Monday, October 1, 2012

Turned the Page... Again

Improving the lighting in my photographs
should be an additional checklist item.
Another month, another picture of John Lennon to preside over my writing space... where has the time gone?

In May, I turned the page on my calendar and used that action to organize my priorities for the month. Then I fell off that wagon and never returned to it in this forum (though I am a lifelong list-maker). So I'm going to re-collect myself and set some goals for October. Please hold me accountable!

Firstly, I'm going to prioritize my writing first rather than third, because it is the area in which I have been struggling most -- and where I am most likely to procrastinate. Seriously, for having written for as long as I can remember, I am absurdly intimidated by a blank page. Fifteen minutes ago, when I contemplated getting back to work on my current short story, I had butterflies in my stomach. Fight-or-flight feelings. A strong urge to find the nearest bag of chips.

However, I will be attending my first-ever writing conference, on self-publishing, at the end of this month, so I'd like to have something substantial to share with the other professionals I'll be meeting there. (This plan also makes me want to break out in hives, but in August I said that one of my goals for my kids is diligence in the presence of failure or uncertainty, and since I probably can best teach that by demonstrating it, I'm going to swallow those butterflies as best I can, ignore the call of the chips, and set pen to paper.) And once I push past that first fifteen minutes of panic I actually really enjoy writing.

Ergo, writing goals for this month:

  • Write one blog post at Simply Richer Living per week (sorry for downgrading the expectation since May; it's very important to me to get the fiction well-established, and my time is somewhat limited this month)
  • Calendar the blog posts in advance so I am more prepared to complete them
  • Write a rough draft of "Rasputin Wakes Up" (you can follow my progress if you want to help keep me moving)
  • Polish up the rough draft of Rasputin into something I feel good about sharing before October 18th
  • Finish my commentary on a project a fellow writer entrusted to me an embarrassingly long time ago (sorry, Nicole!!)
  • If I finish Rasputin before October 18th, then I have a choice of two other projects to tackle, so I should have one of those in progress for the remainder of the month.
  • Post completed word counts on this blog so I have real-time accountability
The other area where I'm really struggling at the moment is household management. Only... it's not the management part that's giving me a hard time, so much, as the labor. I should make some goals for staying on top of the laundry and the cleaning. I really should. But I'm not going to. Because those plans seem to overtake my writing plans, and the work always seems to get done somehow, even if it is only on an emergency basis because Duncan is out of pants. So I think I'm going to bow to my inner sloth and liberate myself from making a home management checklist in favor of the things that are really important. Like writing. 

Or my children. Here again, though, we seem to have found a rhythm that works. I'm not worrying about playdates because my little one is seeing his friends every day at school now, and there really isn't time available for additional playdates. My six year old has found bliss in the after-school childcare program (free till four o'clock!!) where he can compete in a real Beyblade stadium against all comers every afternoon of the week. And the walkability of our neighborhood means that my oldest child can invite friends over for playdates whenever she wants without having to rely on me to do a whole lot of arranging anymore. No one is nagging me for anything except more electronics access. Time together is guaranteed by the various activities and responsibilities we have now that school is in session, and things feel generally pretty good. No checklist required.

My last significant endeavor is weight loss. That is just not happening, though I have gotten the afternoon binge habit under control. I have come to realize that I require a certain level of physical effort to feel good, and that it has to happen very regularly. For the most part I'm getting that level of activity, but the exercise is now a daily activity -- almost like taking a shower -- and I have to protect the intensity. So... I bought some new pants, I'm going to always keep an eye out for ways to make the workouts high quality and regular, and for the rest, just let the chips fall where they will.  I'm only human. 

Do you have goals for October? If you're looking for some jump-starts, here are a few suggestions:
  • The October Buttoned-Up Challenge will get you ready for the (gulp!) holidays before it becomes a crisis
  • FlyLady's Challenge of the Month is reducing paper clutter
  • The Year of Less is taking on a Sermon On The Mount Challenge, a spiritual discipline intended to remind us that "Where your treasure lies, there your heart will be also," (some of you might recognize this as Dumbledore's epitaph in Harry Potter) in preparation for celebrating the holidays in a more meaningful way than the usual purchasing frenzy.

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