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A novel experience


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Now that Katie is back in school I’m now emotionally able to pursue a dream that has eluded me for years: writing a novel.

I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo with the goal of knocking out that dreaded first draft. Several exhausting days later I achieved my goal.

This story has been rattling around in my head for a while so it’s a relief to finally be addressing it; I love the fact that my life is arranged so that I have the freedom to devote my days to a project that I’m so passionate about.

Thanks to minimalism my house can be cleaned in a few short minutes; dishes are washed up whenever a few hit the sink. Dinner is a one-pot affair while we scrounge independently for breakfast and snacks.

Thanks to Middle Daughter’s birthday gift of a makeover I’m now sporting a minimalist super-short pixie cut; I had it deliberately designed to look nice even if I forget to brush it after a long night at the keyboard. This enables me to focus on my writing (instead of my looks) for now.

My wardrobe consists of Katie’s handmedown polo shirts and jeans. Sleepwear is a scrub top paired with some yoga pants I caught on clearance after my pajama bottoms died over the winter. I can get dressed with my eyes closed and still look nice ;).

I mostly stay off of Facebook and Twitter now. I rarely even check my email through the day. When Katie arrives home the MagicJack is turned off to eliminate unwanted phone calls.

When the weather is warm enough I move a fold-up table to the porch outside, place my iPad in position and spend my day writing.

In the evenings I force myself to take a break. I fix dinner, chat with Katie and read a book as I curl up on my bed. Katie reads nearby on the loveseat as we listen to some classical music and finish up the evening.

When she goes to bed I write some more before I retire and the next day repeats the routine as we awaken for Katie’s school at 6:30am.

This routine, minimal as it is, frees me to follow my passion of writing. I don’t bother with nonessential socializing, needless shopping or unnecessary trips. Bills are paid once a month and I stock up then on shelf-stable items like almond milk and keep the chest freezer filled to avoid going out for supplies as long as possible.

This lifestyle allows me to focus and thus achieve my dreams. I used it when I first began working from home, again when I had the custody battle to get Katie home and each time I get serious about finishing a book project.

When you evaluate and eliminate the nonessential in your life you become free to archive goals that most will only dream about. This is how I became a stay-at-home single mom, a best-selling nonfiction author and (soon to come) a novelist.

Whatever it is you wish to accomplish, examine your life and edit out anything that is not essential to the achievement of your goal. After you reach the mountaintop you can always return to the valley of the habits (and stuff) you left behind – if you want to.

To learn more about using minimalism to achieve your dreams read the book Minimize to Maximize.

P.S. Here’s a pic of the birthday makeover my daughter gave me:

Makeover 2013

Makeover 2013



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12 Comments

  1. Tammara L. Mills wrote:

    I love the short cut!! It’s so you!!

    Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
  2. Linda Sand wrote:

    I found a short cut actually required more care because I kept having to go get it trimmed. Now that my hair is long enough to put in a ponytail it requires very little care indeed.

    Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink
  3. Love this! I have cut my time from the computer drastically, as I am trying to simplify my life as much as possible to where I can pursue my dreams. Once I completely remove all items that are not necessary from my apt, I plan to make blogging and writing my career. Saving money and writing are my two absolutely favorite hobbies, so I plan to make them an integral part of my life. It will work perfectly once my husband has his transplant (very close by) and starts his recovery. Thank you for writing this, Annie. I always love reading your works on minimizing and simplifying to be able to do the things in life you most love. You are my hero, girl!!

    Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  4. Annie wrote:

    Linda, I got this short enough that it should last a good portion of the summer before I have to bother with a trim. The bleach job will require more maintenance though: I’ll have to dampen my hair with peroxide every week or so to keep the roots from showing.

    This style is similar to one I kept for years when I was younger. I tend to go from really long to really short as I get tired of it. You are right about the trims though; I sacrifice freedom from trims every few months in order to avoid ponytails and buns this summer. Life is like that – you give up one thing to have another :)

    Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
  5. Annie wrote:

    Rhonda, I look forward to watching you pursue your dreams! Good luck with your husband’s upcoming transplant and please keep me posted!

    Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink
  6. Belinda wrote:

    Oh – BEST of luck with the one month novel! Given your grit, determination, and ability to plan, I am sure you will complete it.

    Your description of how you arranged your life to accommodate your writing is inspiring.

    Your new haircut looks great.
    Best of luck with the challenge.
    Belinda

    Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink
  7. Lois wrote:

    I love your hair cut, I wore mine super short similar to yours for 3 years but am letting it grow out as it takes more work to keep it looking decent, it just grows too fast.

    Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  8. Michele wrote:

    I love the haircut but a little smile would be nice too and its free! Thanks for the great ideas to make writing easier and to stay focused! I will get your book when it comes out!

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
  9. Bj wrote:

    Hi Annie, nice haircut and oolor. What a great daughter to give you a makeover! I’ve been letting my bangs grou out since since I moved in October as I grew tired of haaving to trim them up all the time. Also because we have quite a few windy days hwere in the rural area I live in and will be so much easier to just be able to keep it all back in a pony tali when outside with the animals. Best of luck with the book. I am working on doing a rewwrite of a novel and had considered doing the NaNoWriMo in November but didn’t since I’d too busy fron having just moved.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink
  10. Bj wrote:

    ps, sorry for the typos. but typing on ipad touch screen make my fingers feel like hams sometimes!

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink
  11. Annie wrote:

    Don’t worry about the typos, BJ! I do my work on an iPad these days so I know *exactly* what you’re talking about!

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  12. Annie wrote:

    Dear Michele,
    I rarely smile in pictures – I think I look funny! :)

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
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