After reading my recent post, some of my fellow writers may be inspired while others may be overwhelmed. For those in the latter group, allow me to give you an alternative process for increasing your writing career by 30 percent. This option comes from personal experience.
I concede I am planner by nature. I have a physical planner on my desk I use most days, and, when I don’t, there is a running list in my head. Yet, there is an aspect of my life that tends to foil my plans on a regular basis.
The members of my household are not planners. By nurture, they appreciate that there is a plan. Which is most likely encouraged by me. But, by nature, they thrive on flexibility, choice, and organized chaos.
While I find myself closing the doors of their rooms on occasion, I have opened my heart to their need for the spontaneous “whatever.” Within my “what-if” tendency to plan for contingencies, this was the rule I established early within the rhythm of our home when my sons were faced with a list of tasks.
Do three things. Then take a break.
Sometimes even this planner needs to heed her own advice. So that’s what I did this summer. Because other lists in life needed my attention, I scrapped my list of writing goals. I focused on three things. I took a break.
What three things became my focus? Writing, reading, and knitting. I imagine I’m getting questioning raised-eyebrows. That last one doesn’t seem to fit with the first two. Here’s why they have been a combination of self-care and why I chose to these for my rule of three.
- Writing: If I’m not writing, I’m usually thinking about writing. But, sometimes the lists of life distract me from sitting down to get words on the literal and virtual page. Feeling stagnant with my current works-in-progress, I decided to return to a critical basic of writing practice: journal writing. I incorporated this into my daily Bible study. The result has been a cornucopia of introspection I sorely needed before venturing into my next life stage. As highlighted in my previous post, I needed some time to fill my “Becoming” bucket. Writing about what I have, have gotten, and have been doing has been the equivalent of a personal research project.
- Reading: Within my writing practice has been a considerable amount of concentrated reading about a particular spiritual topic. In addition, I am in two book clubs. Writing book reviews on my blog is another way I combine writing and reading. I am also working on a long-term writing project for a friend that requires reading outside my go-to genres. What is true for most writers is also true for me. I read more pages on a daily basis than I write.
- Knitting: There is a literal way and a figurative way that knitting fits in with my writing and reading life. I have completed several knitting projects and reading goals this year through listening to Audible books. I love multi-tasking and combining these two activities has been one of my favorite daily practices. That’s the literal way. The figurative way is purely symbolic. For me, writing is weaving, a linking between word choice with meaning. Knitting expands my intuitive nature with a sensory nurture.
Have I accomplished my word-count goals? I suppose it depends on which words are being counted. But, I’d like to think so. A respite from lists is sometimes required because we need a repose in order to compose.