This blog post was started while during my Weymouth stay. Since that time, we had a family medical emergency that took my husband to Syracuse, N.Y. for three weeks of June. I had a manuscript to edit (Terry Mancour’s latest, Court Wizard). And we took a long-needed family vacation to Myrtle Beach.
At some point between June and now, after an hour-long session with my therapist, I realized (and verbalized):
- My plans are ridiculous.
- My goals and timelines are impossible, hence “ridiculous.”
- I need to cut myself some slack.
She reminded me that at this point in my life, writing is my outlet, not my career.
I am learning to learn to adjust my expectations. And I am learning to cut myself some slack. I go hard with most things. Tell me it can’t be done, I do it. Challenge me, I rise to it. I don’t let things go.
One way I’m dealing with this attitude adjustment is by reading “You Are a Badass” and by putting some of author Jen Sincero’s points into practice. Where was this book in my high school years? Anyway, it’s been helpful to me as I embrace this new challenge of managing my shit.
I want to write every day. But that became: I must write for two hours a day, which was strong advice from Kevin Hearne (he writes the Iron Druid Chronicles, an amazing urban fantasy series).
At this point, two hours a night is not doable. So I shot for 30 minutes a night for the first week (the same first week my husband was away), but I was too worn out after working, working out and being a single parent to an active kid, anxious dog and deaf cat. I was pissed at myself, but sleep was more critical.
In honesty, I struggled with writing at Weymouth. I couldn’t sit still long enough. I had to fidget. I used a notebook to avoid any Internet-related temptations (yeah, Facebook, which is now off my phone). And I realize now that I need to work my way up to two hours (or longer) of writing time.
Writing is similar to running. Go with me here. I don’t mind running for two-plus hours. I’m training for a full marathon and ultra (anything above 26.2 miles). Long runs are going to be part of the process. But I didn’t start out at two-hour runs; I trained to get there.
Does running cut into writing time? An author friend says it does, that the time spent running should be used for writing. I need that time away from writing to become a stronger writer; a more-rounded person; a happier mommy and wife; and to realize a goal set long before I wrote my first or second novels.
Running gives me time to balance my mental spaces. I can let the characters “out” and free up my frustrations. I get the endorphins, too. If I’ve hit a story snag, running helps me sort and maybe solve it. I am able to work through plot lines, actions and reactions.
I go back to Weymouth in December. Here’s my current goal list for that visit, but it’s phrased as “I hope to” instead of the more concrete “I will.” I hope to:
- Complete book two of the Rebekah Keith Chronicles
- Be a comfortable writer.
- Be up to two hours of writing a night.
- Begin book three draft.
For now, my goals involve getting this blog current, with a post a week, and completing my ultra on Sept. 24 at Hinson Lake. I’m relying on the editorial calendar I created at Weymouth in May and the Zen Labs Marathon Trainer app ($9.99 on Google Play).
How do you manage or adjust your expectations and goals? Let me know. Tweet me @emilydbharris or drop a comment.