The Rats are NOT Winning the Rat Race

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And now, the end is near,
and so we face the final Wednesday
My friends, the past is clear
I’ll state my case, life’s just a frenzy . . . *

pedestrians frenzy2

I am always so surprised at how quickly the first Wednesday rolls around. And a bit dismayed at how little I have accomplished writing-wise since the last one. Which segues nicely into this month’s IWSG’s question:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently? Two words.


Life moves with such reckless speed. The pressure to do more in less time is simply relentless. I was raised in the era where women learned to “multi-task” in order to accomplish the expected daily output of obligation. “Multi-task” is just a fancy word for doing too many things at one time, and none of them very well. Now we’re all on our devices, checking email, texting, web surfing, doing business, getting directions, buying stuff, going going going and all the while completely oblivious to our surroundings.

I had a smack-my-head moment a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday morning when my dog was scheduled for a bath and nails. In multi-task mode, I wondered how many things I could get “done” on that side of town while she was pampered and petted. I can’t remember the last time I got a massage and manicure . . . oh wait, it was last March.

With a long-lost rebel’s heart, I thought ‘screw it’ to all the obligations and took myself to Panera, bought a latte, and pulled out my writer’s notebook. For two glorious hours, I wrote about whatever came into my view or into my head. A total stream of consciousness of life unfolding in front of me. Groceries and dry cleaning be damned.

But, I have not reviewed those musings or written in my book since. Two hours of doing nothing is very difficult to come by. My writing is squeezed into my lunch hours [multi-tasking, eating without much thought or enjoyment while trying to disengage from the law and into my story – guess how that’s working out . . .] And with the Hell-iday season upon us, legions are now in the HOV lane, hurtling towards exhaustion. [sidebar: is there a law requiring that the five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas have to be a rushed hot mess?]

But it’s all good. Soon, this rat is leaving the rat race for full-time writing. And when I do, I’m not just moving to the slow lane, I’m getting off the damn super highway and taking some back roads to places I’ve never been. I’ll count my writing time in hours and days instead of minutes. Until then, when I take the dog for her grooming appointments, I’m heading for Panera, notebook in hand.

The best wrap-up on the subject of the rat race is a brilliant video by Steve Cutts, a London-based artist specializing in animation, illustration, painting and sculpture. It’s 4 minutes 16 seconds and it worth every second. I give you:



Many thanks to Captain Ninja and the awesome co-hosts for this month’s IWSG blog hop:

Julie Flanders
Shannon Lawrence
Fundy Blue
Heather Gardner

*[apologies to Frank Sinatra]

This entry was posted in It's the Law, IWSG, The Road to Hell . . .. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to The Rats are NOT Winning the Rat Race

  1. My point is (haha)…have you heard of the #TurtleWriters hashtag? Check it out on Twitter. It’s all about celebrating slow writing.

  2. I’ve never been good at multi-tasking. It just leaves me frazzled and feeling MORE unproductive, if that’s even possible. Sigh.

    Is it wrong that “Hell-iday season” made me laugh? 🙂

    • Lee says:

      Frazzled. What a great word for this time of the year. And no, I think laughing at Hell-iday just helps us deal with the insanity. That can’t be wrong.

  3. Thanks for sharing that marvelous film! Good for you for grabbing a few hours to relax and reflect. I try to keep my participation in the purchasing season to a minimum, though it’s difficult to resist the pressure to buy and send and decorate and eat and… So far, I’m enjoying my minimalist-ish holidays. May your holiday season be happy and sane.

    • Lee says:

      Happy and sane is my goal. I really don’t want to be a Grinch. I just can’t tolerate Consumer Christmas any more. I applaud yor minimalist-ish holidays.

  4. Hell-iday made me laugh too! I love this time of year but make sure I do all my shopping online because anything else is hell to me LOL.
    Love the thought of relaxing with your notebook while your doggie is getting pampered. 🙂

    • Lee says:

      It does give me pause that the Dog is getting pampered (seriously? how much more pampered can a dog’s life be?) while I make a big deal out of getting two hours to myself. But this is the life I’ve chosen, and it’s all good.

  5. How exciting that you’re going to quite the rat race and focus on writing full-time! It certainly does seem like a “hell-iday” season at times. I hate having to go anywhere near a store this time of year.

    • Lee says:

      Exactly. I can’t even buy groceries right now without some big crowd conflama. WTF? But soon, out of the rat race and buying groceries at 8:00 a.m. on a weekday!

  6. Gwen Gardner says:

    Ugh. I’m slow too. The day job and a myriad other things get in the way. It’s good that you’re taking the time when you can. Fellow Sister in Crime blogging here:

  7. Chrys Fey says:

    This year, I did slow down. A lot. I had to in part because of depression, but also because I had burned myself out. Slowing down is great practice. We need to do that more often to stay healthy.

    • Lee says:

      Depression is an insidious, lying asshole. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. And I totally agree, this insane rushing rushing rushing needs to stop. Hang in there – there are a lot of us out there ready to rally in support.

  8. emaginette says:

    Off the superhighway is the place to be. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    • Lee says:

      So right, Anna. I’m going to take that famous “road less traveled.” Or maybe some footpath. Someplace with no people getting in my way!!!

  9. mlouisebarbourfundyblue says:

    Loved this post, Lee, and I so related to thinking about all you could accomplish on that side of town while your dog was being pampered! I’m sitting here laughing because it surely is a smack-my-head moment! I’m cheering you on as you near being a full-time writer! All the best. I’ve never thought about writing at Panera. I’ll have to try that. All the best!

    • Lee says:

      I really haven’t spent much time writing at cafes, either. But Panera was handy and comfortable. It really is something I want to do more often. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Nick Wilford says:

    We all need to slow down and appreciate the moment sometimes, otherwise we don’t have any fuel for our writing. Moving to being a full-time writer sounds very brave and exciting. I’m wishing you all the best!

    • Lee says:

      Hi Nick. Quite right – being in the moment exactly describes the fuel for writing. Maybe that’s why so many of us are frustrated in our efforts – running on empty, so to speak. I’m very excited (with a bit of apprehension) about cutting loose from the corporate world.

  11. I recall my hubby saying he read somewhere that when you multi-task you actually get less done than if you had focused on one thing at a time.

    • Lee says:

      I agree with that observation. It’s like handling a stack of mail – the most effiecient way is to handle each piece just one time, if possible. Otherwise we waste so much time “refreshing our memories”.

  12. jmh says:

    Congrats! Welcome to the world of full-time writing. However, it may not be quite as tranquil as you think. I recently asked one of my friends what surprised her most when she quit her day job to write full time. She looked at me with wide eyes and said, “I thought I’d have time to write.”

    Thanks so much for buying my books, Lee. You made my day. xo

  13. Lee says:

    I have heard that warning from other writers. Best to set and stay with a writing schedule from the get go. Full time writing – the end of March. So close, and yet . . . so far. 🙂 So happy to make your day! I got them out of order, but am starting with the first one.