A Writing Life: One Day At A Time

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

One Day At A Time


I'm back in my office this week after about a month off. This sounds decadent, I know, but I'm a writer. We don't truly ever take a complete month off. It simply means I wasn't strapped to my desk with a deadline looming over my head, which in and of itself WAS quite decadent. We spent time on vacation and a week in Tahoe with my side of the family for a reunion. I got to see my four nephews, who I adore, and soak in family time.


With a 17 year-old daughter and 15 year-old twin boys, my schedule is not simple. It's not terrible either. It's really quite manageable. But the summer is a time I struggle to buckle down and work. You see, I like my kids. A lot. They're actually my favorite people to hang out with. And summer rocks because they're home. We watch Friends and The Office. We swim in the pool and play Monopoly. We eat ice cream and chat about whotheir favorite pro wrestler is, or if they think Friends should have gone on for another season. Important, life-changing stuff.


But alas, deadlines called to me once again and so I was back in my office today. Don't get me wrong. I love what I do. Love it. Super grateful I GET to do it. And over the past month I've chewed on story ideas, scribbled down scenes that pop in my head, and sketched characters. (We writers really are always writing.) But I sort of panicked today. I have quite a bit to do in the upcoming months. Projects I've worked hard on, opportunities I'm beyond grateful for, and potential stuff I've dreamed of doing for years. All good. But my stress creeps in when I look at all that stuff in one big jumble. It's messy and I hate mess. I'm very orderly.


So, I did what I always do. I started to plan. I'm a ducks in a row kind of girl. And the funny thing is, as soon as I started to map out a plan and look at these projects as daily training for the marathon rather than sprint through, it looked doable. Because...well, it is.


A few years ago I decided to see how much of a half marathon I could run. I'd walked it twice but wanted to push myself some. I'm a glutton for punishment that way. Whenever I thought about 13.1 miles I started to panic, much like when I thought about all the projects currently on my plate. But when I looked at the daily amount of miles I needed to run to work up to 13.1, it seemed doable. So, I took it one day at a time and eventually did my half marathon. Box checked.


I'm a forward thinker. I have to work at being in the moment. I'm getting better at it, but it's still something I have to be intentional about. But life is a marathon, not a sprint. I want to embrace each moment of each day. Whether it's listening to my kids laugh while I make dinner or sit and write for two hours because that's my "training" for the day. I want to take it one step at a time and soak it all in. And eventually, that book gets written or project gets done. With little to no stress, chipping away a little at a time.

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