Hello there, and welcome to another Sunday morning coffee chat on the front porch as we watch the sun rise. What are you having? Me? I’m drinking tea, bourbon tea. No, it doesn’t have bourbon in it, it’s bourbon flavored—Harney and Sons, I highly recommend—though I could use some bourbon after the week I’ve had…
Well, let me clarify. It wasn’t a bad week. In fact, I had a relatively productive week. Up until Thursday, when I realized I had a problem…
If you recall, it’s been two weeks since I’ve returned to writing. Which, when you really think about it, is an odd thing to say, because how does one stop writing? Theoretically we’re always writing something, right? But you know what I mean. Maybe I should say it’s been two weeks since I’ve returned to creating. Ah, yes that’s much better.
Anyway, that first week, I cleared my schedule. I was off from work. I stayed home. I avoided social media like the plague. And I opened my mind to let the stories flow. And flow they did.
Week two I was back on the daily grind, and though I feared returning to work would cause a block in my inspiration streak, quite the opposite has happened. It’s overflowing, more than it has in years. The only problem is I can’t get it to stop—I don’t want it to stop, but it’s spilling over into my day job hours, and I’m struggling to find a balance.
It’s interesting, because when I first started blogging, I was at job where I had a ton of free time.
Shhh. Don’t tell anyone, but a lot of that free time may have been spent blogging…
Actually, I don’t care. It was a temp job, and I had nothing to do. Everyone in the office knew I had nothing to do. Turned out the service I was hired for wasn’t as in demand as they all had thought. And truthfully, I could’ve worked half-days if they weren’t so afraid that an urgent need would come up at 4:58pm on a Friday afternoon that couldn’t wait to Monday.
But I digress. That’s in the past, and my current job is five steps closer to where I want to be, which is book publishing.
Actually, my dream job is to own a quaint little used bookstore in the center of town, where they serve hot chocolate with a free story every holiday season. Yes, my dream is to exist inside a Hallmark Christmas movie. But that’s a story for another day…
Anyway, at my current job, my day is pretty full. And even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t dare go near any blogging websites for fear of the very strict IT policy, which has me terrified to do anything that could even remotely be mistaken as personal on the work computer, even when I’m off the clock. So I keep my mind as far away from blogging as I can while I’m at work.
Until this week. No, I did not go anywhere near WordPress on my work computer, thankfully. What happened instead was that whenever a thought came to mind that I wanted to hold on to, I quickly wrote it down in a notebook, or grabbed my phone and opened the WordPress app, or ran down the hall to my personal computer if the mobile app was acting buggy. Then on my lunch break or later that evening after work I logged in online, gathered all my thoughts together into a new post, and hit Publish (or scheduled for a date in the future).
And this process worked for a time, or at least I thought, until Thursday hit, and I realized how much I was neglecting. That prolific writer in me completely took over my life in a few short days, and I haven’t seen the sun (or eaten a decent meal or gone to bed at a decent hour) since.
And I don’t want to complain. I mean, I’m happy she’s back and alive. I hope she stays. But Sis, you’ve got to give me a break. I can’t live like this!
There was a time when I thought writing full-time would never be possible for me. There’ve been so many times I’ve talked myself out of pursuing a dream of mine because I didn’t think I was good enough to accomplish it. How long have I been promising that book now? And the plan upgrade I would need to monetize this blog—do I even have the stats for that to be worth it? But then I have to remind myself to keep that Field of Dreams mentality: If you build it, people will come. This week has shown me that consistency produces success.
And no, I am not saying I’m about to quit my job and blog full-time. It is too soon for all that, and knowing my track record, it’s a recipe for fizzling out, and I will NOT fizzle out! I’m just saying that I recognize that the potential is there. That I can make a career out of my writing if I just dedicate myself to it and, more importantly, discipline myself.
That’s my next step. The first step was to find the writer in me again. She’s found! She’s here! Wave your hand so we can acknowledge your presence, Sis! The next step is to keep her under control, without stifling her progress, at least until I’m ready to unleash the beast and see what she can really do when she has all the power.
First, let’s look back at the tentative schedule I made last week for getting back into a writing routine. Well, I can confidently say that I am writing more that 100 words a day! I’ve got my posts scheduled out a week in advance, so when the inspiration well inevitably runs dry (hopefully not for long, though), I have a safety net. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to touch any works in process yet, as I’ve spent the majority of this week working on my blog. But I have thought about the works in progress. That’s a step forward.
However, because my workday is already pretty full and I spend most of my evenings planning posts and making sure to visit other blogs I follow, sometimes late into the night, I think the most feasible option for finding time to dedicate to my works in progress is on the weekends. My weekends usually consist of catching up on TV series and movies, meal planning and prepping, and staring at my walls. Surely, I can carve out 4 hours.
Just don’t let it bleed into meal planning and prep, because we can’t let Thursday happen again. I was starving!
I could also make things easier on myself by starting my days a little earlier. Work is at nine. We’re still working from home for now, so there’s no commute. I could start my day three, maybe even four hours earlier—if I go to bed on time—and get so much accomplished in that time frame.
I’m not a morning person. I’m really not. But I can make myself get up when I know it’s something important. Hey, if I can wake up at 3am to catch an international flight, then surely I can get up at 5 or 6am to spend some time in my writer zone. It’ll be hard switching over from evening writing to morning writing, though. Does my brain work better at night. I don’t think the time of day necessarily matters for me, because I’ve had blasts of inspiration come at me randomly—while I’m driving, while I’m working, in a dream, while I’m in the shower. My problem has always been remembering them by the time I’m in front of a computer or pen and paper.
My only requirement is a mind that’s not busy. And by “not busy” I mean not overcrowded with a million different thoughts in my head—whether angry politics, pandemics, family drama, work stress, etc.—thanks to my purge.
Waking up at 5am may be a tad bit early for me; 6am I could do, but that’s assuming I don’t hit the snooze button six straight times. Once we get to 7am, there’s not much I can do before I have to get ready for work, especially if I want to squeeze in a 45-minute workout. I could work out at night before bed, but I’ve told myself a million times I’m going to do that, and I never have. Truth is I’m more disciplined when I set a time in the morning to work out rather than at night, when the day’s weight is on me, so I won’t change that.
So after all that rambling, what schedule have I decided on?
Well first thing’s first, I must go to bed ONTIME tonight. For me, at least 7 hours is a good night’s rest, so if I want to wake up at 5am, I must be in bed by 10pm, which shouldn’t be hard, because I’m usually dead-dog tired by 8pm, anyway. Where I mess up is that I make myself a cup of tea and stay up another five hours.
If I’m going to bed at 10pm, I must eat dinner at a reasonable hour. So, get off the Spanish dinner eating schedule, Nortina. Dinner is at 6:30pm, no excuses. And you are not Spanish. Even if you’d like to be.
And lastly, let’s write out my morning schedule. I’d like to be optimistic and say I’ll get up at 5am on the dot, but knowing myself, I’ll likely hit that snooze button at least three times. So let’s cautiously say get up at 5:30am. No, the sun will not be up, so I can either write for an hour to two hours and then work out or work out first, wash, make and eat breakfast, and then spend the rest of the time block writing until it’s time to transition to work. Which schedule will work better for me? This may require a little trial and error.
How about I alternate between the two and come back next week, same time, with a final decision. Alright, I’d better go inside and get started on that work in progress. It is the weekend after all!
Written for Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer.
8 thoughts on “#WeekendCoffeeShare: I will not fizzle out!”
I’m trying to start my days earlier. I’ve attempted by setting my alarm early, but I keep pressing “snooze.” Last week I wrote a schedule. Wake up at 5:15 am. Relieve the dogs, make coffee for me, prep food for the dogs at 5:20 am. 5:30am-5:45am walk the dogs…etc… For me that helps because it gives me a reason why I need to wake up early.
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Oh, that’s a great idea! I’ll give that a try
I totally understand the feeling of “overflow”. It happens to me a lot while I’m at work even though work can be crazy busy at times. Fortunately, I work at home on most days and I am mostly unsupervised so I’ve been able to sneak off now and then to free my mind (shh… Don’t tell anyone). 😄
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Haha! Your secret is safe with me!
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Oh, wow. It sounds like we had a similar week! I just scheduled my post about it and can’t say it sounds far off from this one. I’ve been way over productive, too, though more sporadically, and it kept me from doing the one non-writing task I was supposed to accomplish every day.
I recall a job I worked at that got so slow and would leave me in the office for hours all alone with my creativity. I would just open a new email to my personal address and write nonstop during those times. Thank goodness it wasn’t the kind of place that monitored those outgoing emails. Or if they did, the bosses never said anything! LOL Great post. I hope you can get your new schedule pinned down. I’m not a morning person, either so I feel you there. 🙂
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YANA (you are not alone) strikes again! 😀 Finding that balance has definitely been a struggle! When I’m on a roll, I can’t always stop, and when I finally do, I’m too exhausted to do anything else. But with a new week, we can review, adjust, and start again!
I have to admit that in the past I did a lot of blogging during breaks at work, and thought about writing way too often while working. Now I am far too busy! Which may be why my fiction/creative writing has slowed down significantly over the past couple of years.
Glad you have returned to creative writing and blogging. I hope you can find that elusive balance. Maybe the new schedule will work out for you (I do go to bed early and get up early, but I start work at 7, so…) Good luck with it. And good luck with your dream of that Hallmark movie job 😉
Hope you are having a great weekend and have a wonderful week ahead.
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Thank you! I’ve started writing “to do” lists at work to keep my mind on task, but it still has a habit of drifting off on less busy days.
Yes, finding time to write/create with a hectic work schedule is difficult. I’m thankful for this recent burst of creative energy, and I’m hoping with an earlier start to my day it’ll stick around!
Good luck and a fantastic week to you as well!
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