Rainy days: Dealing with the backlog

This week has been insanely busy. I’m trying to work out how and why. It seems like time had just spun around into a big mess, like chewing gum in hair. So, my planned post didn’t happen. Of course, I’ve been beating myself up about this. But then again, these things happen and we all know what happens when writer’s start doing their own heads in. (Last week I dressed up all 1920s and watched The Shining for Halloween. That reminded me, ‘All work and no play makes Dane go fucking mental.’)

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I’ve been contemplating the nature of this blog lots too. The main reason I started it was so there is somewhere for people to find my stories, but a wise friend said, if I’m working all the time to post things on here, then I won’t get around to any creative writing. So, I supposed I’ve decided to relax a bit, and consequently these posts will sometimes just have me telling you how it is for me. And this week, life has been full on. And, on reflection, the problem has been, ironically, the my planning and clear focus!

At first my 15 minute planning process really worked. It really helped me focus on what I wanted to do, but part of the process was to put all the things that distracted me into a list called For a Rainy Day. That was great at first, I was really productive, but over time all the things that were not priorities, the things I shoved away to the Rainy Day list built up. Rather than slowly chipping away at them, which would be my normal process, I merely pushed them to the side and in my mind they just got bigger and bigger and finally swallowed me whole. Having these things pushed to the side made me feel like I wasn’t really present because some part of me was waiting for these things to be addressed, finished, done. It didn’t feel like I was in control of my life and I didn’t like that. I like being present and find it hard to enjoy my life with a backlog of things I wanted to do towering over my mind.

So I’ve adjusted my weekly planning process to be more flexible. Or maybe I’ve just realising that my goals are bigger than the three things I thought I wanted to focus on. Being human and enjoying life are other things that are really important to me. Spontaneity is some thing I love too, so I’ve decided to be less hard on myself and to write my plans with my idiosyncrasies in mind. The weekly planning and reflecting process is great. It gives me a time to think about what I’m doing, where I’m going and how things are working. I’ll keep doing that, but I’ll also bend the rules to fit how I feel that week. I’ll let it become what it was supposed to be, a tool for when I’m stuck, not a strict process of focus. Focus is good but utter focus is a bit too much for my liking.

I work full time and have recovered from a massive writer’s block (because I really over-did things), so I have to be careful that writing is fun and something I want to do, and not a chore on a list. So now, sometimes I do things backwards (which I’m very good at). Sometimes, I just go with the flow and trust myself, and write my weekly goals retrospectively. At the end of the week I make a list of the things I’ve done rather than a list of things to do. And you know what, I do trust myself to do the things I need and want to do. I’m truly rubbish at sitting still, but I’m also good at knowing when I need to relax. After being myself for this long, I think I’m also good at reflecting and making a clear plan of what to focus on anyway. So maybe this is my planning and reflecting process evolving and becoming more mine, or maybe I’ve learnt I’m pretty driven anyhow. Most probably, a bit of both.

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