I used to wake up, before the sun, every morning. I would make breakfast for my husband and get him out the door. I would write until it was time to wake my youngest. Before any of those things happened, I had made my bed, gone through my diligent face care routine and dressed in real (non-pajama) clothes. She had a home cooked breakfast, every morning, and then we homeschooled.
I was not a coffee drinker.
I managed to write an entire novel this way, make a decent income as a blogger and worked as both a freelance film critic and consultant for Random House. At some point, in 2010, I decided I needed more on my plate, so I turned my passionate hobby of photography into a small business.
Allow me to pause here, for just a minute, to advise you against taking something you creatively love and making it a business. This does seem to work out for some, but for so many of us it only leads to disaster… My DSLR is hardly ever on these days, and after two years of taking orders from people who did not care what my focus or vision was, I closed the doors on that endeavor. There was also the fact that I was tired, my writing was suffering and I was joining the masses as an exhausted/uninspired blogger…
It will probably always come back to this blog.
It’s not surprising that when one pulls away from consistent blogging, allowing months to pass between half-hearted attempts at posts, their audience gravitates elsewhere. Social media and the miracle of micro-blogging was not a thing yet. Somehow I kept this little space of the internet there, at bay, for the someday to come. The someday when I would feel inspired and suddenly once again share everything through the lens of an observer.
The thing is, that day will never come.
Just like sitting on three completed novels, a hundred personal essays and poetry pieces does not a published author make. While I know that several of those projects are nowhere near publishable, it annoys me to wake up at 42 and wonder what I was thinking? I kept my life at bay, waiting for that day when I’d be an agent represented, published author. How I would ever get from point A to G without accomplishing B, C, D, E, & F, I never seemed to consider. It would just happen, wouldn’t it? No. “If you write it, they will read it…” “If it’s meant to be, it will be…” *Insert other stupid nonsense, we put our faith in because we need something to believe in and that might be less vulnerable than actually going after it, here…*
When my youngest left the nest, I knew the season of pursuit was upon me. I knew that the running list of things I used to do, would be mine again-
- I would blog.
- I would find an agent.
- I would publish my book.
- I would begin a podcast.
- I would have this amazing army of a support system around me.
- I would master time management, beginning with a sacred morning quiet time, which would fill my soul with infinite peace…
- I would read so many books.
The good news is that I did manage to start a podcast, and I really love the experience. It has been like nothing I ever could have imagined, in my wildest dreams. The truth is though, the podcast wasn’t ever meant to be the focus or the most important part. (Someone asked me the other day how I felt podcasting and writing went hand in hand. I couldn’t answer. The truth is, they don’t. Both support my heart, my vision/what I believe is my purpose, but that is the only real connection.)
The rest though, minus point five, is on me. My time management is far from mastered. No longer having kids at home, it is beyond me how I can not manage to find time to do these things. How many times did I say:
When school is out for summer I will…
When Gen graduates I will…
After we move, I will…
Just let me get through the holidays and then I will…
Because, in some dysfunctional way I believed time would magically appear, but it doesn’t. Time to write, time to sit quietly to connect/pray/reflect, time to work out, time to… IT DOES NOT *POOF* into existence. We adapt and fill those spaces once filled by other things, with new things. Because the habits didn’t already exist, they don’t fall in line.
I have felt so much insurmountable disappointment in all of this. I half heartedly throw a post up and only a couple dozen people may read it. Defeat. I take part in a few linkups in an effort to connect with readers and grow an audience (again), but see little to no traffic increase. Defeat. I start the year off with a simple, lovely little devotional and open it yesterday morning to see five weeks have passed since my last check in with that sweet little book. Defeat. I catch a glimpse of my TBR pile. DEFEAT…
And, to be honest, I find myself incredibly hurt and disappointed by the lack of support in the people I love more than life itself. Which, is ok. It is ok to be hurt when it seems like others should care. HOWEVER, out of an entire list of things bearing my frustration and disappointment, that is the one point I cannot do anything about. Instead of allowing that to debilitate me further, I need to just get up, dust myself off and DO ALL OF THE THINGS. Period.
Instead, I stay stuck, and we all know that defeat and disappointment feel terrible.
I have lived silently within the dimension of my growing frustration at these things. With each passing day, I have felt worse, but did little to change a thing. Then I became a part of a conversation with others. Other women, women I respect and admire, who are living an almost identical chapter. What?!?!?! Something magical happened though, when this conversation began…
I was able to start addressing these things, one little bit at a time. I am still chipping away and maybe that will sum up the next ten years of my life. That’s ok too. I’ll get there and it WILL be worth it.
This early Wednesday morning I do not have time management mastered, but I am managing to use my time better. I am realizing my mistakes within the dream world of overwhelm.
I am doing something, and so at least there is that.
2 thoughts on “The one with the Do’s and Do Not’s…”
This is a fabulous post because it sounds so raw, honest, and vulnerable. My “advice” is to take that longer view. In my world a decade is/was just that, another ten years, and I’m into my 8th one if I can count at all correctly. Time is such a gift and I know that more and more every day. It’s up to us what we make of it. You write so well, with such clarity and conviction that I can easily imagine this and much else that you’re doing going beyond what you might have considered. You never know. Writers just have to keep writing. Funnily enough, I am considering a podcast with a friend and we’re thinking of calling it “Two Grumpy Old Men” but I think we can be a little more creative than that. Thank you so very much for sharing your story,
I DO hope you do a podcast, Gary! I think it would be amazing, whatever you call it, and I hope you’ll come back and share it! Thank you for your kind and generous words!