War and Peace, running for office, SAHMs, books by friends, productivity, etc.

This post will feature a lot of randomness. First, my publisher sent over suggestions for cover designs for Off the Clock yesterday. The cover of a book becomes mixed in with notions of the book itself, so this is always an important stage in making the book feel real. And it matters — there’s the saying that we shouldn’t judge a book on its cover, but we do! More updates on that later.

Off the Clock is a short book. In the “long book” category…I decided to take the plunge and start reading through War and Peace. According to my Kindle app, I am 22 percent of the way in. I am aiming to read through 4 percent per day, but it seems to be going a little faster than that (22 percent is my 3 day total). I don’t think it’s much longer than Kristin Lavransdatter, which I estimated at 23 hours. I’m reading some in bigger chunks, but a lot of this is just using bits of time here and there. I read for 30 minutes during gymnastics yesterday. I read at karate the day before. I could read a page or two while waiting for the kids’ bus to get here, or even before a phone call starts (there’s always that dead space when you know the call is supposed to start at 2:00, so you don’t start anything after 1:56, and then the person doesn’t call until 2:03…). This time does add up, and since the Kindle has an approximation of how long it takes to read the book (it estimated 25 hours at the start), it’s just about throwing time at this bigger demand. When I tracked my time from April 2015-April 2016, I learned that I read 327 hours, which means that I was already reading about 25 hours a month. This year I am simply deciding to put these 25 hours against actual literature, rather than my magazine habit.

Though there are good things in magazines! I really want to give a shout out to Cosmopolitan for the package it released yesterday on How to Run for Office. Cosmo is still Cosmo, and so when I clicked away from the website I got an invitation to sign up for a newsletter and get an article on “the 31 sexiest moves” BUT this is a really nice, bipartisan write-up of how to get involved in local politics, with essays and tips from a lot of inspiring (and mostly young) women. And it’s very practical too. Like “pick three issues.” Not 20. A 30-year-old mayor in Connecticut notes that she was most passionate about homelessness, but the voters in her community had other top concerns, so she dealt with those, and then could become a champion for housing while in office.

Another interesting read: I was interviewed for a thought-provoking story that ran in Refinery29 about “How millennials do stay-at-home motherhood.” Young moms talk about their choices and their lives, and how things are like and unlike what they imagined.

I was certainly curious about the thinking of young women who want to support their husbands’ careers behind the scenes, with the idea that he will earn the money, and she will run the home, and how that might play out. If things don’t work out long term, this often does not play out well for the woman. Longtime friend-of-this-blog Emma Johnson’s new book, The Kickass Single Mom, comes out next week. Her story is one of those “you never know” tales — eight years ago she was mostly home with her daughter, running the home front while her husband’s career took him all over the world. Then everything fell apart, and as a newly single mom, she had to figure out how to support herself and her kids fast. She did — but she has a lot to say about maintaining your own earning potential no matter what.

Finally, another book by a friend of the blog! Many people enjoyed Camille Preston’s guest post this summer on the perfect parent hoax. She has a new book out this week called Create More Flow, which you can learn more about here. (Note: this is an updated link from an earlier version of this post).

Speaking of flow, I have not been feeling terribly productive of late. I think it’s the gap between rounds of book edits, and not really working on anything big at the moment. I will get busier soon, I know, so I should just enjoy it, but I spent the entire morning dealing with bills, chasing down payments, and other small business nonsense. The most ridiculous: filling out forms for one company where I gave a speech last year stating that I did not do business with them in the state of California. Which I most definitely did not! But still, minutes passing like sand in an hourglass…

Maybe I should start work on an epic novel. Like War and Peace length epic. Hmm…. (first, I need an idea).

Photo: Asters/Michaelmas Daisies. The last flowers to bloom of the season. It must be fall!


4 thoughts on “War and Peace, running for office, SAHMs, books by friends, productivity, etc.

  1. I thought about Camille Preston’s perfect parent post just an hour ago, as I pulled out my laptop to work during my kid’s soccer game. I felt a twinge of “shoulds” (not quite as strong as guilt, more like “I should probably be watching the game) but then realized that I was at least AT the game (and brought the snacks I’d signed up for), and paying close attention or not wouldn’t make a difference — but missing tomorrow’s client deadline sure would 🙂

    1. Oh, also, I’m interested to read that Refinery29 piece! I read Emily Matchar’s book Homeward Bound several years ago and really liked it, so I’m curious to see if there’s an overlap in findings. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Thanks Meghan – Kudos on all that you are juggling AND for making an intentional choice. I bet today will be better – for you, the client and your family that it is done and you got more sleep!

  2. Thanks Laura! As Moms on the journey, doing the juggle and trying to enjoy some balance – I look forward to hearing what resonates… and your Flow hacks! Camille

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