The Seekers have been giving all kinds of pep talks, how-tos, craft posts, encouragement, and everything in between this month. As I looked back over the topics at hand, it was hard to come up with something that hasn’t been posted to encourage everyone to try just a bit harder, write a bit longer, and strive to reach their goals every day without fail.
What else was on my plate or was added during the month? Bookkeeping duties for three family businesses, and working as the treasurer for ACFW. Oh, and babysitting my sweet grands. This bottleneck of stacked tasks will ease up in a few weeks, but I’ll still get to babysit my little darlings part time while still keeping up with the bread-and-butter of work related tasks.
So far, we have writing, bookkeeping, meal planning, housework, babysitting, and the occasional two-am bovine labor-and-delivery emergency or the sick calf. My elderly mom needs my help more and more these days. And, my sweet Mimi-cat is expecting kittens any day! My plate’s beginning to look like a platter!
If I look at the whole platter at once, I often wonder how I’ll get it all done. Delegation, Dedication, and a Do-or-Die attitude is the answer. Not to mention a lot of prayer. I had to push a small portion of my March goals to the side of the plate. Other things had to be done immediately…the proposal had a hard deadline; the novella a hard deadline; the babies must be fed and changed. And rocked. A lot. That goes without saying! Tax returns on three businesses are due May 17th. Thank the Lord for the extra month!
What I’m trying to say is that sometimes we have to burn the candle at both ends if we want something bad enough. Life isn’t going to stop while we write our novel.
It just isn’t.
Looking at my plate/platter again, I keep thinking (not for the first time) how cool it would be if I was uber organized and could eat a bite of each thing every day, rotating so that I have a nice balanced “meal” of writing 1000 words in the morning, then working an hour on social media, then an hour or two on business, and so on and so on, starting over the next day, keeping all the balls in the air at all times.
But, my days never go that way. Invariably, I get broadsided by fires that have to be put out immediately, or looming deadlines and have to work until the wee hours of the morning to meet them.
Am I just not organized enough? Perhaps. Or perhaps I'm TOO organized, but I fight my own nature because it doesn't fit what's considered normal. Perhaps I work better under pressure, and gobbling one thing at a time on my plate is my work model rather than taking a bite of this, then that, then something else.
What do I mean? As a child, I was notorious for eating one thing at a time. I’d eat all my chicken first, then my bread, then my peas, then I might take a few sips of my tea at the end of the meal. As a teenager, I distinctly remember forcing myself to eat a bite of each thing on my plate and to sip on my drink between bites so that my eating habits wouldn’t look so odd. Apparently, my parents didn’t think it was odd to eat just one thing at a time. I never remember them trying to correct or change me. But someone must have said something to make me become self-conscious.
What does that say about me? Am I destined to gobble my favorite tasks all up before I move on to the next one? Will I never be able to have a balanced, healthy day of doing a little bit of each task so that I feel like I’ve accomplished something in each area that day?
Seriously, folks, I am NOT making this stuff up. As a matter of fact, after I wrote my post, I began to wonder if anyone had done any research on this. Turns out they have. I found an article on the Huffington Post regarding this very phenomenon. I just discovered that I'm an Isolationist, even though I trained myself to eat a bit of everything on my plate, it’s not my nature. Wow, there's a name for that? lol
But get this...
So, if you’re still with me on this wild and crazy zigzag of a post, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. It’s okay to eat one thing at a time. And when possible, it's okay to finish one task before you go on to the next. There’s nothing wrong with spending days working on taxes/ social media/ cooking/ cleaning/ gardening/ day job, etc., and not even looking at your manuscript. But you still have to carve out big chunks of time to write if you want to get it done. I'm not giving you a license to procrastinate! If you're an isolationist, you might very well go dark for four or five days at a time to do nothing except write, especially if the deadline is looming. :)
Having said that, we know that a novel can’t be written in one sitting (aka one meal) before we move on to something else. Apparently my nature is to write in marathon chunks that unfortunately include burning the midnight oil instead of short spurts of 1K every morning, as much as I would love to do that every day. That’s not to say that I can't be more intentional meeting that 1K a day goal. I changed my own eating habits, didn't I? Knowing why and how my brain operates is half the battle.
Are you an isolationist? If so, do you also have a “disciplined and border-line stubborn tendency to complete one task before moving on to another?”
CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. www.pamhillman.com