Posted by Addison Fox Mar 8 2017, 12:21 am
I’m really not sure where the past year has gone. I feel like I say this more and more as I get older, but in the case of the past year, I truly do not know. The last 365 days have included a move, a day job change and several writing commitments. All have been a source of joy but all have thrown an absolute monkey wrench into my productivity, my personal rhythms and my daily focus.
It’s through that lens that I wanted to focus on today’s post. I’ve been fortunate – the past year, for all its craziness, hasn’t involved loss or hardship and for that I am more grateful than I can say. But even with that sense of gratitude, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that it was hard.
Everything I’d established over the past few years, from writing early each day to pacing through the weekends on my work has changed. And I’ve genuinely struggled to get back on track.
In the midst of this craziness, I’ve learned a few things about myself and I wanted to share them. I hope they help you if you find yourself in a similar situation or if you hit those moments where things just feel a bit “off the rails.”
Keep the joy
While my productivity has suffered mightily, my joy for the craft of writing hasn’t waned. It’s been important to me to keep working on projects that I love and that excite me and that has made all the difference in getting through the days and weeks where any sense of routine has vanished.
Staying excited with my projects – even if my page production is lower than I’d like – has been essential.
Learn to say no
As I suspect most people would agree, saying no isn’t easy or pleasant or comfortable. Saying no is hard and it manifests in many ways, from volunteering to work commitments to family commitments.
I hate the idea of saying no to anyone, but in order to protect my writing time, my work time and some of my limited personal time, I’ve had to begin saying no. It’s tough to write books in drips and drabs, with a lot of breaks in the time spent with the work. I’m finally beginning to feel OK with admitting that to myself.
But what I’ve also learned is that finding balance and putting writing time as a priority isn’t selfish or unloving. Giving yourself permission to set boundaries is important and, at certain times in life, must take priority.
Every page counts
While books don’t get written in drips and drabs, every page does count. For that reason, it’s important not to discount what can be done in smaller increments. A page or two during lunch or proofreading on the subway or working through revisions on a scene can happen in small snatches and it’s important to take those opportunities when you can.
None of this is earth shattering, but as I look back on my journey over the past year, I realize that – once again – writing has given me several valuable lessons that I will keep with me. In the meantime, I finally feel like I’m getting my rhythm back. It’s new – the beat is a bit different than it was before – but it feels good.
The next 365 days may fly by as fast as the last, but I’m looking forward to facing them with a few more skills in my toolbox.