I haven’t been posting much lately… I’m not really sure why. Inspiration has been elusive. I think it has something to do with recent world events. It makes so much of what is going on in my life seem trivial by comparison. But I recognize that daily life must go on.
One of my biggest concerns when I left my job back in June was that it would be difficult to fill my days once the kids were back in school. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I actually find myself busier than ever. Between getting the kids to/from school and their various activities, volunteering at the kids’ schools, working out, attending my writing class, writing blog posts, and meeting friends for coffee or lunch, I have actually found that there is very little time left over. And to be honest, it has been great! I feel happier than I have in a long time. I no longer feel like I’m drowning the way I did when I was working full-time and trying to juggle everything else in my “spare time”.
Despite this, I know that I need to start carving out a significant amount of time for writing. I am more convinced than ever that I want to write a book. But I am also very much aware that it is going to take a lot of work. I feel like the plot is starting to take shape in my mind. And I have needed the time and space to allow this to happen. But I am quickly approaching the point where the rubber meets the road. I need to stop thinking about this book and start taking action.
I am a planner at heart. I’m not sure where it comes from… I might have inherited it from my father. When he gets an idea in his head, he needs to nail down the details ASAP. My brother and I have fielded many “urgent” calls and emails over the years as a result. Or maybe it’s my engineering background that taught me to think through things methodically. What I know for sure is that I am not the kind of person who will just sit down and write when inspiration hits me. I need a plan of action and a schedule.
Work expands to fill the time. I know this to be true. I am someone who operates best with a certain amount of stress. I have worked on projects with tight deadlines and others with loose, vague timelines. The result has always been the same. I do my best work in the days and hours leading up to the deadline. It is for this reason that I know I must set an ambitious schedule.
I have read a number of books on writing. Just about all of them advise readers to think about writing as they would a job. Some books suggest setting aside regular hours for writing. Others advise writers to set a daily word count goal – for instance, 1,000 words a day. I’m still trying to work out which strategy is best for me. I’ll keep you posted… Because I also know that communicating the goal to others will help hold me accountable.