March 6, 2024

On Making Time for the Things that are Important to Us.

 

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{*Did you know you can write on Elephant? Here’s how—big changes: How to Write & Make Money or at least Be of Benefit on Elephant. ~ Waylon}

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December and January proved to be a wild concoction of frivolity, recovery, and refocus.

Time routinely set aside to write crumbled away despite my best intentions or resolutions.

The sticky aspect is that even though my routines sometimes get left behind, inspiration still pings at will. Ideas and plotlines that unfold into a fabulous story in my head—these could become a moving or hilarious piece of prose if I would just sit down and write.

So often the last few months, one of these light-flashing moments would flicker brightly through the creative side of my brain and I would think, “Now is the time to write. Grab that tiger by the tail and write the story down. Just do it.”

Perhaps this is a feeling you know well. Resistance. These things that hover just about yea high behind our shoulders and stare at the back of us, unimpressed. The words we know we should say, choices we know we should make, the actions we know we should take—but we don’t.

Failing to write weekly has felt like this: avoidance, procrastination, and resistance.

I’ve justified this neglect of writing my stories because my days have been overrun with work, which I’m grateful for. But every stream of inspiration that slips like river water through my fingers dampens me with disappointment and self-reproach.

How can I be a writer if I don’t write?

Alongside the workload, I’ve indulged in other habits that do not lend to creativity.

One bad habit that has ballooned is Netflixing before bed. Binging is a wonderful way to turn off the mind or waste a perfectly beautiful, blue sky day.

About four and a half days ago, I discovered that Netflix finally offered “Yellowstone.” I quietly closed my Mac, looked away from my unfinished paperback, and devoured all three seasons.

After, I learned there are actually five seasons of “Yellowstone,” but seasons four and five are not available on Netflix. What the heck?! My frustration shot through the roof. This drove me to spend valuable minutes researching how to purchase VIU, subscribe to Peacock, or take some other action toward accessing the final two seasons.

But that decision would lead to…you know.

I’d be bolstering my bad habit of staring at a screen instead of writing my words across my screen like I intend to. Hours of fleeting inspiration and treasured creativity would be lost to Kevin Costner in his fitted jeans and his ranch problems.

And thus begins the downward spiral.

Sometimes, drifting to the edge of no return is necessary to create the urgency needed to make sharp overdue changes in my routine. The edge where I finally abandon the set of bad habits or beliefs I’ve adopted and firmly shift my line of sight to the more purposeful goals I want to achieve.

The date on the calendar was this edge. It was February, and I had less than 11 months remaining to reach my writing goals for 2024.

Last year, one of my writing goals was to publish 50 blogs. Come year’s end, I wrote only 26 blog posts. I realize now how ambitious that original number was, given the twists, pop-up surprises, and time-stealing side-roads life offers throughout those 12 months. It was a sky-high goal I didn’t reach that could lead to feelings of defeat if I let it.

Twenty-six posts fall far short of last year’s writing goal. If I had strived to write only twice a month, I would have shot past that number and felt pretty damn proud of myself.

This year, I’m aiming to write 30 posts, along with two books. These goals are strung up with the stars, and I have no doubt I’ll reach them if I make the right choices with my time. As it neared mid-February, I hadn’t exactly rocketed out the gate. It had been more of a distracted amble, but I started to pick up my fingers more steadily.

One thing I do know is if I dillydally and exert my energy into binging cowboy dramas every night, I’ll never be the writer I want to be. I’ll never finish my third and fourth books. My creativity will dull and the sparkles of inspiration will grow fainter as they shoot off into the distance.

And writing is important to me. Even if I never publish a thing, writing is a way of learning more about who I am, working out emotions, and memorializing the special things that occur with my people in this life.

So for my first post of 2024, I almost wrote, “Even if I am a little late” when I published it, but this is only true if I adhere to harsh self-imposed boundaries that lead to feeling like I am behind in some way.

Why do we so often default to a timeline that emphasizes our shortcomings?

We are, after all, in control of our calendars, our own choices, and our own emotions. We are in control of how a goal-reaching deadline makes us feel. Pressured and failing, or accomplished and flowing. We aren’t ever as late as we might think.

And anyway, time isn’t real.

Our energy is real, though. Our choices and our actions create everything that is real in our lives.

Shifting our energy into the doing of things we love, be it writing, building, or connecting—this is where our efforts matter.

When life begins to mean something more.

I hope that you navigate each new day by making purposeful choices and doing the things that light you up.

We are right where we are meant to be when we are meant to be there.

~

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