Planning it Out

Slow and steady, change flickers on the horizon. By and large, I have been able to stop working after dinnertime for almost one week straight. This is a tremendous step in the direction–toward balance, toward finding my creative center again. In the evenings, I’ve been readings Sandra Scofield’s Beyond Deserving and a collection of quotes from Ernest Hemingway. Occasionally, I also pick up 66 Square Feet, a delightful little narrative, seasonal cookbook. When I drive, I listen to Audible and just finished a recording of Jen Percy’s Demon Camp and up next is Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners.

I was challenged this week to make a plan for July and show it to a friend. If she wasn’t holding me accountable, I never would have done it. Penciling in deadlines for articles, a trip to Boston, prep for a guest lecture, and student critiques…it all seemed actually do-able. Note, of course, that I’ve set the novel aside for the summer. But then I added in prep at the end of July for the week I’ll be teaching in Michigan in August (I have to ghost-write blog posts for 2 organizations ahead of time, scheduling their publication in advance). I also timed myself this week on email inbox management and am spending a minimum of 45 minutes per day handling basic email tasks, and an average of almost 2 hours  per day actually responding to people in detail for more involved messages. That’s 10 hours per week! A second glance at July had my head spinning.

Glad mine doesn’t look this bad!

My friend and I looked at the messy pages and agreed: Well, it’s not really going to let up until mid-September. Next question? What do I do in order to keep from slipping into the grip of exhaustion between now and then?

I vow to continue taking time off in the evenings, whenever humanly possible. I vow to have 1 sleep-in day a week so that I’m getting 8 hours at least once. I vow to call the local hot soak spa and schedule a mid-day (= cheap) appointment for a soak sometime in July. I vow to keep reading books, because, while it’s not writing, it’s surrounding myself with what I love and that’s a balm.

August will be busy, but comes with the promise of 11 days free from Internet and phone while I backpack The Wonderland Trail with 4 friends. We’ll do almost 100 miles in 9 days and I’m looking forward to unplugging. Meantime: Deep breath. Pop the shoulders. Exhale. And…back to work.

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