It’s a time to move closer to fulfilling dreams and achieving goals. An opportunity to bring new focus.
Many pick a guide word for each New Year to help them focus. Words like Achieve, Joy, Balance, Learn. You can find ideas here.
In the past, I’ve chosenHope fuels the creativity engine. That year I published two books and ultimately creativity has led to seven published books.
Last year I chose PROGRESSIt’s from the Elsie Joy Get to Workbook, a fantastic planner for projects. In spite of 2018’s many interruptions (some good, some not so good) I did make progress last year. Not as much as I planned, but forward movement is forward. I’m just saying.
This year my 2019 focus will be CONSISTENCY.2018 was full of spurts and fizzle outs. I’m determined to be more focused on my writing. My 2019 SMART goals are set to accomplished that focus.
In case you’re not familiar, SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, and results-focused – guidelines to achievement. Schoolteachers will recognize the idea from lesson planning. Setting SMART goals help me clarify ideas, focus efforts, and use time and resources productively. More about SMART goals in next week’s blog.
Have you picked a focus word for your new year? What did you choose? If you haven’t, what would it be?
Summer officially arrived on June 21. The time of lazy days and easy living.
But is it? For most of us, life doesn’t slow down at all.
Why don’t we give ourselves permission to rest in this wild, busy world? What compels us to think we have to meet all the demands put upon us?
Writers face manuscripts to finish, blogs to post, social media to keep up with, craft books to read, conferences and workshops to attend. It’s easy to constantly be busy, moving, doing, and fail to slow down to settle into peace even on the rare occasions where it’s right in front of us. And, it’s not only writers.
So many things pull for our time and attention. We become weary. Yet we keep on keeping on, endlessly moving and doing.
Have you noticed that even when we do stop to rest and sit on the porch swing with a favorite book to sip a glass of iced tea we fidget? Our toes tap. Thoughts hammer rat-a-tap-tap like a woodpecker in our heads. It’s not easy to be still.
For some reason we tend to think by working hard and wearing ourselves out, we validate our value to the world. Faulty thinking that hinders rest.
We equate being busy with worth. But does being productive prove our worth? Not necessarily.
Busyness can be an addictive, but busyness doesn’t have to be the boss of us.
We can break the habit. We can step off the busyness treadmill by taking moments for inner peace.
All we have to do is STOP.
Takefive minutes to sit in the quiet. (If small children or pets are around, this may involve going into a closet or the bathroom and locking the door.)
Just. Be. Quiet. No TV. No music. No books, no journals.
Sit, close your eyes, and breathe. In – Out. In – Out.
Enjoy the peacefulness.
You might be surprised by what a time of rest can do to your peace of mind and productivity.
February is almost over. We’re moving at warp speed through 2015. So how are you doing on those plans and resolutions from New Year’s Day?
If you’re like me, that faucet of enthusiasm has slowed to a trickle or off entirely. Barely a drip.
It’s time to heed the words of a great writerly quote from Louis L’Amour, an American author of hundreds of authentic western novels:
“The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
The full quote, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” provides great advice for writers.
You see when life spins out of control writers, well at least to this writer, lets the distractions stop my writing. Instead of moving ahead, I tend to think, “I’ll just finish __________ then I’ll get back to writing.”
Fill in the blank with whatever distracts you from working toward your goal. You don’t have to be a writer to fall into the distraction trap.
What happens is each passing day we don’t work on our goal or resolution, it becomes easier not to do what we planned. Doesn’t take long before self-doubt makes us question if our project is even worth the time at all.
Here are four ways I plan to get myself back on track, and turn my faucet on again.
Establish a Schedule
A schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone or the same every single day or week. Make it adjustable. Most important, put the time slots on your calendar the way you would any other appointment or commitment.
Seize Small Chunks of Time
An hour may not seem like much, but you’d be surprised at what can be accomplished in a small, consistent, and repeated amount of time. Snatch those minutes wherever you can.
My goal for 2015 is two books published so I’m training myself to keep my iPad with me and write wherever I go like when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office or a passenger in the car. Since I live in the mountains and the nearest Wal-Mart, doctor, or grocery store is at least thirty minutes away. I’m amazed at how my word count builds.
Set your goal as your priority every day.
I work toward my goals BEFORE I do any other tasks for the day. I find if I do the laundry, clean the house or any of those other very necessary tasks first, I always run out of time. You will too.
Reward Small Successes
Be proud of small incremental steps. I remind myself almost on a daily basis that one word a day gives me 365 words of my novel by the end of the year. When I write an entire chapter, I celebrate with chocolate, usually M&Ms!
If you’re like me and your faucet isn’t flowing as it should, it’s not too late. Do not give up or abandon your goals and resolutions altogether.Rejuvenate that motivation you had six weeks ago. Turn your faucet on.
Hear that water rushing? Now turn your faucet on and let it flow steadily.
Procrastination is the act or habit of putting off or delaying something. A clever enemy of everyone, not just writers.
I’m not sure whether procrastination is a deliberate act or subconscious, but, according to Wayne Dyer, “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.”
Author of The War of Art, Steven Pressfield, calls procrastination a form of resistance. He believes creative types face lots of resistance and offers inspiration to overcome that resistance. Words from his little book have gotten me over more than one bumpy writing slowdown.
I believe his idea of overcoming resistance applies to everyone plagued by the habit of procrastination.
Even if you’re not be a writer, procrastination can hold you back and prevent you from doing something you should be doing.
Goethe said, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.”
Writing is hard and solitary. Those two truths stall many writers. Procrastination wins.
I refuse to let procrastination to win. I get up every morning, put my butt in the chair, and W-R-I-T-E.
Note, I didn’t say when I feel like writing or whether I think what I write is worthy of a Pulitzer. I sit at the computer and write. EVERY DAY.
Does procrastination stall your dream?
I suggest following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s advice so beautifully depicted in Edie Melson’s graphic?