At the start of 2008, I vowed to devote myself to bettering my writing. To take a "writer's journey" and explore new genres and interests while simultaneously striving to improve on the basics such as grammar, use of simile and metaphor, attention to detail, etc.
I dropped much of my paid work and cleared my schedule. But I've noticed life has a way of creeping in. And what starts out as a month with no committment other than to write suddenly becomes filled with meetings, speeches, workshops, lunches, assignments, and other obligations.
This month, for example, I agreed to:
- Give a speech in my advanced Toastmasters club
- Create a tri-board for the club (the accursed thing still isn't complete)
- Write two 600-word assignments for a regional publication.
- Write a monthly article for a UK-based dog site, www.dogtwist.com
- Organize long runs for my running group
- Teach a 2 hour networking workshop at the Women's Resource Center
- Attend an all-day marketing brainstorming meeting for a friend
- Facilitate a 2-hour Saturday writing workshop for kids in the foster care system
- Attend a concert of my neice's in Raleigh
- Attend as a guest a women-only networking/mentoring club
- Wrangle out the details of a dental claim with our insurance company
- 2 doctor appointments, one trip to the vet, 2 races, 1 massage (had a coupon), 2 lunches with friends, one dinner out.
Looking ahead to March, I already have a book signing at a local libary and a book launch party to attend for a friend. The rest of the month appears gloriously free of commitment. And I aim to keep it that way. I've discovered that when I have a free schedule, it's so easy to agree to "stuff." I think, "Well, I certainly have time to fit a speech or a tri-board into my month." But I say that 10 times and then--oops!--the month is full and I didn't focus on what I said I wanted to focus on.
So... back to hibernation. It's a game of push and pull. I do too much... I cut back... I let life creep in... I push back. On a bright note, however, I've done over 50,000 new words of creative writing since the start of the new year. That's probably more than I did all last year combined. So I'm getting there. It's just a matter of deciding WHAT I want to spend my time on, WHY that's important to me, and then sticking to it.
Here's a quote I love:
"Let the act of changing be the reward, and do not count on the outcome, for it may well be far different than you ever imagined."