Wednesday, February 3

On Taking The Time...

It's come to my attention that I think a lot about how things are going to be. I think about the next contract and the next book. I salivate over the next vacation or a dinner-and-movie date with RadioMan. I get excited thinking about bebe's first swim meet and worry that she's still struggling with double-digit subtraction over 20 and think about how much simpler homework will be when she doesn't need quite so much hand-holding.

Nothing is wrong with thinking about any of those things.

Everything can become wrong if I only focus on those 'what will be things' things.

You all know I'm on an organization kick, and that my word for the year is FOCUS - focus so I can get the projects done, focus so I can enjoy the little moments, Focus, focus, focus.

Monday was a bad writing day for me. I had a goal of 3,000 words and ended up with barely 1,500. Not a bad wordcount? No, it isn't. But it wasn't my goal and I kind of beat myself up about it. While we were eating dinner I was thinking about how I could squeeze another 1,500 words out instead of listening to my kid tell me about her spelling test. While RadioMan and I were watching a DVR'd episode of The Blacklist I was thinking about how, if we just waited to watch the episode, I could definitely get those words in. When bebe and I were reading her bedtime story, the same thought was going through my head: stop reading, just make her go to bed, you have work to do, this is important stuff!

We finished the chapter, but I read as fast as I could. RadioMan wanted to hang out in the TV room, but I blew him off and went to my office and shut the door. And sat at the computer. The words were gone. I had no idea what to write. I futzed around on Facebook for a few minutes. I opened the manuscript doc again. Still no words. I needed 1,500 words, dammit, why weren't they coming to me?

I went back out to the TV room and announced we could watch a show. I had my spiral notebook with me, just in case the words started to come. He wouldn't notice if I wrote just a little during the show. But RadioMan was already watching basketball and enjoying the game. He didn't want to spend time with me! Waah! Of course, I'd already blown him off, half-listened during dinner and fumed my way through a bedtime story. All because I'd had errands and laundry and grocery shopping to do - the same as every Monday morning - that had taken me longer than usual.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up and realized what I'd done with my day: I had wasted it. Not because I didn't hit my wordcount, but because of all the ways I tried to make the words flow instead of taking the time with my family. I'd lost the point of my word for the year, and instead of focusing on the moment - be it a writing moment or a wife moment or a mommy moment or a friend moment - I'd thrown it away. In the grand scheme of things, taking those 15 minutes to really be into bebe's bedtime story didn't throw off my wordcount. Watching that show with RadioMan didn't. Having a family dinner didn't.

It was just a bad day, filled with a lot of obligations. I'd scheduled too much into a single day and didn't take that into account when I made out my wordcount goals for the week - I was focused on the end-goal of having this book completed so I could start on the next rather than knowing that this book will, in fact, be finished on time and that 1,500 words isn't going to throw my whole schedule into a tailspin.

So, while my word for the year is still FOCUS, and that focus still requires a schedule, I'm going to remind myself not to over-schedule...because if I can't read a book with my kid or laugh at the TV with my husband, what the heck is the point?

15 comments:

  1. Excellent post, Kristi. Sometimes I think the worst words we can use are "I can't wait..." Of course we can, and we can enjoy ourselves while we're doing it.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your day. Every single part of this post resonated with me. Good luck on making the word count the rest of the week, but enjoy your family time too. (Hey, at least your guy wanted to watch TV with you. Mine heads straight for WoW on his laptop after the kids go to bed.) ;)

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  3. Boy, I hate saying these words but here goes - at my age (eeeee!) I've learned to not fixate on something so hard I lose sight of other important things like being with friends or family. I've learned that I ALWAYS get things done, just always how I like or when. I've learned to relax and trust myself. I'm a hard worker and some days just flow different than others.

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    1. they do, Em! And i'm learning that...slowly but surely! :D

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  4. What a great, thoughtful post, Kristi! I'm sharing it with Son because sometimes we all need to be reminded that family time is never ever wasted time. Sometimes what you think you need just doesn't happen, so chilling and focusing on what IS happening is how you handle it. Hugs, baby, and those words will come in good time. They always do.

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    1. they came today, as a matter of fact! :D Hope Son likes the post...

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  5. Kristina, I could have written this post word for word. Life gets in the way of my word count too. Instead of accepting the fact that life happens, and I need to flow with it, I beat myself up just like you do. We need to start a FOCUS BUDDY CLUB. lol! Thanks for sharing your day.

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  6. Great post, Kristi! I think it's a helpful/hopeful reminder for everyone. I have to admit, I wonder about you and Radioman, if you laugh during The Blacklist. LOL

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    1. we actually do. we're morbid that way, but when Red randomly kills someone for doing something really, really bad, we exchange a look and giggle. Please don't report us to the asylum! :D

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  7. Very good post, Kristi, and I'm sorry I'm just getting to it! I usually find myself in an opposite quandary: the inspiration to write is there, but other obligations keep me from it (job, kids, etc) and I find myself resenting them for it. Either way, it's not healthy and we both need to work on stepping back and living in the moment, don't we?

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    1. yes, living in the moment is SO important!! Thanks for visiting, Ava.

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  8. It's so hard to juggle all the I wants. You seem to handle it better than most. I have been playing on the computer since five this am (minus time for a nap and meals) with NO WORDS completed.

    Focus - it's what I'm reaching for.

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