Lately, I’ve found myself doing a lot of reevaluating, because I’m just not happy with where I am currently. I used to be the girl who was working of four or more writing projects at a time. Of course, if I take a step back, I’m still working on many writing projects; it’s just that the majority are work related. Between special sections, the weekly newspapers and monthly magazines, one of which I’m managing, it’s a lot to juggle, and I can see why it leaves me with writing and editing fatigue. To be quite frank, I can fully appreciate Bilbo’s statement in “The Fellowship of the Ring” when he is addressing Gandalf: “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
No matter what, there seems too much to take care of and so little time or energy to handle them. I no longer have that teenager’s body that can stay up at odd hours of night to write without repercussions. I no longer have the large spans of free time either. However, looking back to those years can be helpful. And by reflecting on them, in addition to current practices, I can see the vast majority of my problems can be taken care of via time management, something I’ve been failing most stupendously at.
Like a lot of writers, I want my personal writing to be published. And time management is key to that ultimate goal, because writers nowadays aren’t just responsible for finishing the product but also taking on a considerable amount of marketing, which requires social media presence, website/website maintenance, networking (where I also fail stupendously…was never charmed with the popularity bone) and much more. There must be a set schedule that is completed with diligence. I understand this very well, but understanding only goes so far when it is not put into practice. I follow these principles very precisely at work, where I’m juggling multiple drop-dead deadlines, but I completely collapse upon myself at home.
It’s become a major goal of mine to stop this cycle of self-destruction, and with it the sense of self-doubt and negativity. And as part of this goal, I’ve reexamined my past to find solutions. From now on, unless I have a meeting to cover in the evening, I’m going to force myself to write or edit my work for at least an hour. Then an half hour before bed, I’m going to read (something I used to do frequently). Internet usage will have to be reshaped and retooled, because I’ve almost become addicted to certain parts of it.
Another boost for productivity will hopefully come from my office/library/music room, which I’m in the process of getting in order. The space will never see a TV. While I can’t completely cut off internet to the room, I hope to dog-ear it for music,writing research, querying and platform building only. The entire room is going to be tooled to be a writer’s haven by the time I’m done with it with a piano for in between breaks. There will be organization and very little clutter, or so I tell myself! For the theme, I’m going with mint and orange, a color combination I wrote about in Michiana House & Home’s May issue (Page 18) in honor of the Kentucky Derby (mint juleps, you see). After writing about it, I knew I wanted it in my office, so here I am ready to put up the second coat of mint paint and run out on the hunt for orange accents.
As the room comes together, I will be sure to share further photos and my thoughts on how it has worked from a writer’s point of view. At the end of the day, I’m hoping it will be the perfect writer’s retreat where I can focus and get work done without distractions. A space that includes neat accent pieces that can be used for story-boarding and organization of the ol’ paper trail, plus a small floor sitting area for reading or writing with the old pen and paper.