Sunday, 10 August 2014

Goals & the Value of Slowing Down

First, let's take a look at my goals for last week to see what I've accomplished:
  • Keep up to date with the DIY MFA prompts
Day 1 went fine, Day 2, sort of. And after that - the less said the better.
  • Comment on my ROW80 team's blogs
I'm doing that tonight, commenting on both Wednesday's and today's blogs.

Which leads nicely into something I read in a newsletter I'm subscribed to.

Writing is a luxury.

If it's not what you do for a living, then it's a luxury.

You'd think- I know I used to! - that it would be so easy to just pencil in a half hour or a couple of hours or whatever to sit down and write. But it just doesn't work like that. Not in my life, anyway. Sure, I can pencil in writing times, but that's no guarantee they're going to happen!

So that's why I tried the ol' 15-minute writing experiment. If I can't get a 2 hour session, then let's get at least one 15-minute session per day.

Which will segue nicely into one achievement (of sorts) that I didn't plan for this week.

In the one and only 15 minutes I had this week, I wrote the grand total of two ideas on a scene beat sheet for my opening scene.

(Why am I back to the novel again after walking into a brick wall with my hero? Well, it occurred to me that the hero doesn't really come into the novel in a significant way until Sequence 2, so there was no reason why I couldn't go back and write the new scenes for Sequence 1.)

Jim Denney explained why it's hard to write when anything emotional crops up. (Go check out his book Writing in Overdrive. It's a gem.) And I can't think of anything more emotional than where I'm at in my life right now.

Goal setting

So where does this leave me in terms of ROW80? If I can't guarantee regular writing time, how am I to achieve any goals I set? There's nothing more disheartening than setting goals and not being able to reach them.

I'm very slowly making my way through a Waldorf online course at the moment - should have considered that when I set those goals! - and one of the aspects of Waldorf in early childhood that I love is the idea of a daily rhythm, of slowing down, of being in the moment, of the child knowing what's going to happen throughout his day and feeling safe and nurtured in his world.

Slowing down is the key. It's why I go to the Community Fires. It's why I'm drawn to the Waldorf early childhood ethos. It's why my hero's words - I can't be what you want me to be - has started me off on a spiritual journey.

This was going to be a short post, believe it or not, but the words and ideas are spilling out so I'll let them go free. Stream of Consciousness-style.

Anyway, I haven't a clue where my writing fits into a 'Live in the Moment' life that is slow and mindful. Maybe I need to go to a quiet place, get slow and mindful, breathe deep and just ask the question and see what answer I get.

I'll make THAT my goal for this week.

Please check out the other ROW80 writers to see how they're doing this week.

Shan's comment below reminded me that I actually do write every day - I keep forgetting about my journalling! I'm a writer. Maybe I'm not a novelist, but I AM a writer. :)


  1. Hi there! We've been radical unschoolers for the past 6 years, now, and I've learned a tremendous amount about slowing down and living in the moment. A major difference, though, is that our children decide a vast majority of what they do with their time.

    They're 10 and nearly 13 now, and I have a great deal more time for my own pursuits than I did a year or two ago.

    I disagree that writing is a luxury unless one is getting paid for it. Writing is communication. Communication is essential to understanding and connecting. Money? Not by far my personal prime motivator.

    I tend to write in very short bursts when my children are awake and need me, and longer sessions a few times a week. I try to always have a few things in play, so that I can fit the project to the time I have available.

    I hope you'll find the time to get in those 15 minute (or even 5 minute!) sessions. I'm rooting for you! =)

  2. Hi Shan, and thank you so much for dropping by.

    Thank you for reminding me of something I keep forgetting to include in writing - journalling. You're so right when you say writing is communication - and I certainly do a lot of that type of writing every. single. day. I cannot imagine a day going by without me writing something in my journal. It keeps me sane!

    I think the "writing is a luxury" idea is that writing novels/novellas/short stories and so on - those types of things are a luxury. They're not required to keep the house running. They're not necessary to do for the wellbeing of family members. They're not even necessary, it would seem, for my own wellbeing (as long as I get to write in my journal each night!).

    But what you have helped me to see is that what I'm trying to accomplish in my day is simply impossible. I am finding it difficult to write a NOVEL with how my days unfold. That is not to say that I cannot write something *shorter*. A poem. A song. A flash fiction, perhaps? A haiku. Start and finish something SHORT.

    So thank you for stopping by and helping me to move forward with a more optimistic mindset! :)

  3. It's easy to be all over the place. So many mentors have told me writers need to block out time during the week, i.e. Monday afternoon etc - no excuses. Tried and failed every time. For the past month I have set up a weekly calendar and divided my days into afternoon and evening (i'm not a morning person). The idea is that have about 4 of those blocks coloured in (to indicate when I did write). This makes my time more flexible, also gives me a visual and for some reason encourages me to be productive.

    1. That's a really good idea! Aim for a certain number of blocks of time per week, and there's flexibility as to when they happen. I like it! This is a tip I'll have to put into practice. Thank you!


Hi! I love reading new comments so thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to get back to you to continue the conversation. :)