When Life and Goals Collide

This is the white board in the office I share with the Captain outlining my to-do list for the summer. I’m behind.

I had such plans for the year. If you read my last blog, you know my ambition has returned post empty nest. 2017 was going to be the year I took control of my career, increased productivity, doubled down on blogging and marketing. In short, I was going to go balls to the wall, full court press, full-time with my career.

Why then, am I behind? Why aren’t I cruising toward success like my role models? I’ve made the plans. I’ve set the boundaries, I’ve worked to protect my writing time. In fact, recently I doubled down on protecting it.

Seems I’ve forgotten two key things:

I Am The Slow Loris of Writers.

Slow Loris courtesy of the Duke University Lemur Center, Durham, NC

We have a rule in the Wallace house However long the Captain says it will take to complete a project, multiply that figure by two. In the case of how long it will take me to write a book, triple (or even quadruple) the figure. I have an extremely strong, persistent internal editor who forces me to agonize over every freaking word. Thus, on a good day – when the book is truly rolling along – I can manage about 2K. Notice I said, on a good day. There have been days when I’ve been lucky to see 300 words. Good words, perhaps, but definitely not the kind of progress needed to go balls to the wall.

I am working on becoming a faster writer. I’m setting even more boundaries (pretty soon I’ll be typing in a tiny cage), I’ve taken steps to eliminate online distractions and mood triggers (I’ll tell you more about that in the future) and once I return from RWA National, I hope to establish an even stricter schedule as far as my hour to hour activities.

Even then however….

Life Doesn’t Care What I Plan; It’s Going to Do What it Wants.

Saturday was scheduled to be a writing day. Instead, I spent it in the emergency room with my mom, who was being evaluated for a possible stroke. Thankfully, it turned out to be a case of dehydration, but it meant the words I needed took a back seat. These were words, by the way, that I needed to make up because she’d had a fall (and possible TIA) the month before, as well as a urinary tract infection a week after that. Once both of those were cleared up, the universe decided I should come down with a nasty chest cold.

Thus the traction I’d hoped to make in June – which was to make up for lost time in April and May – slid to traction I hoped to make in July.

I’m not typing all that to whine. Okay, well maybe I’m whining a little. But, more importantly, it shows that sometimes life just plain gets in the way.

Today I read an article that said that if you can’t find writing time or if you are constantly allowing your writing time to get interrupted, then perhaps you aren’t placing a big enough priority on your writing. That perhaps you’re letting self-doubt or people pleasing to get in the way.

I will be the first to agree with that – to some extent. But let’s face it. Sometimes life gives you no choice but to put the writing aside.

I’ve spent much of the last month angry at life because it won’t let me catch up, and resentful toward my colleagues that are accomplishing goals I so badly want to accomplish for myself. On Sunday, however – the day after my weekend ER visit – my frustration reached its peak.

And then, it started to ebb. I can’t change the upheaval in my life right now. My writing will always be a priority. I would love nothing more than to dedicate 100% of my time to my career.  Even so, my work will never be a bigger priority than my family. If and when my family needs me, I will always, always put them first.

I can make plans for my career, and I can do my best to meet my goals, but I have to be flexible. Reward myself for the work I can get done, and forgive myself for the goals that slide to 2018.

Furthermore, I have come to accept that I will never, ever be a fast Loris when it comes to writing. (I’m not even sure there’s such a thing.) I won’t even be a medium Loris. I am what I am. So, again I’ll focus on rewarding myself for what I do achieve, push myself to do as much as possible, and forgive myself for not being a high-powered productivity machine.

I’d love to hear how others are dealing with writing and upheaval. Surely, I’m not the only one struggling with what my soul wants to achieve and what life lays out. Please leave a note and share!

This entry was posted in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.