Many of us purchase a new calendar around the end of the year. It could be with hope that the next year will be filled with lots of positive experiences or an attempt to organize ourselves. This past December I purchased two calendars: 1) a 5 x 7 daily and monthly personal calendar with several pages for notes at the back, and 2) an 8.5 x 11 monthly calendar for my writing stuff.
I learned recently that one of my values (according to an inventory) is accomplishment. It’s important for me to know that I’ve done something each day, so when I get to check off items (big or small) in my personal calendar, I get a little hit of dopamine. It also keeps track of my streaks: how many days in a row or a week I’ve attended an online yoga class, which of my clients made their appointment with me, how long I worked with a particular client that day, and whether or not I’ve meditated, read a book, or written in my journal.
My writing business calendar has seen a little action this month, but not like I expected. And if I wasn’t careful, or predicted it would happen, those unmet expectations would result in disappointment or take the slippery slide into hopelessness. Though I carefully and thoughtfully planned out the entire year (yes, I know, but it was a moment of extreme optimism…and there’s always correction tape and different colored pens, or I could just buy a new one…), I was off track by day two. What I didn’t account for was life. Funny, right? How could I forget that there are errands to run, people to check on and help, food to buy, companies to call to find out answers, and, well, okay, some football (and a bit more news) to watch.
Anyone perusing my writing calendar might raise a brow in question and doubt of my lofty intentions. I really believed I could make it happen. But I’m okay with where I’m at. I’m off track, and I likely won’t return to the same path, because, well, life. Here’s what I have been able to do: 1) January’s short story is written and with a beta reader. It will be in February’s newsletter. 2) My new website is almost done and ready for public unveiling. That, too, will be shared next month. 3) I’ve kept up with my social media postings on Facebook and Instagram (If you’ve followed me on FB and don’t see my posts, we all know about the algorithms, right? I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so if they aren’t showing up in your feed you may need to seek me out.) I have two more books to share bits of on IG, and then I’m not sure what to do after that. I’ve slowed down on LinkedIn, but I still check once a week because there are some cool things shared there. 4) Yay, my monthly newsletter made the deadline!
What I haven’t been able to fit in: 1) writing Roanoak book 4, 2) posting on Goodreads, 3) working on a few projects that I thought would be easy enough to finish up and publish. When I realized where I was and what I wasn’t able to do, I knew I had two choices. First, I could get all up in my own face about being a failure. Many of us are our own worst critics, and that not-so-kind voice is often the loudest in our heads. Or, I could acknowledge that I set myself up to do a lot and the fact that I didn’t get it done is just that. A fact. No one to blame. No reason to be angry or frustrated or sad.
I have today to do a little something regarding the projects that are written (in ink) on my writing calendar but aren’t checked off. And if I still don’t dabble in them, I can give them a nod, give myself some forgiveness, and try again tomorrow. These deadlines are my own. These projects, the words I write, the books and stories I publish, are important to me. Important enough that I’m not giving up on them. They will be delayed. And that’s okay.
If I choose not to feel okay about that fact, then I’ve got more stuff to get through. Not just what’s on my list ahead of my writing, but all the thoughts about not sticking to my schedule. Sometimes it takes me a while to pick up on things. And it took several years for me to realize that if I’m giving in to the critic about not following my schedule, it’s tougher to write when I am able to get to my projects. I know where I’m at. I know what I haven’t gotten to. I know what I have completed. I’m giving myself a little space, a little grace, as I move forward.