This could be the year we get our projects done! OK, maybe just one project, the one that's nearest and dearest to our hearts.
If you need inspiration, turn to this post. British musician James Rhodes reminds us: "Do the maths. We can function - sometimes quite brilliantly - on six hours' sleep a night. Eight hours of work was more than good enough for centuries (oh the desperate irony that we actually work longer hours since the invention of the internet and smartphones). Four hours will amply cover picking the kids up, cleaning the flat, eating, washing and the various etceteras. We are left with six hours. 360 minutes to do whatever we want. Is what we want simply to numb out and give Simon Cowell even more money? To scroll through Twitter and Facebook looking for romance, bromance, cats, weather reports, obituaries and gossip? To get nostalgically, painfully drunk in a pub where you can't even smoke?"
A call to arms!
Surely we can find an hour a day, several times a week, to get our creative work done. I've recently had an epiphany.
I finally plugged in my laptop, and because my brother-in-law has been in the guest room where I usually write, I've been writing at the dining room table. The dining room-kitchen-living room flow is open, and so, I can write while my spouse watches TV, I can write while he practices his violin, I can write while my spouse and his brother eat. I can participate in the discussion and then return to the writing.
It's very different from being shut away in an office. And I realize that I'm lucky, in that I can work on writing projects while life swirls around me. I don't need absolute quiet. I can be distracted for a bit, and then get back to work.
Since my brother-in-law arrived two weeks ago, I've gotten more work done on my memoir project than I've gotten done in the past 6 months. It will be interesting to see what I will have managed to accomplish by this time next year.
I want to have my memoir finished and polished and as perfect as I can make it. By summer, I want to be sending queries to agents.
It's time to revisit a book-length manuscript of poems. Instead of separating out the religious material, I'll put in the best of my religious poems, the best of my apocalyptic poems, the best of my modern life poems. It may mean that some of my individual poems from the early years of this century don't find a home where they live together.
Or maybe those cold war/end of the cold war poems should be a chapbook. Now that's an interesting idea--all the nuclear stuff that's beginning to feel dated, as I spend more time worrying about sea level rise, maybe it's not a book with a spine, but a chapbook. Hmmm.
My best writer friend in South Florida tells me that my short stories are ready for publication. It's time to think about which ones go in the linked collection, and which ones don't make the cut. I'm so bad a compiler in that aspect. Once I've committed to finding the individual pieces (short stories, poems, blog posts, whatever) a home, it's hard for me to say, "Nope. Not good enough for the larger collection." It's hard for me even to say, "Nope. Doesn't fit with the larger vision."
Those are my larger goals, along with my smaller goals, to write a short story every 6-8 weeks, to write a new poem every week, to blog daily.
James Rhodes reminds us of what can be done, even if we don't have much time: "What if for a couple of hundred quid you could get an old upright on eBay delivered? And then you were told that with the right teacher and 40 minutes proper practice a day you could learn a piece you've always wanted to play within a few short weeks. Is that not worth exploring?"
He's talking in piano terms, but the lesson holds true across a variety of artistic forms and disciplines of all sorts (just 40 minutes of exercise each and every day would work wonders; 40 minutes of veggie eating would mean we'd easily consume the 5-9 servings each day that would make us so healthy; 40 minutes of quality time with friend/lover/spouse/child would deepen our relationships; 40 minutes of volunteering would leave the world a better place . . . on and on I could go).
That's my plan, and I post it here: 40 minutes of writing, 40 minutes of veggie eating, 40 minutes of exercise, 40 minutes of paying attention to humans face-to-face, 40 minutes of good deeds. Let's see what I can do.
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