After spending my last several blogs gushing (and hopefully not boring everyone) about my trip to Africa I decided to shift back to my seemingly endless journey as a writer. After reading Alison's great post about the book fair and the challenges of promoting her book, I found myself re-energized in my quest to publish my first full length novel.
In addition to teaching and training horses full time, as well as my own competitive career in Dressage, I have spent much of my writing career producing non-fiction articles (usually horse-related) and promotional materials for other companies. It has done a good job of paying the bills but distracts from my own personal quest to publish a novel. In past blogs I have solicited and received great advice on how to be more disciplined in the time I measure out to write "my stuff" and input on keeping the plot organized when having to take breaks from writing in order to make a living.
Like it seems for all of us, life and finding quiet time to write is an ongoing juggling act. I get that, but for me it also comes down to setting the right priorities. I am very guilty of being too available to my clients some times and not defining clear enough boundaries. I tend to spin my wheels trying to be all things to everyone rather than simply saying no once in a while. Well, today I started a new trend. I turned off my phone, locked my doors, turned on my head phones and wrote for 3 hours nearly uninterrupted; if you don't count the cat trying to sleep on my computer keys a couple of times. And I feel great for it!!!! For a long while now I have felt the need to make changes in my perspective. Maybe it is menopausal 50's or maybe just me finally growing up, but I have been feeling a sense or urgency to do the things, like Africa, and accomplish the goals, like my book and my new horse, that have been a part of my consciousness for so long.
Well I am turning the page (pun intended). I am not abandoning my job as a teacher and trainer, (I love it too much), and I am not going to completely stop my non-fiction pursuits, (bills have to get paid), but I am going to scale back significantly. Right or wrong, I put much of my personal life experiences and characters in my real life into my writing. One of my horse characters is very similar to a "problem-child colt" I had in training a few years ago and the adolescent girl in the story has a little bit of every teenage girl I have taught over the years. So becoming a hermit to just write would not work for me anyway and I think I would go a little stir crazy.
I have though, set out a schedule for myself of milestones I want to reach over the next 6 months. Do you think this is a good idea? What works for all of you to keep yourself on some sort of a deadline? I have always worked best under pressure which is really just a way of enabling my tendency to procrastinate. So, I am open to any and all suggestions.
On a separate note, this past weekend I took a big step toward to another big goal on my "bucket list" of sorts - compete at the FEI level in Dressage. Well Uiver, my new horse, and I competed Prix St. George (the first rung of FEI) this past weekend. We, or I should say I, made mistakes on my tempi changes, but we were fairly competitive in a big open class. I will have photos and more details on my next blog. In the meantime any words of advice to keep me on my schedule would be greatly appreciated!