Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Soirée - Making a writing pit-stop

Often at this time, half-way through the year, many people (myself included) reassess their goals and re-think their strategies to accomplish those they have not yet achieved. So I thought that I would ask you to pause and do the same with respect to your writing.

Whether you are an aspiring writer frightfully dipping your toe in the world of writing, a writer who is further along, paddling in the deeper end of the pool or one of those who are still strutting around the pool, afraid to put on your bath suit, or standing precariously on the diving board, this Saturday session is for you.

As I often say, “I don’t speak/write from a position of power or perfection.” I am methodical by nature, a writer at heart. I can’t help but make lists and set goals. Now, working at accomplishing them, well, that’s another story. Sometimes I make good on my own promises to myself; I take one step at a time and bask in the sunshine of ticks on my To Do list. Other times, I have no choice but to admit that I have failed myself, neglected my own motivational babble and then sulk and lament that I have lost my way and wonder if I am as true to my passion as I say I am.

Is this how it is with you sometimes?

It is true that unexpected events may throw us of the course we set earlier but we can still pull ourselves up and get back on track if we take some time to review, reassess and renew our goals and passion for writing.
Review. Don’t shy away from this stage; unless you review your plans, goals or whatever you call them, how will you know if you are still on course. Sometimes when we are weary we mistakenly believe that it is over, our dreams have died. But the only way to be sure is to take a second look at those dreams.

Life is a study in change: seasons, weather, relationships and just about everything else we can imagine. We change. Our feelings, style and color preferences, food choices, books we read and so on. And that is as it should be. Life would be pretty boring if nothing changed and everything and everyone remained the same. Think about it.

In the same way, our dreams may change for one reason or another. If we do not take note of the subtle and not so subtle changes, we could remain on the original course but end up feeling frustrated. Of course frustration in one area of our lives usually affects other areas as well.

Here's a simple test to see if you have made any progress with your writing goals so far.

Re-visit not only your goals, but your main dream. Is it still the bedrock of the smaller goals you have on your To Do list? Analyze you dream. Is it still important to you? If not, what has changed and why? What can you do to make it a priority again?

Are the goals on your list adequate and powerful enough to garner you the success you envision? Does any aspect of your goals seem not to be working to move you further along the road to the end you want.

Determine if a minor tweak here or there could make a difference. For example: the times you write, what you write, where you write, the publications you submit your work to, the boundaries you set to guard your writing time, etc)

Re-assess the steps you planned to follow. Are any crossed off your list? Apply the strategies that worked with those, to those that are still outstanding.

Sometimes all it takes is rethinking the position you placed the step in your overall plan. Maybe the steps you skipped weren’t necessary, could be handled later or you need help with them. Determine what needs to be done – eliminate the steps, rearrange them or identify who can help you to complete them.

Re-new your passion. Is your passion burning as bright as it did before or has the flame dwindled to a mild flicker? Frequently, when we are forced to switch our focus and give our undivided attention to other concerns, our passion wanes.

One of the most effective was to re-ignite or simply fan the flames of your passion is to write. Write about how your passion is suffocating and why. Write about the frustrations you feel when the unexpected situations in life call you into duty, drag you away from your writing, disrupt the schedule you work so hard to cultivate and maintain. Write about the ways you plan to bring it back to its full glow.

Recently, I read a post at another blog that put a whole new spin on life's interruptions. I blame my scattered attention for not remembering the blogger. I believe I left a comment. So if she reads this post, I hope she will contact me so that I can edit mine to include a link to hers.

Here's my new perspective on life's interruptions:

We tend to think that we are living normal lives and that interruptions come in and toss everything inside out and upside down, leaving us disorganized and in a mess. Once we clean it up, we return to, as you guessed it, our normal lives. But we are so wrong. Life’s interruptions are the fabric of a normal life. Without them we would be living the same old, same old run-of-the-mill exist 24/7/365. No variety, no fun, no new perspectives, no new goals, no new friends and achievements, no chance to explore new horizons, spread our wings and exercise our spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and creative muscles. I guess we could say that life without interruptions is tantamount to living in a perpetual comfort zone. Life's interruptions are normal. What we perceive to be normal is just a fantasy.

Think about that for a minute. Your first thought might be that life without interruptions would be perfect. But give the idea some time. Write your thoughts on this and see where they take you. Then share them here.

Re-visit, Re-assess and Re-new are three words that easily turn a short post into a feature article, a “normal” journal entry into a mini book.
Whatever your goals, however grand or simple they may be, review them often, reassess them seriously and renew your passion to pursue your writing dream.


1 comment:

Magnolia said...

Wow! I'm so guilty of doing/thinking this.......that normal life is what we are doing and interruptions are well, interruptions.

I suppose I never stopped to realize that my interruptions ARE my life.

Fantastic perspective.

 
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