It's so easy, deciding to be a writer or artist.
And so romantic. Like being a cowboy.
Few years down the road, one either quietly surrenders or quietly rides on. I've hit my 'few years down the road,' too, and I have chosen to ride on. However, I also understand I need to take better care of myself so that I can keep going, so that my path isn't strewn with unnecessary tension to trip me up. We already have too much drama and insecurities to deal with, right?
Here are the habits that have helped me so far:
1. I break a project into many, many small parts.
For me, I break them into tasks that are so tiny they are sometimes laughable.
I've been writing my next middle-grade novel. A hefty task. So I've broken it down into small parts, and this is my smallest part to date: Write one line each time I think about this story.
Yes. Just one line. That's all.
Then, naturally, I begin writing more than one line. I write paragraphs or pages. But every time I feel slightly anxious about writing, I remind myself that it's just one line. I only need to write one line. I'm getting a kick out of it and so far it has worked very well for me!
And the best thing is, I know I will get this story written. Nothing else matters.
* This habit will only work when I fulfill my promise to accomplish each small task. I don't mickey-mouse around that.
2. I wake up earlier (Okay, I try ... I try.)
This has been tested.
Whenever I get up earlier than the rest of the household, I freewrite or read. Already, even before breakfast, I feel I've done something for the day. I've made plans. I've begun well. Give me a good breakfast, and I can go several steady miles.
Then on the days I wake up the same time as everyone else, I'd be struggling to keep up with the day. Do this. Do that. Eat quickly. No dilly-dallying. Pant. Pant. Gasp. I'd be exhausted in just two hours.
3. I work out.
I swim three mornings a week. Have you seen the surface of pool water at dawn, just when the sky changes colours? It's an amazing view. I just keep going after the colours.
Working out clears my mind from clattery-cluttery complaints and insecurities.
4. I leave my emails till later.
This is a new habit. I used to check my emails before everything else and it always eats up 2-3 hours. So many blog posts and articles to check out. So much administrative work to do. By the time I'm done, I'd feel sluggish and nothing substantial gets accomplished.
So now, I try to leave checking my emails till later, sometimes only in the late afternoon.
5. I make space for Solitude.
This pin says it all.
I used to be quite harsh on myself, thinking that if I wasn't forcing myself to write, write, write, or social-mingle, or comment on blog posts, or build my platform, I wasn't working hard enough. If I burn out, it means I'm weak. The thing is, we all need to find ways to help ourselves work better. Even with these habits, I know I will still have bad days. (Just had one this past week.) Good news is, those bad days fizzle out quicker now that I've had my 'few years down the road' and know what works for me and what doesn't. (It did.) Our most important, and truest, mission is to show up for work everyday. We are professionals. We show up. Sometimes we just need to help ourselves show up easier.
What habits or routines have helped you show up?
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Hey, I'm Claudine. Welcome!
Want to know what children's stories can inspire & lead to?
by Kate Hanney
Really enjoyed the honest voice of this narrator ~ a teenager let down by his mother and the foster care system, and almost-picked up through his involvement with a gang.