Part of the joy of being self-employed is setting my own schedule. I’ve managed to arrange all of my nonprofit client coaching sessions on Mon-Wed, enjoy Thursday as a mutual day off with my husband, and address administrative issues and reschedules on Fridays. This allows me to focus on writing, editing, tutoring, and relaxing on Fridays and weekends. This also affords me the opportunity to NOT schedule any clients during the 5th week of any month that has a 5th weekday. I reserve these as my mini-vacations.
A few months ago, I decided to designate any 5th-week of more than one-day as a mini self-directed writers’ retreat – with the hopes of completing several works-in-progress.
July 26-31 offered one of these glorious goldmines — and I agreed to drive my sister and her daughter to California on that power road trip I wrote about. I have no regrets!
This last week – August 29-31 ran into the glorious 3-day weekend – providing almost an entire week (6 days) to focus on my writing. Visions of complete manuscripts danced through my head!
I thought today I’d share with you my progress – (or lack thereof):
Wednesday – took last steps to ‘clean up’ my space, putz around with creating lists, prioritizing efforts, and flipping through the various manuscripts and files to decide which one to work on first.
Thursday – fiddled with the formatting of one manuscript; helped a young lady from California (daughter of my sister’s friend) get from the airport and moved into her apartment (with a few hiccups); waited an extra hour for my daughter when picking her up from her internship (proud of her growth!); monitored the work of the plumber; managed about 3K steps.
Friday – guided said young lady from California and her roommate on a grand tour of Chicago – amidst UGLY traffic; biked 5 miles and walked 11K steps!
Saturday – drove my daughter to her tutoring job; completed some client work that was hitting a deadline; wrote an upcoming guest blog for a fellow blogger; did a few loads of laundry; began watching a Netflix show – Season 1 (Life Sentences) – good for passing time but nothing too write home about; managed about 3 miles walking.
Sunday – drove my daughter to her tutoring job; monkeyed with my computer/printer problem while watching a few more episodes of said Netflix show; read a little; joined a high school friend I hadn’t seen in about 35 years – for lunch and drove her to the airport; managed about 3K steps.
Monday – cleaned up all of my computer files and folders; updated my professional website and set up professional blog-post drafts and editorial calendar; looked into issues between my writing blog (wordpress.com) and Mailchimp and Pinterest; last minute 2-hour tutoring session with my student; managed 10 miles on my bike.
My lack of writing progress has NOTHING to do with not having time!
I have completed all my summer house projects to-do-list, cleaned up and decluttered my computer files, and will take my daughter back to school this week – leaving me with NO more excuses.
I thought about what drove me to finally complete the two manuscripts I did self-publish. The first was a project my daughter and I put together after she raised butterflies for a summer. I decided to self-publish to ‘test’ the process and decided if I wanted to take that route for my future bigger projects.
Then, after about 7 drafts and 15 years fiddling with my memoir, the words of someone I’d thought of as a friend kept coming to mind. She wasn’t speaking specifically about my writing but said – “You never really get anything done. You just talk about it.” I couldn’t allow her words to crush my spirit – but felt like I needed to ‘finish’ this memoir to move on. So – without even reading it through once or asking anyone else to read it, I packed it off and sent it through CreateSpace and KDP on the 34th anniversary of my convent entrance date – and just shy of 22 years after leaving.
I’ve realized that none of my other projects have anniversaries or deadlines. I have no accountability. I need to turn inward to figure out why I am avoiding what I’ve always dreamed of. No answers yet.
Perhaps, by the time my next 5th-week writers’ retreat rolls around – October 25 – November 1 – which also happens to be the week of my 55th birthday I’ll have figured something out. And perhaps, I’ll be more productive.
Stay tuned…and please let me know if you have experienced and/or how you’ve overcome similar procrastination/avoidance issues.