We’re already wrapping up the first month of the year. How does it go by SO fast? I’ve been thinking about what I’ve accomplished over the last 30 days, and it’s hard not to get discouraged. Of course, there were some beyond-my-control things that happened, so I can’t take all the blame. BUT I am responsible for what I can control.
I’m working on ideas to better manage time and get the things done that need to be done. I know it sounds silly, and totally unrelated to my writing and my photography, but one of the things that drives me crazy here at the house is the perpetual herd of dog hair tumbleweeds that roll across our hardwood floors. Doesn’t matter how much we vacuum, the herd is always there. So I’ve come up with a schedule to help minimize the problem: there are three of us and there are three dogs. Rather than each of us brush a dog every single day of the week, we are each responsible for brushing all three dogs two days a week. I’m on dog grooming duty Tuesdays and Fridays. So at some point today, I’ll need to brush the 95 lb. golden retriever, the 15 lb. chorkie, and the 8 lb. chihuahua. And I will feel accomplished when I can check it off my list.
If I can get a handle on silly things like that (and laundry!), I think I’ll be able to work on my novel with a clearer conscience and not feel guilty if I lock myself away for a couple of hours each day. Some other things that must take a backseat to this goal of mine: Facebook and the internet in general … I spend much too much time on Facebook checking to see what’s going on with my circle of friends. I am somewhat proud that their numbers are less than 200, and quite a few of those are students from my photography class, but still. It takes time. It takes work to stay in touch with so many people on a daily basis. The internet as a whole is distracting to me, too. It’s like a huge library in which I can wander up and down the stacks, browsing for information, ideas, etc. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (I rarely go to our local library looking for a specific book), but when I look up at the clock and I’ve lost three hours just browsing … well, there’s a problem.
When I set this blog up yesterday, I discovered another blog that I hope to include in my pared-down list of daily internet stops. Susan Kiernan-Lewis is a writer who also blogs. Granted, I’ve read a total of THREE of her blog posts and none of her books (yet), but the three blog posts I read were probably some of the most inspiring posts I’d read in recent times. She discussed “The Scariest Thing You Will Do As a Writer“, “The Great Social Media Flim-Flam“, and “Life After Twitter“. And I came away inspired. Because ultimately, to paraphrase the Bard, the book’s the thing. Enough of this being distracted by things that impede progress toward the goal.
I turned 48 years old on Friday. Thirty-four years ago, I had a language arts/writing teacher who saw something in my writing and encouraged me to write. For the remainder of my school career, until I graduated college in 1986, I wrote. And then I got a job, a car, an apartment, and eventually a family. All of which are good things, indeed. But I forgot about the hope that teacher had for me and my gift. Recently, probably in the last six months, that teacher happened to go to the chiropractor’s office where my sister works. She asked about me and if I was still writing. When my sister told her “no,” she sighed and said, “I always thought she was publishable.”
And so I’ve been inspired, by that teacher, by Susan Kiernan-Lewis, by my husband who believes in me. It’s not too late. I can do this. And I will.