Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rethinking my many subscriptions

Wednesday 23rd July 2008

I've been rethinking my newsletter and blog subscriptions and I have already unsubscribed from a few. They are far too many if I want to beat my procrastination habit and give my writing the kind of attention it deserves.

Some days I start reading those that are in my box when I open it in the morning. Of course I follow many of the links they contain, taking me on an adventure too interesting to stop until I realize that I have strayed far from the initial topic. I hop on the ones that come in intermittently during the day and the next thing I know I have lost my most productive hours.

I find it extremely difficult to leave them for later in the day. I'm kind of obsessive that way. I'm a sucker for information about writing and any writing related topics. I can't say "NO!"

Deciding which subscription to keep and which ones to let go is hard. In fact it is a little heartbreaking. I've grown accustomed to them all and look forward to seeing them pop up in my inbox at their scheduled times.

I have had no Internet connection for more than a week. At first, I thought my days would be empty. You know, no "food" (newsletters and blog updates) to inform and nourish my mind and no snippets of inspiration to stir my heart. But my days have not been empty, bland or boring.

Instead, like a bird set free from its cage, I have been writing like I haven't in a very long time. It is as if I have been set free from my inbox. Without them before my eyes I can't remember half of those subscriptions I thought I couldn't live without. It took me all of two days to realize that I had been functioning with information overload. I can live with fewer subscriptions and when I have time I can always visit the sites and read the archives. And that's what I will do.

As soon as my Internet connection returns, I will begin a massive unsubscribing drive keeping for now, only those that address my immediate needs. Here's my game plan:

(1) I will make a list of all the newsletters and blog updates I receive.
(2) I will review each to determine which ones I will hold on to, in the following categories:
(a) improving non-fiction writing
(b) marketing
(c) inspirational
(3) I will unsubscribe from the rest.
(4) I will keep the list because I may decide to re-subscribe to some of them in the future, if they are still available.

Have you ever had to reassess your email subscriptions? I'd love to hear why it became necessary, how you selected which ones to keep, was the exercise successful and how you used the extra time to improve your writing.


Magnolia said...

Hello Cheryl,

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now. I have great dreams of being a paid writer.

For now, I'm blogging, and trying my hand at other sites by submitting articles. It's more work than I had imagined. But, it is a passion and so, I'm motivated.

I understand what you mean about distractions. I read a wonderful post at called "Hunting Down & Exposing Deep, Dark, Challenges"

It was an excellent post addressing the things that keep us from accomplishing our goals, whatever they may be. She talks about bringing more silence into our lives.

That, with all the distractions it's no wonder we have trouble writing or doing the things we really want or need to do.

I am a home schooling mom of three. My husband is deployed to Afghanistan and so, I'm carrying the load full time, all by myself.

Most of the time I do good, other times, not so much.

Life is never without distractions or some sort of "noise" that pulls us away from what we should or want to be doing.

The internet is a drug. I find myself doing exactly what you're talking about.

I get up early with great expectations and before you know it, it's 11:00 a.m. and I'm still sitting at the stupid computer in my jammies. Sigh.

I love your site. You give me losts of inspiration.

Maybe between the two of us we can figure this thing out. :)

Cheryl Wright said...

Hello Magnolia,

Pleased to meet you and thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.
The article: "Hunting Down & Exposing Deep, Dark, Challenges" is really informative and inspiring. Self made Chick is a site to keep my eye on.

Girl, I am a self-confessed procrastinator and an obsessive compulsive, so you have a fair idea of who you’re dealing with. The Bible talks about iron sharpening iron. That’s what people should be to one another. Writers are a phenomenal bunch. Across the World Wide Web you find websites and blogs dedicated to sharpening other writers in every area of their writing life.

I‘m no expert and I write neither from a position of power nor perfection. I absorb information like a sponge. I know I can never reach a stage where I can say that I have arrived, that I know it all or even enough. Every day is a writing class as far as I am concerned. Regardless how often I am distracted from my daily tasks, long-term projects and other goals and dreams, I never forget that as long as I pay attention, listen, read and share what I learn, I will grow, my writing will improve and I’ll have a long list of writers to thank for contributing to my success.

So here’s what, when the “noise” of life pulls you away from what you should be doing, remember that you are not alone. I’m also distracted. We may never be able to figure this thing out, but we can learn from one another how to keep the passion alive and our fingers tapping the keyboard, writing the words that impact people’s lives and enrich ours in the process.


Magnolia said...

Yes, agreed. We'll never figure it all out.

I read another blog recently where the blogger (a published author) said of her mother, (who was also a published author) when she told her she wanted to be a writer when she grew up, that her mother said, "Well then, don't study writing, study life"

I loved that quote and it has likely done more for me than anything I've read on "how to write"

Writing, if it is good writing, must always, ALWAYS come from an honest place and that place must be from the heart.

I checked out your other blogs. I'll be around.

Cheryl Wright said...

It took me a while to see how connected life and writing are but once I saw it, the dam burst.

Instead of lamenting that my life did not cater to my desire to write, I began to find ideas and inspiration in the most mundane things in my day.

Then with my eyes open and my heart ready to explore my broadening horizons, I found my true voice and discovered where God was leading me with my writing.

Some writers write from their hearts naturally, while others struggle. But they can learn to write from their "honest place" if they shed the layers of other people's expectations, their own fears, misconceptions and obsessions.

That's the kind of writing that always draws me in and keeps me riveted to the page. Those writers are the ones whose work (articles, blog posts, books) I return to over and over again.

My dream is that as I continue to write from my honest place, people will be touched, encouraged and inspired by my words and know that I write from my heart.

Magnolia said...

Oh, I hear you! I've always been a "live from the heart" person. Anything else to me seems dishonest and honesty is something I value. Emotional and spiritual honesty that is.

Have you read much of Ann Lamotte? Cherie Bell at Cherie's Remix (a blog on my blog roll) told me about her.

I have some of her books listed on my shelfari shelf. She's fantastic!

Talk about honest, heart writing. She makes me laugh out loud, cry and inspires the heck out of me.

She's also helped me not feel so crazy and neurotic. And trying to raise teenagers while I'm into full blown menopause can certainly make you feel that way.

If you haven't read any of her books, check her out. Be warned though, sometimes her language is a bit salty.

Love communicating with you!

Cheryl Wright said...

I haven't read any of her books except some excerpts. I have read some of her essays and articles and she blows me away with her writing. It is so revealing, if you know what I mean. I have several of her books on my To Buy list though.

Have a great weekend Magnolia.


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