writing. I have this mindset that I can only write first thing in the morning, and in the summer, that doesn't work for me, because it's also the time when I walk the dogs. When it comes to writing, I need to be more flexible and willing to write at other times of the day.

But what's to be done about slumps in general? How do you get out of the slump and back in the groove? It's a very simple, if not foolproof solution, but I find lists to be a great way to organize my thoughts and prioritize projects. Here are some big lists I have posted on the laundry room wall for the whole family to see. I also keep smaller lists on my phone where I keep track of short-term to-do items. As a visual person, these help me to see the big picture, and I get great satisfaction out of checking the box or crossing the item off the list.

But I think the most important thing I, and you, can do, is to accept that you won't get everything done. It's simply impossible. Also, please, leave some time for yourself, and time for fun. Step away from say,  reorganizing the attic, and go have a cocktail with a friend. Choose to go for a hike or to the public garden rather than cleaning the house. If it's sunny out, take the kids to the lake instead of grocery shopping.

Remember, slumps are temporary. Those books we want to read, those stories we want to write, even those attics we want to organize, well, they're not going anywhere. They will be waiting for us when we find ourselves in a better place mentally. I always try to be kind and gentle to others, and I'm sure you, dear reader, are no different. Let us not forget to be kind and gentle with ourselves too. Enjoy the summer!


  1. I needed to read this today. Between cooking, working the garden, taking care of the epileptic pup, I just CANNOT start writing until noon. I need to stop feeling guilty about it.


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