Thursday, July 17, 2014

Moving Day--We Made It!

We've moved--at last! It's been a whole three weeks since we unloaded one truck, two vans, and more than a dozen car trunks-worth of boxes, boxes, and more boxes. I have never been more tired in my entire life, except for maybe when I wrote my first book and it was edited about nineteen times before publication.

Although the new house is still in the last stages of remodeling-construction mode (next job: sanding, varnishing, and hanging doors throughout) we've managed to make ourselves reasonably comfortable: books on the shelves, sheets and towels in the linen closet (sans door), pots and pans in all the right places. And here I am back at my computer, blogging again. It feels good; I missed everyone and I'm looking forward to picking up from where we left off.

I've moved a lot in my life, and I bet some you have, too. And whether you've moved to another country, or just up the road as in my own case, it's still a big deal, one you can't help but question every step of the way, LOL. What's really been amazing to me is how many people I know who are currently planning and preparing for moves of their own. So far I know of one writer moving house here in Albuquerque, another going to Germany, one more on her way to South Korea, and yet another buying curtains for a new home in Los Angeles. Creativity must make us a restless group! Either that, or we somehow secretly enjoy the challenge  of new floor plans, lives, and career paths. If that describes you to some level, here are my top 12 tips for a reasonably smooth transition:
  1. Pack early. I started putting everything in boxes about 2 months ahead of time.
  2. Plan your writing room in advance--what will you need to make it ready from the get-go? Buy supplies.
  3. Make your writing room "moving headquarters." It made sense to use my room as a home office during the move so I could pay bills and keep up with necessary correspondence in relative calm.
  4. Leave spare copies of manuscripts, discs, notes, etc. in a second and secure place. I left copies of my current WIP and all related documents at my day-job office in case anything got mixed-up or left behind.
  5. Spend a dedicated morning or afternoon to stop packing and instead change all your contact info as needed. Order new business cards, revise your website, let agents and editors know how to get in touch quickly and easily.
  6. Go through your filing cabinet and writing "clutter." Toss whatever you can: old rejection slips, out-of-date marketing info, unread conference flyers and handouts.
  7. Book giveaways! Pass on your TBR piles, "non-keeper" books, and even copies of your own published work--you know, the one somebody used  for a notepad to jot down a phone number at a signing, or dropped on the floor--twice. . . . 
  8. Acknowledge and accept that you won't be able to write for a little while. It's okay--even vital--to stop. Give yourself permission to take a break.
  9. Set up your Internet connections early. The cable guy is always late.
  10. Take advantage of the move to develop a new writing/creativity routine and schedule.
  11. Get to know your new neighborhood cafes, libraries, and writing nooks. Make each trip special by turning it into an "Artist's Date."
  12. Establish a "start date" for when you'll resume blogging, social media, and writing again, and mark it on a calendar. For me this was July 17th--today!
The most important gift you can give yourself during any major life change, moving being just one of many, is to be gentle with yourself. Don't rush. Allow for plenty of time to absorb your new surroundings, neighbors, commutes, and get all the sleep you can. Trust me, you'll need it!

Tip of the Day: Breaks are important. Trying to work on a manuscript or fulfill a deadline during a move can often seem more stressful than the actual moving process, so be sure to have a few escape routes handy. Although I was in a hurry to be out of my rental condo by the end-of-lease date, I still found an extra hour every now and then to shut the door, play with some collage, and forget about the chaos in the other rooms. I'll show you what I got up to in my next post. Until then, thanks for reading!

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