The New Year’s Post

I’ve probably mentioned here before that I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. They reek of deadlines and pressure and a life that is actually controllable(which implies one that I should be controlling!). They make me feel like this:

headinclamp

So, those resolutions, I usually avoid them. And I’m not making any this year.

Except…

Well, except that this year there is something I want to accomplish. It’s one of those goals that I keep coming back to, reminding myself about, and that I often manage for a while. This year, I’d like to manage it for longer than a while. I’m thinking of something like Debbi Michiko Florence’s Year of Writing (YOW) or Gail Gauthier’s Time Management Tuesdays. It’s not that I want to blog about this all year, but I would like to be able to make and stick to the commitment. The commitment of showing up.

Kelly R. Fineman got me thinking about all this (again) in her series on Writing Avoidance (start with the entry on December 21st). She talked about a lot of things that resonate with me–writing less when life is happily busy, writing less when you’re questioning the long-term success or value of the words you’re putting on paper, writing less when there are so many distractions that are easy to turn to and relatively easy to accomplish. I’m not sure if she mentioned this, but it’s a new one for me, so I’ll include it: writing less when you have multiple projects you could be sitting down with but feel split over them. In other words, there are days when the minutes I put into a project feel as though all they’re doing is pushing the completion of another project further down the timeline.

The other thing that’s going on for me, right now, that I need to do something about, is that–in going back to work–I’ve developed a different relationship with my computer(s). I know, silly, but true. In the pretty-much-just-writing days, I had a desktop and laptop, and the primary work I did on both of them was my writing. That was even more true of my laptop, because I kept all my bill-paying and other life-stuff on the desktop. These days, my laptop has become my work computer–it goes back and forth with me to the museums, all my work emails are on it, and it’s kind of an auto-pilot reaction for me to open it up and go right to the Museums folder of work. So, you say, why haven’t I reclaimed the Desktop as my writing machine? Yes, why? Is it because at the end of a working day, I don’t feel like turning on the computer again? Probably. Is it because I’m tending to clean up the rest of the house to my office desk, so it’s cluttered and disorganized and doesn’t feel like creative space? Yes.

But, bottom-line, whatever is making me avoid the writing is–go figure–adding up to less time writing. Wow, who knew I could be so good at something?

Does that make me happy? No. Do I want to do something about it, this year? Yes.

So, this is NOT a resolution, but hopefully it’s a commitment. In two parts.

Part 1. Show up for my writing. As much as life has changed in the past year, with going back to work, I do still have writing time. It’s there. It’s available. I want to start using it much, much more than I have. This will probably mean figuring out some way to deal with the computer/writing space issue, some way that I don’t leave till the last-minute. All that does is give me more obstacles when the writing time shows up–now I have to clean up my desk first. Now I have to put things in folders so I can grab the project. Now I have to get in the mood to go with the writing time. Meh. I’m honestly not sure what that fix will be, although–from writing things out here–I’m suspecting it has to do with switching computers for tasks. It may be time to take ALL the museum stuff OFF the desktop and reclaim it for its own gig.

Part 2. The blog. I have been gone. I miss it, and I miss reading & commenting on other people’s blogs. But mostly I miss the freedom of the writing that I get here. My blog started out being for me, with a little extra layer of “Nice!” when someone else out there likes & comments on what I’ve written. For some reason, over the past year or two, it’s turned more into a have to, more into a for-an-audience kind of thing. I have enough of that kind of writing in my life. I can’t do what Kelly’s shooting for–daily blogging, this I know. But the commitment I want to make is to at least once-a-week blogging. I’m saying it here, hoping it sticks: If I haven’t blogged by Friday, I will put up a Friday post. And while there are days when a Friday Five feels just right, I’m going to work very hard not to fall back on it every week. Will my posts be about writing? Will they be rambly? Will they be about these commitments? Don’t know. Can’t tell for sure. Just staying that, yes, they’ll be here.

So, yeah, sort of a couple of resolutions. Can we just not call them that, though? Cause, you know, this:

hourglass

What are you resolving or not-resolving this year? Whatever it is, I wish you all the best with it!

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It’s All Good

I realized last night, when I took a breath to think about it, that I blogged only once last week. And didn’t realize it until the week was over.

When I named gave this blog its name, Moving Forward on the Writing Path, I may have naively assumed that forward always meant…well, forward. With no detours, no twists, no stalls. I say “naively,” because, realistically, we all know the writing path actually looks a lot like this:

Signs I know life is getting busy?

  • Yep, fewer blogs.
  • More to-do lists on my computer. (Luckily, I use StickyPad, which means the notes are virtual, not physical–they “stick” better, don’t look as sloppy, and are editable! Not to mention that, when I decide it’s time to STOP working, I shut off my computer, and I can’t “hear” the notes nagging at me anymore!)
  • I read and reread lighter books, comfort stories that I can dip in and out of without worrying about the characters or trying to dissect the plots. Latest choices: Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series and Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family stories.

What’s the busyness about? Taking first steps into a new writing area I’ve wanted to break into for a long time, hoping to add more non-writing work hours to my week, listening to all the stories in my head that want to be told. Yes, all good things. And you will hear more about them here, if/when they all get finalized and definite!

Still, if Jeeves showed up at my front door today, looking for a job, I wouldn’t say no. And I bet more blogs would magically get written, too!

Life and writing is about organization and management. And just when you think you’ve achieved that, change happens. Sorry…Change happens. Yes, with a capital C. Which is better than boredom and stagnation, but…it does put a few little hills and sharp curves into that path.

What do you do when new things come along? How do you weave them into a pattern that lets you settle into a rhythm and keep that forward movement.

A couple of links for you:

Gail Gauthier has started a series on time management for writers at her blog, Original Content. Check the posts out here.

And Debbi Michiko Florence has made this year her Year of Writing. You can find her series of YOW posts here.

And here’s to having it all…including sanity!