• Book Review: DO YOUR LAUNDRY OR YOU’LL DIE ALONE by Becky Blades

    woman standing on pile of laundry
    I read a lot of advice books. Trust me when I say this: DO YOUR LAUNDRY OR YOU’LL DIE ALONE by Becky Blades stands out from the rest of the graduation-gift-book pack. It’s not only informative, but also insightful, entertaining, funny, and a breath of fresh air.

    Book Summary

    When Becky Blades sent her firstborn daughter off to Harvard, she knew the world’s top-ranked college would not be covering the most important material: how to be kind, happy, and appropriate in public; how to protect oneself from sock monsters, boring conversations, and scary dates; and why you should keep your clothes clean. So the day before classes started, Blades emailed a good-bye letter with motherly advice she had kept to herself for a year. Just in time for her youngest daughter’s graduation from high school, Blades illustrated the prose with her signature mixed-media artwork, creating a thought-provoking, conversation-starting book. With warmth, wit, and a hint of motherly sass, Do Your Laundry, or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give If She Thought You Were Listening blends bite-sized morsels of coming-of-age common sense with tiny essays on more substantial topics.

    My Thoughts

    The book is a collection of “warm, witty, and wise coming-of-age common sense.” The entries range from lighthearted (“Keep at least one stuffed animal”) to lenghty (essays on topics like phone etiquette and forgiveness). Unlike many other “gift” books, this one takes advantage of humor, witticism, and colorful graphics scattered throughout. I liked looking at the myriad designs almost as much as I enjoyed reading the book.

    This is the book I wish I’d gotten as a graduation present. Blades offers a unique blend of advice and comedy in a style that is entirely new. Here are some of my favorite bits of wisdom from the book:

    If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. You’re smart enough to think of something nice.

    Make something every day.

    Don’t press ‘send’ in the heat of emotion.

    The best way to glow is to shine the spotlight on someone else.

    Reading is sexy.

    Do something nice or good every day and tell no one.

    Have a list of things you like to do that don’t cost money.

    Of course, there are hundreds of other tips in this book for you to take advantage of. It’s difficult for me to choose my favorites. If you want to read Becky Blades’ wisdom for yourself, you can purchase this book in various formats through Amazon, Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, and Rainy Day Books. Go get your copy today!

    What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

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  • How Kimmy Schmidt Boosted My Productivity

    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
    I haven’t had time to watch television lately. I’ve been focusing on writing and editing (for myself and for others), which means working with the TV off until the work is finished. It’s my rule. This process repeats until the weekend rolls around.

    Last Saturday, I watched a show a lot of people have been talking about, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It was smart, entertaining, and well-executed. Parts of it were funny, but not hilarious. Still, the show got me thinking and drawing connections to my writing life (as all writers do).

    Throughout the show, Kimmy proves she is wise beyond her years—mostly due to her captivity in an underground bunker (I can’t even begin to explain that in this post, so just go watch it). One of her most profound ideas crops up in the second episode of season one, “Kimmy Gets a Job.” In the episode, she has to throw a party to impress her new employer. When her employer’s child complains about having to wait to open his presents, she assures him that he’ll be able to wait.

    “I learned a long time ago that a person can stand just about anything for ten seconds,” Kimmy says. Cue flashback: Kimmy is turning a mysterious crank, and we learn she’s been doing the task for several days. When her “sister” offers to take over for her, Kimmy shrugs her off. “It’s no big deal,” she says. “You can stand anything for ten seconds. Then, you just start on a new ten seconds.” And she proceeds to do just that as she keeps turning the crank. Back in the present, she tells the boy, “Take it ten seconds at a time.”

    That scene got me thinking. For me, one of the hardest parts of writing is just getting started. It’s sitting down and making the commitment to get the words down. It’s the ability to push past this mental block and write that separates the wannabe writers from the professionals. It’s not enough to want to write—you must actually produce something.

    Kimmy Schmidt reminded me that a task is easier to accomplish when it has a definite end. I applied this idea to my writing life by setting a timer for ten minutes, rather than ten seconds. Ten minutes isn’t long at all. I sat down in my chair and told myself I only had to write until the timer went off. If I felt tapped out, I didn’t have to go on—the only rule was that I couldn’t stop until I heard the ding.

    It’s been twenty minutes now, and I’m still writing this blog post. It took me forever to get started until I thought of Kimmy Schmidt. The next time you can’t bring yourself to sit down and start writer, set a timer and go. You don’t need to write something perfect, but you need to write something. How else can you expect to make a living as a writer? The key to success in the craft is production.

    You can stand almost anything for ten minutes, darling. Go ahead and take it ten minutes at a time.

    What do you think about this advice? How do you get started when you don’t feel like writing?

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