When I started writing as a kid, it was originally what could best be described as a short story. It was actually a quite embarrassing piece of work that followed me around for ages, but has been lost in recent years and I’m super sad about it… really. It was something along the lines of: Page 1 – What makes flowers grow? Page 2- Dirt makes flowers grow. Page 3- Water makes flowers grow— I think you get the hint by now. I mean, I was like six or seven when I wrote this, so I feel like it was pretty advanced myself! Who am I kidding, it was awful, but that really isn’t the point of what I’m getting at here.
I’ve spent the last several years straying away from my roots as a writer. I have been trying over and over unsuccessfully to write a novel. I would go from idea to idea never getting past a first draft. Often I would never even complete the first draft. I get a great idea, and for a few weeks I am obsessed. And then I’m not. The thought of trying to work on whatever story I’m doing makes me want to scream so I give up and start something new, or go through all my old scraps of ideas looking for renewed interest. I have been repeating this process on and off for the last ten years. I have recently sat myself down to try to figure out why I’m struggling with writing.
Before I had started to try to figure out this world of novel writing I would write poetry. Sometimes short prose and rarely something that could almost be considered a short story. Why had I moved on from writing that works well for me and I love doing? That is sort of easy. I thought, in order to be a “real writer” I had to be able to write a full novel. I thought there was no way I could ever make any money at all writing poetry, or anything shorter then a novel. I’ve never been one to be about the money, but some day I would love for writing of some form or another to be my “real job”.
Thinking about it all now it seems silly to me. There are plenty of amazing poets out there that I admire. Why would I think that they are not “real writers”? If I could think it about myself, then it must apply to all poets. I’ve recently even put out a request for favorite poets across Facebook and Twitter. It was amazing to see the love of poetry from my friends. It made my heart warm a little bit if I’m being honest. I don’t know why I felt the need to convince myself that the thing I loved so much wasn’t worthy and that instead I had to waste 10 years of my life trying to do something that I should have known I would never accomplish. Who knows, novel writing might be in my future, but it is not going to be anything I try again for awhile. And I’m totally okay with that.
I came across a quote today as I was sitting here writing this. It seems relevant and something that I need to often remind myself.
If you’re writing, you’re a writer.
― Alan W. Watts
At this point in my life I don’t want to waste any more time on something that isn’t making me happy. I will be going back to my roots and living my true self as a writer/poet. I will work on poetry, various kinds of short prose, short stories, and even submit articles around to see if anyone bits. If the ‘Letter to the Editor’ that I wrote in 8th grade taught me anything it is that I can argue my point and stir quite a bit of controversy in a community if I am passionate enough. I have many passions these days. I would love to make my 8th grade self proud of who I’ve become as a writer.
Do any of you have poets that you love to read (or hear in cases like Spoken Word)? I will leave this with a link to one of my favorite contemporary Spoken Word poets right now, who did a TED talk. (I am a bit obsessed with her)
Sarah Kay’s TED talk
Oddly enough I find myself a week ahead of schedule on blog posts. (Yay for that one morning last week where I got up early enough to write an advance post.) While every part of me says this is the perfect time to take a break and not write anything, I feel like I’m at an advantage and I should take it. For once I’m not scrambling last minute to put together a post. I can actually write this one, and change it or edit it if I feel the need before next week. How exciting? Yeah, I’m easily excitable.
It is that time in the year, it has hit the 6 month mark, and I need to sit down and evaluate where I stand with my goals that I’ve created throughout the year. This is the first year where I’ve actually tracked my goals this long. Usually I’ve given up by now, so the fact that I haven’t speaks volumes, at least to me anyway. One of the things I’ve noticed so far this year is that my goals are always evolving. I’ve probably changed them 5 or 6 times since January. It has taken me a bit, but I’m finally starting to feel like changing or evolving my goals to fit my life and myself as I learn more about what I really want is okay. It is better than okay, it is exactly what I need.
I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my bullet journal. This is the first year I’ve worked with one, and while I have zero artistic abilities and it can be a little plain, it has done wonders for me. I’m not only able to plan out my days/weeks/months/year, but I’m also able to write down anything else that feels important. Bill tracking, addresses, therapy topics… You name it, it is there probably. This is how I’ve noticed the evolving of my goals, as I sit down to figure out what it is that I want out of my year. I realized, when I started this year that not only was I depressed, I was working off a list that I created before my whole world was thrown into chaos. I gave myself goals that I was either never going to accomplish, or that I really had no interest in accomplishing. Or, there were some that I really did want to accomplish, but that realistically weren’t going to happen. I’m trying to be more logical about the goals I give myself now. There is no reason at all to give myself goals to change who I am as a person, when I try, I end up just beating myself up over unrealistic goals instead of trying to find compromises that work for me.
I even tried to do the level 10 life, which you might remember from my April check in post. Well that backfired as without real track-able goals I have a hard time knowing if I’m making progress. It is a cute idea, just not one that works for me for tracking goals, though I might keep it as a visual reminder of where I am with my goals. I think that could be helpful. I guess we will see!
In past posts I’ve provided all the goals that I’m working on. I’m not going to do that this time. Until I got to this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to add them to this post or not, and I guess I even have time for things to change, but as of this writing I do not feel like including them. You may be asking yourself why I won’t include them? It really isn’t anything more than putting that much information about my personal goals out there is starting to make me uncomfortable. At least today. The anxiety is real people! But I also want this post to be about the fact that I realized my original goals were not good for me, so I decided to change them. That is what is important. That is the take away from this.
Well, vacation is over, I’m back home and going back to work shortly. Reality is setting in and I’m checking out mentally and emotionally. Why? I’m just at that vacation hangover stage. I spent so much energy while I was away that I honestly have nothing left. I haven’t had time to recharge before going back to work and back to all that is expected of me, but that is fine, that is what being an adult is right? Doing what needs to be done even when all you really want to do is stay in bed, with the possibility of blanket forts?
I’m okay being back to the grind as they might say. I do enjoy my job, I’m just tired. What I’m mostly ready to get back into is my routine, or at least trying to figure out what that routine is. There are many things that I feel need to be done in a day, or a week. I’m still working on figuring out how to get all of these things done as often as I’d like. I feel like this is something that I struggle with often and am the most verbal about. I’m not good at balancing my life, which is why when things start to get to be too much I just give up and break down. I just stop, and that is the point I’ve been at for the past few months. I haven’t made much effort to figure any of this out, even though I have wanted to do it. I just do things whenever the mood strikes me, and while that doesn’t really seem like a bad thing the honest truth is that the mood doesn’t strike me very often. More often than not I procrastinate until I have limited or no time left to do any of the things that I want and that makes me frustrated and want to not do it at all. So yeah, that is a nice cycle I have myself in.
I wasn’t really here to talk about any of that, but if you have read any of my past posts, you realize that I write about whatever happens to be on my mind that day. Which is another thing that I’ve been trying to change. I’d love to be able to schedule blog posts and then just write the ‘off the cuff’ ones as the need arises. That’d have me posting more than once a week and I’d really like that, however, that, like most other things in my life right now, requires me to get this damn routine or schedule figured out. One of these days I’ll know what I’m doing. I even have a tracker in my bullet journal that is supposed to be helping me stay on the right path. Really all it has done is show me how little I’m doing of the things that I want to do (that sentence was painful for me to write).
So what are my plans to figure it out now and why is it going to be different than it has been so far? Well, hell if I know. Right now I’m just in the planning stage of this idea. I’m trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong so I can figure out how to do it right this time. I am going to assume one of the first things that I need to do is get on the right sleep schedule so that I’m able to plan out the rest of my day accordingly. For example, today I got up a half hour earlier than I normally would. This allowed for me to get my coffee made, journal, and even write this, which normally I’d not have time to do this part. So, if I continue to get up 30 minutes early, that will allow me time to work on my blog every day, and that is something that I’d really love to be able to do. And today at lunch I will do my best to get my reading in, which is what I’ve been doing up to this point (minus vacation, of course). And after work, well that will be cooking, writing, working out time. And then once all that is done, I can try to fit in whatever other less important things I want to do with my day, before crashing hopefully by midnight. Then repeat tomorrow. I guess that sounds like I have some sort of idea on what I’m going to do. Which is more or less what I’ve tried to do in the past, but procrastinated my way through it.
I guess that means the key to this isn’t the schedule, but actually sticking to it. I will have to do my best to try and do that. What are you suggestions for keeping a routine? Any tips or tricks that might help me?
So April is Camp NaNoWriMo. I have been trying to participate, but then the last few weeks my depression has gotten the best of me, so I’m behind. After the first week, I had to drop my word count goal from 50,000 to 30,000. This last week I didn’t drop my goal, but if I don’t catch back up soon I might have to do just that.
This week I’m going to have to do my best to catch up. I have enjoyed the experience of Camp though. It is my first year participating. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo in November for the past few years, but never Camp. I think I will add this to my yearly goals. If I’m not mistaken there is another Camp in June (or maybe July) and I plan to participate then as well.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ll start with NaNoWriMo and what it is. November is National Novel Writer’s Month and many writers gather and sign up with the goal of writing 50,000 words in the month. You can sign up and participate on their website. If you love to write then I highly suggest it. You are sorted by region so you can meet locally or participate online doing word sprints and other fun events.
Camp NaNoWriMo is held in the off months. April and June I believe. And you are sorted into “cabins” if you want to be where you can interact and support others of the same genre or whatever sorting you end up choosing. It is a great way to get the support writers often need to stay motivated and keep writing. The goal is the same, by default 50,000 words in one month, but it can be edited lower/higher, or if you are in an editing phase you can even change it to minutes instead of words.
I find the whole process of both of these events so helpful to my writing. As many of you know I don’t get out of the house much, so being able to participate online with my peers is something I need to keep myself going. Even when I’m depressed and not meeting my goals it is nice to have people there who understand me and what I’m trying to accomplish.
Sometimes this whole thing stresses me out, but it is a good stress I think. I’m pushing myself to do something that is important to me, but also hard for me because I can’t always just sit down and write, even though I so desperately want to do so. I would love to focus my life around my writing and my health, but since I work 9+ hours Monday through Friday that isn’t always easy, but I’m trying to do better at fitting everything in when I can. One of my goals is to get my word count in every day. I’m still about 60/40 for a success rate on it, but that is better than nothing at all right?
I would love to start looking for freelance writing gigs too, but I guess I’ll need to work up a bit of a profile first. My blog isn’t really going to draw anyone into my writing. Does that mean it is a failed blog? Naw, I don’t really use it to promote myself. I use it to be me. Writing is only a part of what I do and who I am. If you know of any freelance opportunities though let me know!
How has the first quarter of the year already come and gone? I wasn’t ready for this. I realize I’m a few days behind on this post, I should have done it last week probably, but oh well. I’ll do things on my own time. I had debated this morning if I was actually going to even do a first quarter review, knowing that my year isn’t going to go as planned, not any more. The thing is, if I don’t try to hold myself accountable at least a little I’ll never get anywhere. So, here we go…
According to my Bullet Journal here are the goals I had set for myself this quarter:
1. Write 1-2 articles
2. Blog post every week
3. Make & achieve weight loss goals
4. Study more
5. Start paying off debt
6. Start first draft of novel
So how did I do with these goals? Not super great over all, but individually I did okay. I didn’t get any articles written, not one. I did some brainstorming on ideas, but that was as far as I got. Writing has been fairly difficult for me this quarter and I’m just now trying to get myself back into a space that I can write again. So maybe this quarter will have different results? Only one way to find out.
I did post a blog almost every week. If you don’t count the two weeks I took off from writing anything at all, which I don’t. I needed that time off. So I will count that one as a success!\
I made my goals, but as of today am just slightly off from reaching them. I will still count this as a success. I am doing something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. And I’m doing well with it. I even met with my Personal Trainer 2 times last week and she kicked my ass.
I spent zero time or effort in the debt department. I am frustrated by this, but I hope to do better this quarter. I really want to get a handle on this and on my savings in general. I have big goals for the year, and this is one of the things that needs to get handled in order to reach my goals.
Up until yesterday I hadn’t really reaching the first draft goal. So I will say this was a no for the first quarter. However, Camp NaNo started yesterday and I started my draft of my novel. Fingers crossed I make it through the month and reach my 50,000 word count goal. That will put me at, or near a full first draft of a novel! I can do it!
Overall for the first quarter, if I had to give myself a grade, I would say it was something around a C, maybe a C+. I don’t think I anything that I did could have been improved much, not knowing how the end of last year was for me. This year is going to be an adjustment period that is for sure. I know that I have to keep pushing through, and I’m trying, that is why I keep giving myself these goals and why I keep adjusting them when I can.
For this next quarter, and for the rest of the year, I have changed slightly how I’m doing my goals. I have found this thing, called Level 10 Life and I am giving this a go. The link provided is of an example of what you can do with this philosophy, it is not the be all end all resource. If you want to know more I suggest doing some research and possibly reading The Miracle Morning, which I have not read yet, but it has been on my to read list for awhile now.
My 10 areas are as follows:
1. Health & Fitness
2. Family & Friends
4. Personal Development
6. Being Involved
This is what I will focus on for the rest of the year. And I feel like they are great areas of focus for me. So, now that you’ve been let in to my most personal thoughts, what are your goals for this year? How have you stacked up so far for the goals you made at the start of the year?
I recently read an article, which sadly I can not find now that I’m writing this down, about why people aren’t usually able to keep their New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not really one to make Resolutions in general, but if you saw my first post of the year (I think), I do tend to try to set goals for myself on a fairly regular basis.
The reason this article spoke to me was because it basically said that Resolutions, or goals in my case, are things that we know we should be doing, for whatever reason, but people don’t make time for shoulds. Instead they will only make time for things if they know why they are doing them. And not just the superficial reason: “I want to do x because it will make me y.” You’ve got to think harder than that. Why do you want the result from that statement? What does it really provide to you, your family, and your life?
I’ve spent my last few days of journal entries trying to figure out my own why, and I think I may finally have it, but only time will really tell. I’m planning on re-visiting this search in a month or so to see is my why sticks, or if it has changed or evolved.
I just think this whole concept is quite interesting and would be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on it.
I wasn’t really sure what to write about this week. I’m struggling to stay on top of writing a post a week. I’ve had ideas planned out so I could work on posts throughout the week and be all ready for a Sunday post, but well some of the ideas I came up with just don’t speak to me through the week so I can’t get myself to write about them. Or, as has been the case this week, I’ve just been so hard to motivate that I wasn’t able to do much of anything.
I guess what I’ve decided to write instead is a re-commitment to this blog. I’ll do better in the following weeks. For any of you that know a bit of what is going on in my life you know things have been rough for me lately. I’m trying to dig myself out of it. I really am, but this is a hard time in my life. I’m going to get better, slowly, but I can only do so much.
Until the time comes that I am close to the person I used to be, I can use some help. I need to know what I should be putting here. What are the kinds of things that you guys want to read about? I have some ideas, that I’ll get back to next week hopefully, but they seem a bit cheesy to me sometimes. I’m always open for suggestions.
Stick around, things will be getting better!