In the last two weeks, I have not written a single word, despite my original goal of reaching 180-300 hours of writing this summer. Why?
A Downward Spiral of Inactivity
My relationship with time management is a funny one.
For weeks at a time, I feel like the most productive person ever, and then, for an equal span of time, I am the least productive person! I know some people can relate – especially writers.
Sometimes, I stop writing, because thinking about lost time causes a unique type of anxiety within me. It makes sitting down to write harder, and the inactivity perpetuates a negative emotional cycle. Usually, I feel a mixture of imposter syndrome and frustration. I view my work through an overly critical lense, leading me to abandon projects or spend less and less time towards writing my books.
These emotions lead to a lot of time spent thinking about my creative projects without actually doing them – biting my nails as to why I wasted two, three, or four days.
This was part of what happened this month, but not all.
Life Took Over in July
Earlier in July, I had other priorities to take care of in my life.
I needed to spend my time with important people that needed love, care, and attention. Attending to family was far more important than anything else going on. I have to spare you the details, as they are extremely personal and private.
During this last week, I needed to spend time away from writing. Just seeing my fiancé, my brother, and my immediate family, while getting back into exercise was what I needed. I had to take time to think about my life’s overall priorities and bolster my health and spirituality practices.
While taking this time, I had so many questions: What do I want to accomplish before my last breath? How can I be of service to other people in the next ten, twenty, or thirty years? Am I spending enough time with my family? In light of that question, does it even matter what I want to accomplish?
I realize now that this past week was about reminding myself of my priorities.
Yes, writing is important. It is meditative to me, and it is a thrilling hobby. However, my family and friends come first, before my creative projects.
My health comes first, before writing my novel. I needed to be present with all of it.
Despite My Frustrations…
I still need to finish my book, and honestly, I’m biting my nails!
My project The Witch’s Uprising, has taken me too long to write because I initially didn’t know how to manage my time. Earlier in the summer, I had finally reached a successful streak. I was running with the manuscript, full of creative flow. In July, life took over as mentioned above, I needed to take time off. And now… Now I’m trying to get back to writing again.
My gut tells me that taking time off it’s ok. It tells me I should take my time and that I shouldn’t rush. Still, my ego reminds me of the goals that I set. It reminds me that I should have been done, that I should have worked harder, that I should have pushed.
So which is right? Maybe both? Can I embrace the duality of this situation?
Maybe I’m overzealous. Maybe I’m setting goals that I cannot meet, and maybe that’s a recipe for disappointment.
Taking time off from my creative hobby made me understand a fundamental problem in my writing practice: I had not yet developed a balanced practice. Meaning, I had not yet found a way to work writing into my life where it wasn’t a high-octane endeavor at the exclusion of other important activities.
It’s time to try something new – an emotionally healthier way of writing these books. I’m going for balance, and I as I reach towards it, I’ll keep you posted.
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