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Creativity, Work-life

You’ve probably got a lot going on–and that’s OK

I drafted this post on the plane while heading home after a trip to visit family, during which I worked my 9-to-5, deliberated on and put in an offer on a house (!?!?!), did some other employment-related tidying up (interpret that as you will)… and spent time with a variety of family. Thing were a little hectic but that’s how I feel like life has been as of late.

I’ve also been revising a short story that I’ve been working on for several weeks. This has been fun, challenging, terrifying, even more so due to the fact that I have deadline to send this to my writing critique group, very soon. (Did I mention that this is also the first critique group that I’ve ever been a part of? And that this is my third meeting with this group? And that this will be my first submission for review? Well, then: all true.) I have quite a lot left to do, but not terribly confident in when I’ll be able to get that work done.

Ever since I’ve re-embraced my creative side, I’ve had to battle with other dynamics in competition for my time, attention, and energy. This very moment, though, is particularly intense. And I know I’m not alone. What I’ve learned so far:

Be realistic.

Sure, I’ll have a draft to share with my critique group, but I may not have the headspace to incorporate their feedback into a next draft until much later. We should all strive to make progress on our work but understand that some goals need to be adjusted when necessary.

Be generous.

While adjusting goals, don’t beat yourself up. I liked the idea of submitting this particular story for competition early this summer but I don’t think that’s going to happen–and that’s OK! I have a goal in mind, and I’m getting so much out of this work, so what’s wrong with pushing back a deadline a few weeks while instead I, uh, I don’t know, move into a new house that I purchased? (Did I mention that I’m a first-time homebuyer and just barely aware of what I’m doing? Also true.)

Be active.

Keep working, in some capacity. Draft, journal, sketch–do whatever appears to require minimal brainpower, or something that can be done quickly. You may not make tremendous progress on a project, but small steps forward will add up.

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