How I Wrote a Book with Small Children Underfoot

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Kitchen Rescue for the Not-So-Organized is here!

It was one of those projects that incubated for several years without me even realizing it was growing. But once I saw the need to actually write a book about my organizing process, I suddenly had laser focus.

It’s funny to say that I had laser focus, because that is almost never true of me. With three or more small children constantly underfoot, there is the unending stream of cares to tend.

Fortunately, we were on break from homeschooling when the inspiration hit, and the timing was perfect! No structure to maintain. No lessons to prepare. No assignments to oversee. So every time the baby (or babies) went down for nap, the 4 & 6 year olds plunged into Lego land, and I plunged into my writing.

For years, I’ve been helping people organize. Usually we start with the kitchen, but home offices and closets are often a hot mess too! So as I wrote, it was like I was having a conversation with an organizing client. It poured out.

I’m not sure what we ate during that intensive writing time… probably frozen leftovers and a lot of cereal. And I’m not sure if my kitchen stayed chaos-free, ha! I’m also not sure how my children got clean during that time either, though I do seem to remember a time or two of exceedingly long baths for the older two while I worked away at my project. Jon and the kids didn’t complain a bit. They just cheered me on and jumped in to help!

The idea all came together on a Friday evening, talking with Jon about what we had to offer the world — what do people ask us about? I suddenly had clarity about how I coach people through their kitchen chaos, how I encourage and challenge them, as well as the exact process that we use to restore order and peace.

I found myself lying awake in the middle of the night, swirling with ideas to write. So I got up to empty my head. As those pages formed, I offered myself, my creativity in organization, and home management. I wrote until I couldn’t write anymore, and went back to bed. And so, it began!

All that weekend, I wrote and wrote and wrote.

When I started my blog, I began to practice writing on command. With limited time away from my family to focus on writing, I learned to get focused, fast. Sometimes I can write while the kids are around, but I do best if I’m away from home or everyone is sleeping. Whatever the circumstances, I’d been practicing the discipline of writing without a muse. There is no time to wait for muses or writing-moods or writer’s-block when you have to be back “at work” in an hour. You sit down. And you write. Go.

So I did. I’d been working this writing muscle, and now that it was marathon time, that muscle didn’t let me down!

The proverb rang true: “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field and after that build your house”. I wasn’t allowed to distract myself with house projects. Attend to writing first!

Boy, did I celebrate when that first draft was done!! Looking back, it was actually only half done, but I didn’t know that then. As friends and editors gave feedback and needed clarification, it grew.

That first week, my photographer friend, Kellie Mueller, offered to do a photo shoot to make the book gorgeous, and I was thrilled to invite her into the creative process. We put together idea boards (always a good way to communicate with a visual artist), and she carried out the vision beautifully.

The book grew and shifted and transformed into the final product, which I am very proud of! May it encourage you and provide the practical help you need to rescue your kitchen.

Picture credit: Kellie Mueller

LauriHow I Wrote a Book with Small Children Underfoot

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