writing

Sunday Morning Writing Forever

The Sunday before the start of school, Tamara gave me the gift of a morning by myself to write. She took the boys to the Gunpowder River for a hike and a swim, and I sat down of my bed with my laptop to reflect on my summer and the general status of my 2020 life.

Whew.

It’s crazy to look back at things I wrote in December 2019 and January 2020 – at the intentions I set for this year. Who could have possibly known what was to come in 2020? The challenges we’d all be facing? The ways this year would be unlike any other?

When I reflect on my current status, I’m happy with how things are going in every area of my life – except my writing. I didn’t meet any of my goals related to writing this summer, and I’ve been thinking a lot about that. There was a lot happening this summer, and either my writing plans weren’t realistic or I just wasn’t diligent about sticking to them. I’d planned to write every morning and every naptime, and it just didn’t happen. I spent a lot of naptimes either reading books, talking to friends, tidying (more on this at some point), or completing tasks related to community work or private practice. (More on PP at some point, too!) I’ve had moments where I questioned myself – am I procrastinating? Am I lacking faith in my ability, and thus developing reasons to not write? Every time I asked these questions, I was able to reassure myself and say: Writing is STILL a goal. There are just other things on my plate right now, and they’re really important, too.

The school year has started. Usually, for me, this is a transition to the time of year when I write less. I’m busier, and it’s harder to find the time to get it done. I’m hoping to pull a rabbit out of a hat this year, and actually shift into writing more. The only way that can really happen is if I a) get back to waking up at 4 a.m. and b) schedule a couple of Sunday Morning Writing times every month with Tamara. I can do both of those things. I’ve been able to do the 4 a.m. wake-up a few times over the past two weeks, and I have a plan for Sunday Morning Writing later in September.

But, I also recognize that it’s possible life will settle into place, and I’ll realize that I can’t do as much writing as I’d like to. And that’ll be okay, too. My three top priorities, as always, are family, service, and writing. If the first two overpower the third sometimes – then it is what it is.

That said – I made the most of my Sunday Morning Writing time the weekend before school started. I wrote a batch of blog posts and scheduled them for throughout September. I feel really good about switching to just posting once a week; though I never think of the blog as something I “have to” do, it felt discouraging this summer not to meet my personal goal of posting twice a week. Writing the batch of blog posts felt really good. This blog is, as always, the place I come to when I’m processing my life and making sense of the world around me. I always feel better when I’m blogging regularly.

Cheers to Sunday Morning Writing, and to slowing it all down this September. Happy almost fall, everyone!

autumn fall forest leaves
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balance · self-care

Monthly Mantra: Slow It All Down

Here’s my new idea for the blog: monthly mantras.

Stay with me.

I started out 2020 planning to have a theme for every month, and it didn’t work out at all. Maybe it will someday. I always enjoy making the lists of themes, for sure! But my blogging is a little more sporadic than thematic these days.

For August, I changed it up. Instead of announcing a theme and making a list of goals, I just gave myself a mantra: keep it simple. I remembered it, too, as the month progressed. If I started to get overwhelmed, I just asked myself what the next right thing to do was, and I did my best to focus on that and nothing else. Not always easy – but simple.

I love the idea of a monthly mantra, and I’m sticking with it for September.

This month, my biggest worry is: How do I transition to the new school year, and maintain my commitments to service work, community activism, side hustle private practice, writing, and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) family? 

Whoa. I get overwhelmed just writing the list! So, a mantra is definitely in order. And the one I have chosen is: slow it all down. 

When my life gets crazy, I have a tendency to be off and running. I get less mindful, less present, more productive, and increasingly stressed. I need to remind myself to slow it all down before the month and my days start running away from me.

When I slow it all down, I can see what’s doable and what’s not. I can see when I need to say no to new commitments or take things off my plate. I can see when I need more family time, a long run, or a healthy meal. I can see – when I stop it all from going by too fast.

Cheers to slowing it all down, and to my new monthly mantra tradition! May it be more successful than my 2020 themes, and may it help me to remember what’s really important every single day.

rainbow painting
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goals

Weird New Year

It’s naptime, and my boys are sleeping. It’s a stormy Saturday, and I’m enjoying the sound of the rain on the roof. Well, it’s making me want to take a nap, sort of, but I haven’t had much time to write lately, so I’m powering through. (For the moment.)

As I write this, the start of the 2020/2021 school year is two days away. I have butterflies about what this year is going to be like. It’s such an odd start to the year; I won’t resume my daily commute, and I won’t get the chance to catch up with co-workers in the hallways of our school. I won’t get that much more Adult Time than I’ve had over the summer. Edgar is starting an outdoor pre-school in a couple of weeks, and I’m excited and nervous about that; he’s had so much time at home with me this spring and summer that I’m a little worried the transition will be challenging.

I also am experiencing some nervousness about how all the different things I’ve been involved in over the summer, and how they’ll all fit into my regular-ish work/life routine.

And, to be honest – I’m a little sad about the Didn’t Get To Do’s of this summer. We missed out on a beach vacation because of a tropical storm, and we spent little time at the beach, which is usually the highlight of my summer. We didn’t get to do too many fun or unusual things, or even get to see that many family or friends. There is so much I’m grateful for – my family and my friends are healthy, we’ve so far been relatively untouched by COVID-19, and it’s really been just a lovely summer at home with my boys.

But – it’s just a tiny bummer to be starting the school year feeling like we didn’t all get the rich, fulfilling, novel, and refreshing summer that we sometimes get. Definitely #firstworldproblems – but I think it’s healthy and okay to acknowledge the little disappointments that we’re all experiencing right now, even the ones that are minuscule in the Big Picture of 2020 life.

That said – one of the consistent things about me is that I always love a fresh start. And a new school year is certainly that. I’m excited to get better at teletherapy, to re-connect with my students, and to appropriately incorporate some of the social justice work I’ve been doing into my day job.

I’m also excited to get back to a regular writing routine. That sounds a little funny, coming off of My Summer Of Not Much Writing. But Tamara’s work is slowing down now, and the start of the school year might be a good opportunity for me to stop staying up late and get back to my morning writing routine.

So much is happening; life is busy and full right now. More to come. Happy September!

dried leaves on brown wooden table
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balance

Categories: Geeking It Up

Now feels like a good time to reflect on where things are at, in life and in blogging, and hit the reset button wherever needed. And one of the ways I like to reflect is by geeking out about my blog post categories.

I’ve geeked out about categories before – see here. I really enjoy examining my list of categories from time to time. It helps me to brainstorm what I want to write about, and it helps me to not become overwhelmed by all the different things to write about. (Like, yes, we did eat a delicious home-cooked meal last night – but I don’t really write about food, so I can just enjoy my eggplant parm for what it is.)

I decided to pare down my list of categories a little, and here’s what I came up with:

  • Writing.
  • Books + Reading.
  • Adoption.
  • Family + Parenting.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Self-Care.
  • Goals.
  • Rhythm + Routine + Rituals.
  • Wellness + Recovery.
  • Balance.

These are the topics I love to think about and write about.

Often my posts are dictated by what’s happening in my life at a particular moment, and I think that will most likely continue. I would love to have a little more intention to my planning, but with all the responsibilities I’m balancing, I feel blessed if I’m able to steal a little writing time to write about whatever the heck is on my mind.

It does feel nice, though, to have a tight list of ten categories I can look to when I’m writing and planning. It helps me to pay attention to where my thoughts and my words are at any particular moment, and it might help me to have a little more balance in my blogging. MIGHT. All caps. We shall see.

doe walking near path in forest
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balance

Changing It Up

My blogging schedule has been really off this summer. My schedule for writing fiction has been even worse. 

So recently, I made a decision. I’m going to change my expectation of myself related to blogging. and I’m going to aim to just publish one post per week instead of two. I feel really good about this; it’ll give me a little more space to write fiction and to pursue other writing opportunities that have come up.

This possibility hadn’t really occurred to me until last weekend. I was bemoaning how little fiction writing I’ve managed to get done this summer, and how off my blogging productivity has been lately. Then I realized – no one is pressuring me to post on the blog twice a week. I also realized – I’m not posting twice a week, and I feel just a tiny bit like I’ve failed at something whenever I don’t meet that personal goal.

It feels like a good time to adjust expectations and set new intentions. This month, I am acutely aware of the school year approaching (first day is 8/31), and of the need for a new balance. There’s family, writing, private practice (!!!), household tasks (more on that soon), baby steps in the area of community organizing and social justice (more on that later!), mindfulness work, and, of course, the day job.

THERE IS SO MUCH.

And yet, there’s time for all of it.

Looking forward to blogging with less frequency, but, perhaps, with increased intentionality. Cheers to August, and cheers to my air conditioning being fixed today!

close up photography of cup of coffee
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