How do you make time and space for the things you really want to do – without wrecking relationships that matter, becoming destitute, turning into a machine, or simply burning out?
I started outlining ‘The Book of Dreams’ (novel, WIP) late in 2018 …
And since then, the outline has grown to kraken-like proportions, but very little actual writing has happened.* There are many good reasons for this. As a little exercise in self-justification, I’ll list them here:
- I was busy relaunching my consulting practice and looking for work closer to home (in theory, this should allow more time for writing).
- It took months to develop a website for said practice. And while it looks very cool – serious kudos to my designer and editor, Desiré Pelser – it’s still a work-in-progress. (Going through SEO at the moment.)
- At the same time I was preparing my first poetry collection (Stories from the Space Between). This involved cutting about 50% of the original manuscript and then an awful lot of fiddling with details – too may edits to count and at least four ‘proofs’ that were way more than that.
- Then I had an obvious, but still horrifying, revelation. Just putting things out there (online/on Amazon) has almost no effect at all! What had felt like a major step and a big risk, was greeted only by the sound of crickets. Most underwhelming. And so, my trek into the jungles of social media – Instagram, Facebook, and most recently, Twitter – began.
- And that has involved a whole ‘nother learning curve! What and why are hashtags? How do you have a life and run two businesses while posting on Instagram in the angst-filled hours before dawn? Why are depressed, English grandmothers writing to me about their loveless marriages? Does that woman with the serious bosom really want to buy my book or is something else going on here? And so on. (BTW, I have found answers to many of these questions – feel free to ask in the comments below. 🙂
- Occasionally, it is necessary to earn actual money as well as ‘likes’ (the bank assures me that they are not legal tender). So, pitching to clients, seeing clients, running workshops and writing reports has continued, though in a more muted way than a year or two ago. (I’ve also learned that it’s difficult to move quickly between different writing ‘registers’… Clients have no idea how close they’ve come to receiving 15-line poems or Instagram memes instead of the 20-page strategy documents they requested.)
- Finally, I am fortunate to have an actual life on top of my newly minted digital one. There’s an elderly mother, a husband, other family members, several supportive friends, a small herd of pooches … Most of whom I’ve neglected a fair bit, while addressing points 1 through 6.
What and why are hashtags? How do you have a life and run a business while posting on Instagram in the angst-filled hours before dawn? Why are depressed, English grandmothers writing to me about their loveless marriages? Does that woman with the serious bosom really want to buy my book or is something else going on here?
All plausible excuses, I think … But my bold goal – a first draft done by July 2019 – is way off track! So, I’m posting about it now, in hopes of building a bit of online accountability.
Updates to follow soon: this coming week I must get back into the actual writing!
So, how do you make time and space for the things you really want to do – without wrecking relationships that matter, becoming destitute, turning into a machine, or simply burning out?