Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bird by Bird

Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.' - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Balance. Sigh... I need it.

You see -- I have a dozen plates spinning and I run hither and thither to keep them in the air. Writing. Homeschooling. Housekeeping. Gardening. Dog training. Website building. Trailer creating. Review's site maintaining.

There are days it's more than I can face, and I just shut down.

My DD has a report to write in school (don't worry, this actually has something to do with the above, lol). She has to write about a famous immigrant, and our library system was sadly lacking in books about ANY famous immigrants (her other report, on the Continental Divide? We couldn't find even ONE book in the entire juvenile system of the statewide library.. OY). They had lots of stories on immigration in general, but few that focused on one person. We finally found one on Maria VonTrapp. She's been working on it for days, and finally came downstairs in tears yesterday. Overwhelmed.

"Mom, there is so much information I don't know where to start or what to do."

So, in the famous words of Anne Lamott, I told her to take it "bird by bird" or one thing at a time. Break it down into 3 or 4 main ideas and write those down to keep focus. THEN expand on those thoughts.

The relief on her face was incredible and she ran back up to her desk with a smile.

Sometimes I forget my own advice.

Bird by bird. (BTW, if you haven't read the book, "Bird by Bird" you should. And, hey, even MY library system has a copy, so I bet yours does, too).

Today, I'm going to start my day with a to-do list. Break things down. It's a little less overwhelming to see what I need to do in writing. Figure out what is desperately important, what can wait, and what things are in between. Give myself a certain amount of time to accomplish something.

This should keep me from staring off into space, so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start.

What do you do when life seems so busy that you'll never get it done?


You Are Blue

You are a philosophical and often inspired person. You are the master of ideas.

You are open to many points of view. You believe that it's important to communicate and not judge.

You have a worldly perspective, and you're always looking to broaden it.

You are a true people person, but you also value your solitude and personal space.

Um... okay, mostly....



Ceri Hebert said...

Excellent advice! I should take it sometimes. I shut down too on occasion.

Elle Scott said...

Bird by Bird is definitely a wonderful book. I'm so glad that you mentioned it because it's one of my favorites.

Dru said...

When I have too much on my plate, I make a list and tick off item by item until my plate is empty and then I try not to let that plate get full again.

re quiz: I'm blueI never heard of Bird by Bird and will check it out.

Have a good Thursday.

anno said...

Bird by Bird is one of my favorites; if I were the type to get tattoos, that title would be one of the first.

Me, the first thing I do when I feel overwhelmed is clean something -- maybe the bathroom, maybe the dishes, maybe just putting away some of the books I've accumulated on my desk. Always makes me feel like I'm more in control of life, maybe even ready to tackle some of the harder challenges.

I'm blue, too.

groovyoldlady said...

Ok..I'm checking out Bird by Bird, just as soon as I return the overdue library books and pay the fee. That should be somewhere between milking goats for a friend and schooling and gardening and biking and fundraising and GrammaJ and 4H and quilting and grandkids and...

I think you and I are in the same space right now!

MomJane said...

Sometimes I have nothing to do and moan about it. Other times I can hardly fit it all in one day. Then I moan again. Once in a while, it all balances out. Then it is a great day.

I am blue too.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I live by to-do lists - that's it!

Brandy said...

When I have a lot to do and feel overwhelmed I make a list and dive right in. As I tackle those items I cross them off and find my mood brightening bit by bit.
I've never heard of Bird by Bird. I'll have to check it out.

I, too, am Blue. I am not a people person. When you hide from people you can't be called that. *G*

I hope you have a fabulous day.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Love that!
Yeah, when I get overwhelmed, I usually have to step back and prioritize my "to do" list.

Nakabunot Kay said...

I've been preoccupied most of the times and my options are to run away or to face everything. So far, I've been facing my duties and responsibilities as a coursework writer. Yes it's hard since there are a lot to write and it takes a lot of time and effort especially writing research papers, but it's all about having the right personality. I guess, it's all about knowing your priorities and setting your goal.