With the coming of the New Year, I’m attempting to recommit to my riding and my writing. Over the past couple years, I’ve struggled with finding time for my riding and my writing.
Even though I completed and submitted two books before the end of 2010, it took almost two years to finish the one book and the other was only 25,000 words. There was a time when I could write a 100,000 words in a month. I’d write like I was on fire, so full of ideas they just raced onto the page. I haven’t been able to re-capture the passion of writing in the past couple years.
It seems I come home from my day job and am too exhausted to do something which requires mental energy. In fact, once I finish dinner and deal with other demands on my time, I find myself sitting on the couch reading or watching TV. Even when I try to write, most of what I write is forced. This is not like me.
In order to regain my passion for writing, I actually chose a topic which doesn’t sell well but is a definite interest of mine: football. My next romance novel features a football hero. While I did fall in love with the hero and heroine, the writing still didn’t come easily. Currently, I’m writing the sequel and struggling to find the words to put on paper. I even added a cat character and a few horses, hoping they’d give me incentive. So far, it’s not working.
When I write, I like to crawl into the characters’ heads and lose myself. I become the characters and get lost in the zone. I’ll be constantly imagining scenes in my head while commuting to work or merely sitting around watching TV. So far, that’s not happening. Not like I want it to happen.
Which brings me to riding as I believe the two are related. My passion for riding has waned along with my passion for writing. I’ve barely ridden in the past two years. I might ride a few times a week when Gailey is sound. I can count on one hand the times I’ve managed to ride 4 days a week in the past couple years. As a result, I have put in about 10 pounds per year. Riding has always been my preferred workout method. Without it, I’ve packed on the pounds. I’m appalled when I see pictures of myself.
I’m constantly feeling guilty because I’ll stop by the barn but not ride. It’s quite easy anymore for me to talk myself out of riding:
It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I’m too tired. There’re too many people in the arena. There’s no one in the arena.
Last month Gailey came up lame in her front leg this time. I’m to start bringing her back slowly. Slow is not a problem. Bringing her back is a problem. So far, I haven’t put a saddle on her or taken her out of her stall.
Somehow, I need to find the ambition and energy to regain my passion for riding and writing. I’m always better under pressure. I’m hoping I can find a way to put pressure on myself to increase my consistency.
For one, my new publisher won’t put my series name on my first book unless they have the 2nd book in the series in hand. This makes perfect sense as many publishers get burned by authors submitting book 1 of a series and no subsequent books. The publication date for Fourth and Goal is May. I would most likely need to have book 2 submitted by April 1 or sooner. Now that’s pressure. Whether it’s enough. I haven’t a clue.
On to the riding part of the equation. I’m not showing anymore, which was the incentive I used to ride in the past. I need to lose weight, yet so far that incentive hasn’t worked for me. In fact, I cringe every time I ride by the arena mirrors and glance at my fat body bouncing around on the back of my mare. I used to be one of the thinnest people at the barn, now I’m the opposite.
I’m at a loss as to how to motivate myself for riding. Possible weight loss isn’t doing it. Showing is pretty much out of the question based on Gailey’s soundness issues, but also not an option financially.
I want my passion back. I want to look forward to going to the barn every day. I want to think about how much fun it will be to get on the back of my horse and learn something new. I want to feel those feelings again. I haven’t been making riding a priority, as it once was in my life. Everything else takes priority, even watching TV.
I don’t know how to get my passion back? Can you force passion? Can a person force themselves into a writing and riding routine, create a habit of doing both, and in the process re-create the passion? Or will it make me resent the time away from other things? Quitting is not an option; and believe me, I’ve considered it. Books and horses have been a part of my life since I was old enough to walk. I cannot picture a life without them, yet I seem to be at a loss as to how to fit them into my current life. I’m too busy, and most likely too stressed with day-to-day obligations and chores. By the time I get off work at night, I just want to crash.
Maybe I need to look into supplements or vitamins and approach my lack of ambition from a physical point of view.
I know we all struggle with priorities and finding time in our busy lives. What’s worked for some of you? How do you juggle your day job, your family obligations, and still leave room for your passions, your hobbies, yourself? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.