Mood: Wondering how 4 hours have already gotten away from me…

Currently listening to: SW by Blonde Redhead

As previously mentioned, I’ve been reading Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose. One of her recommendations for finding a “life” that works for you is to find a schedule that allows you to do everything you want to do, so that you don’t feel like you are denying yourself anything. My goal this week, as I decompress from finishing draft #1 and gear up for draft #2, is to set up a schedule for myself. I work from home for the most part, so I can set my schedule. But most days I find that I end up doing all the stuff I have to do, and not the stuff I want to do. And it’s not that there isn’t enough time in the day. It’s that the day just gets away from me. Part of it is that I’m easily distracted, & the other part is that sometimes I don’t want to do what I’m doing, so it takes longer than it has to.

One of her recommendations is to set up a schedule like the one you had in school. You know, where from 8-8:15 you had homeroom; 8:20-9:20 English; 9:30-10:30 Calculus; 10:40-11:40 Chemistry; 11:40-12:40 Lunch; 12:50-1:50 History; and 2:00-3:00 Art. Your life and your attention span was divided into short chucks of time. Every hour you got to work on something new. Well, I think this might work for me. So, I’m trying to figure out a daily/weekly schedule that works for me. Something that makes me do work, but also allows me to schedule in my other interests, like, I don’t know, writing.

I keep trying to plan out my schedule and so far haven’t quite found one that works. There are some things I need to do daily and there are other things I only need to do a couple times a week. So, I need to figure out what days are for what. I guess mine will be more like a college schedule, where your poli sci class met Tuesday & Thursdays and your French class Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.

Here’s everything I’m trying to include:

  • work
  • writing my novel
  • attempting to get moving on that freelance writing goal
  • blogging
  • email & other internet distractions
  • going to the gym on a regular basis (some weeks are better than others)
  • a yoga class at least twice a week (my back needs this)
  • and something else I’m sure I’m forgetting

When I list it out like that it doesn’t seem like much. But whenever I try to alot hours for each task/activity, my day ends up starting very early & running very late. Not ideal. If I wanted that, I’d still be working in an office. So, I will keep refining till I get it right, becuase I can’t keep letting the day get away from me.

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Mood: Anxious

Currently listening to: The Youth by MGMT

So, today’s the day I’m supposed to type THE END. I’m close. There are many hours still left in the day, so it could happen today. I’d like it to happen today. But I’m alright if it doesn’t. I know that it really is just around the corner. I got a good chunk of writing in yesterday & came to a point where my MC is alone. She’s left behind the two other MCs that have been critical to moving this story forward. I don’t see them coming back in at this point. So, where my MC is at this moment is where I think she needs to be to bring this story to a conclusion. I’m pretty sure that the end is somewhere in the scene that I’m in. Not quite sure exactly how it ends there, but I feel like it needs to end where she is now. I don’t see where else she would have to go or what else she would have to do. Of course this could all change as I keep writing. Who knows. The only way to find out if I’m really there is to get there.

So, maybe today, maybe not. But definitely in the next couple days. I do plan to spend a significant portion of today working on it. I’ve shut out all other distractions & made myself unavailable for the day to work on this. So, we’ll see where I am come midnight.

Anyways, this week I’ve been reading Refuse to Choose: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams by Barbara Sher. Damn that’s a long title. The title for my WIP, once I actually come up with one, probably shouldn’t be that long. Back on topic…In a nutshell, the book if for people whose interests are all over the place, who have a hard time narrowing down what they could do that they would be passionate about because they have TOO MANY interests; and if they narrow it down to one & pursue it, eventually, they tend to lose interest and want to move on to something new. Or as I like to call my affliction: attention deficit…oooh something shiny. Sher calls them “Scanners.” I guess I should include myself in that now, because I have to say I definitely identify with what she is talking about. So, Sher calls us “Scanners”: people who can’t, and as she says, should not follow one path in life. I heartly agree with this. At 33, I’m already at my Chapter 2. Five years ago, I chucked a career & life that I’d thought I wanted to spend the rest of my life at. I was wrong. I never should have been allowed to decide the rest of my life at the age of 18. I finally admitted to myself that I was miserable & quit, & left it all behind for this new chapter. And now, I guess I’m working on Chapter 3. Thus, the reason for reading this book now. While working on the WIP, I’m trying to figure out where I want to go next & all the while how to really get myself going on making a living off my writing. This book is helping me deal with some of my hang-ups & issues. But that’s for another day & another post.

For now, the reason I mention this book is that as I was reading I found that I was already using one of Sher’s tips, & it made me realize how important it was in getting me where I am today on my WIP. Scanners often have a hard time focusing & following through on their ideas. They’re great at coming up with them, but they often leave them hanging. I know that’s true of me. So, in an effort to move Scanners along, to get them going on the ideas they really love & want to pursue, she recommends “Success Teams.” Essentially, this is a group or other individual that you work with to help you move forward with your goal. Someone to keep you in check & to hold you accountable. Sher writes,

“On our own, we’ll often opt to avoid any kind of action, and we play tricks on ourselves so we don’t realize what we’re doing. Isolation is the dream killer. It will stop you every time.”

So true! I know I should never be left to my own devices. Add in my highly developed procrastination skills & I’m somewhat of a disaster.

As I was reading this section, I realized that only reason I have come this close to actually, finally, typing THE END on this draft (which, by the way, I have been working on for YEARS at this point), is because I had my own Success Team without even realizing it. My writing group. At first we would just get together, set up our laptops, and write. Occasionally, we’d break & chat. But for the most part those early days were just about having a few hours to get away from our regular lives to write. After a few months, we got to know each other better & we started to tell each other about our projects. And that was a major turning point for me & really started me on a path that has brought me this far. They became the people that I can discuss my plot holes, POV issues, character problems with & who I can hash them out with. They ask me questions that I hadn’t considered or asked myself in my own head. They understood because they were having the same problems with their own WIPs. Writing, you spend a lot of time in your own head. A lot. By some people’s standards, probably more than is healthy. It’s nice to be able to have someone around who gets your stress, your anxiety, your despair, your amazement, and your joy. They’ve also been great at helping me set goals & at holding me accountable. Those word wars were invaluable.

There are definitely writers out there who can work in total isolation. That works for them. I’ve realized it doesn’t for me. It took reading Sher’s book this week to make me realize that. If I had never met this group & continued on my own, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. I know I’d be writing and working on this WIP, but I never would have come as far as I have on it in what, now, feels like such a short time.

I know there is so much further to go. I’m no where near done. This is just my 1st draft. I know I want to do a complete 2nd draft from 1st person POV to finally help me resolve my questions about whether or not it’s truly the right POV. But at least I will, shortly, have a 1st draft. All 200+ pages. To be honest, I never thought I’d get to where I am. But now that I’m here, I’m glad I am. I know that I can do this. And I know that I can keep doing this. I can do a 2nd draft and a 3rd and a 4th, however many it takes to get a draft that I’d want to send out & actually let people read. (Although, really hoping I don’t have to do a 4th. A 3rd doesn’t sound so scary, but a 4th…yikes.) I’ve survived this & it wasn’t that painful. And I know that my writing group/Success Team will be there to help me get through everything that is still too come.

Ok, so I’m going to go get some lunch & then come back & focus, & just see how far I get.