Happy New Year! I recently got a message with a generous donation thanking me for my videos and my blog. I was surprised as I didn't think anyone was reading my blog anymore. For six years I put out weekly posts, and then I lost my drive. I'm not going to recommit to a weekly post. I am putting my efforts in writing elsewhere these days, but it is a good idea to occasionally share my thoughts. The weekly posts began as a way to deal with my own internal thoughts and feelings. It was transformative in that aspect, but it also helped me develop my voice as an author. Which leads me to what I want to talk to you about.
I've been working on my 2nd book for the last 3 years. I have now laid that one aside. Fear not, I haven't stopped writing, and I may yet revisit that book. Over the pandemic I have read a lot of books, and more importantly I have gotten back in touch with my desire to tell stories Long before I wrote my first book I wrote fiction. At one point I even tried to write an epic fantasy novel with a friend. I look back on it now and think how bad that writing was. Well during my seclusion I revisited a seed of an idea I had, a world of my own that had a visual language similar to my artwork (although done much better of course). I called it Mistfall, it had been a hazy dream of an idea, until it wasn't. I have written 4 or 5 pieces set in it, and these will be part of a collection that I will publish at some point.
I've been back to in person classes since the middle of the summer, and one thing I noticed was how much less time I spent writing. I had over 2020 fallen into very unstructured uses of time. I had so much of it being isolated at home I could be loose with it and still get lots done. The past few months has seen a stalling of progress on all my creative fronts. So I finally decided to structure in time for specific projects. Just like I have hours on the calendar for my classes and events, I now have hours blocked off for writing every week. Now when I get stuck on a scene I have to play around with it at least during the time allotted. Since I put down scheduled writing time I have finished 2 stories and begun a 3rd. Seeing how well this worked I've also put down scheduled time for meditation on the calendar, and I am getting more of that in as well.
Self care or creative work was always being pushed back or put off. The thing is I need that to be able to succeed. If I want my business to succeed I need time to tend to my own passions and see to my own mental/physical health. I'm only a few weeks into this, and already I see where I need to schedule other times for leisure and rest. I like so many of us have gotten lulled into thinking that rest is something you do after achievement like a reward. The truth is rest is crucial for achievement. I had been depriving myself of it and my achievement went down not up. Currently I feel much better than I have in a while. I am resting more and getting more done.
Why am I telling you this? Well, structure matters. If we haven't been seeing to our needs or meeting our goals, odds are that we don't have a structure that supports them. In many cases, the existing structure (or lack of one) is leading us to the exact opposite of what we want in our lives. We find time for what matters to us. If we put it down on our schedules we are more likely to prioritize it and stand firm with our boundaries with other people. Trust me other people will test you on this, but if you have a 1-2PM appointment for writing, all you have to tell people is that you have a standing appointment. If you need more rest or mindfulness put a half hour nap or meditation on your schedule 4-5 days a week. If your appointment is with you and your couch honor it the same as you would a doctor's appointment. Structure can be your friend if you shape it that way.
So how about you? Are you scheduling time for your needs and goals? Are you putting your own needs last? Do you let people talk you out of the time you need for yourself? If so maybe you need to get out your calendar and block off some time. People don't need to know what you appointment is or who it is with. They may press back at first, but stay firm. Over time they will adapt and you will feel better. Which will make the time you do give to them more meaningful.
Peace & Blessings,