So here it it, the second week of February (already!!) and I am sitting at my desk (an old piano converted into a wonderful work space) feeling completely overwhelmed.
A couple contests to enter (which includes preparing and proofing the entries.)
I have stacks of chapters to critique from my two critique groups, and chapters to edit before I can put them up for critique.
I signed up for three workshops this month, because they all three dealt with things I need to work on in my writing and couldn't choose just one. So now I have three sets of lessons to pore through twice a week, pulling the gems out and trying to commit them to memory. I have three sets of homework to do.
I also signed up for my GIAM loop's Tour de Force, where we commit to writing 50,000 words in the month of February. I did this because my work in progress was progressing slower than a blind slug, and with about as much direction.
I have a multitude of legal work at the office that must be done, and three young kids when I get home, each trying to outdo the other at the game of Who Can Make The Biggest Mess by slinging frozen corn and dried cereal around the kitchen and living room. (No, I did not make that up. My kids played that game just yesterday, laughing like loons until they saw my face.)
As I sit here, going through these things, I see a pattern. I say to myself, "Self, you're an idiot. You do this to yourself. You signed up for all these things, and chose to do them all at once. 50,00 words in February? Really? And with everything else you've got going on? Idiot."
But here's the thing I've discovered, and it applies not just to writing but to life. If you don't strive, if you don't sign up, if you don't grab at knowledge with both hands and with no reservations, you get nowhere, you learn nothing and you achieve very little. If you wait until your schedule is clear, you'll be dead before it's done. Because life is busy. It serves to fill every waking moment you have, and if you don't chose to fill them with useful things, then life will fill them with things like watching when pets attack, or doing laundry or cleaning toilets. (All of a sudden the to do list seems far less terrible, doesn't it?)
I guess what I'm saying is that life is busy no matter what. You may as well choose to fill it with the things you love, the things that interest you. And if you can't meet every goal, or put 100 percent effort into every thing, that's okay. You still will get a lot out of it, and with writing--well, the beautiful thing there is you get to edit until it's as close to perfect as you can make it. Unlike life itself, or my blog.
How do you guys deal with all the stuff you have to do? What do your to do lists look like? (And if any of you is a toddler whisperer, please get me your info--I have some advice I'd like to get from you.)