Suit Up, Stupid


Do you have “that thing” where, from experience, you know if you just did the dumb thing, the day falls into place and becomes more productive?


For some, it’s morning quiet time or devotions. For others, it’s exercise or a healthy breakfast. Sometimes it’s phone-free time or making to-do lists.


I do some of these all of the time, and others sometimes. But I’ve discovered something, a “thing,” about writing, in particular, that I’d not realized until this past month. When I “suit up,” I’m more productive.

The words come faster.


Miss Muse shows up and is ever so slightly more cooperative. Though she thinks high heels are fun. Not happening.


Even the cats give me my space. As I type this, they’re all passed out. One on the back of the couch. One at my feet. And one in the cat tree in the other room, thank goodness, because I think she ate too many crickets last night, and there’s an aroma about her if you know what I mean…


They’ve settled because Mom’s got shoes on. Tails and toes out of the way, gang.


Not barefoot. Not fuzzy socks (which is sad because the weather will turn cooler soon and fuzzy socks are just wonderful). Not flip-flop, (which is also sad, because if frostbite wasn’t a thing, I’d likely wear flops all year round).


Nope. Good, supportive, lace-up tennis shoes.


Now, lest you think I’m one of those freelancing sluggards who lays around all day in my pajamas, let me enlighten you. If it’s much past seven a.m., and I’m still in my pajamas, somethin’s goin’ on.


I’m ill. Very ill. Like flu, pneumonia, or mad cow disease.


I’m injured. Likely sciatica and I physically can’t get dressed without a great many tears.


Or, klutz that I am, I’m due to be somewhere in attire that I lovingly call my monkey suit: Slacks or a skirt (good grief shoot me now), blouse, dress shoes (another bullet?), hair done, jewelry, etc. On such occasions, I’ll remain in my PJs to avoid slopping breakfast or dirty dishwater or cat litter on said monkey suit.


My standard work uniform, seeing as how I’m hidden from my clients’ views by the thick cloud of cyberspace and I tend to care not what others think of my attire, consists of denim on the bottom and a Goodwill T-shirt on the top. Pretty simple. No monkeys involved. Nice and easy. No thinking required. Grab it from the top of the clean pile and go.


Versatile enough to go from computer screen to litter box to mailbox back to screen and then—oh, shoot me again—the kitchen, where I’ll eventually have to tackle dinner. And if I slop and trash said Goodwill shirt, well, half-price Saturdays are always around the corner.


Shoes? Those I try to do without. I feel confined. Maybe that’s why I don’t don jewelry of any kind during the week, either.


Confinement. Breezes over bare feet is more my speed, especially in the house.


And I’m not a runner or jogger. That’d end more treacherously than my very worst attempt at making a meal, klutz that I am.


But lately, when I’ve got the lace-ups on, something in my brain goes, “Time to work.” My focus is improved. My productivity is on point for much longer.


And Little Miss is over in the corner—pouting because I took a break from our WIP to whip off this blog— chides, “See? If you had suited up every day this summer, we’d have ten more novels done.”


Well, maybe not ten. She likes to exaggerate. Definitely two. Two’s a good estimate.


A few days ago, I slipped my flip-flops on after I got dressed in my denim capris and a red Star Wars-themed T-shirt. (I tend to keep the laundry done. This red shirt is always the clean one on the top these days. Maybe I should rotate it out to the blue Y’all Need Jesus tee I got on clearance at Walmart.)


I lasted long enough to clear my queue from my “real job” deadlines. Then, I slipped those puppies off my feet, curled my legs underneath me on the couch, and went down the rabbit trail of nonsense for way too long on the iPad.


I was researching. I needed a break from the desk chair and the laptop screen.


Oh, the lies we tell ourselves…


And repeat the next day. I was getting stuff done, but only the bare minimum.


Little Miss in her purple tizzy said, “Suit up, stupid. Let’s go play.” Genteel and dainty she ain’t.


I listened to her. I really shouldn’t let her boss me around so much, but she brings the magic occasionally, so I allowed it.


I tied up my purple tennis shoes (purple, huh. That little imp was probably with me in the shoe store when I picked this pair out), and I logged a few thousand words in short order. I’m clearly better with shoes on.


So why don’t I, and why don’t you, always do those things that make us more productive, more positive, more “with it”?


I have no clue. You probably don’t either.


I’m just glad that when I slack, I’ve got my little imp to remind that I’m daft and to go suit up.


So, when these kicks wear out, Little Miss and I will find another pair worthy of grand writing marathons.


“Purple,” she says. “With sparkles. High heels this time? With straps.”


I veto the heels, ‘cause my claustrophobic feet ain’t going those torcher chambers. And I prefer my neck bones remain aligned and unbroken. But who am I to argue with her about the color?


Purple it is. Maybe with a hint of sparkle.


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