The Best Laid Plans…
Hello 2019 – here we are in a new year, and now that all the sounds of celebrating (and soon-to-be abandoned resolutions) have faded away, it’s time for the serious business of life and work to take over again.
Do I hear a collective *GROAN* out there?
Personally, I couldn’t wait to swing into a new year, and back to my usual routines. I deliberately gave myself a good break over December from most of my regular activities – including writing (except for a short story I had to fit in and finish between the end of Nanowrimo and the submission deadline on December 10).
Nearly three long, luxurious weeks of relaxing, reading, gaming, and whatever else took my fancy day-to-day, refreshing and reviving my author think-tank, ready to dive back into it all on the first day of January.
Unfortunately, I was also rather ill during December, so the rest and recuperation was important for that reason as well.
Although I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions (why wait until then? Why not make a resolution as soon as you realise the want/need for one?), I did have one or two loose plans I wanted to put in action right from the beginning of the year.
One was to dive straight back into editing my Atomic Goddess trilogy. Due to reasons outside of my control, the process had been a lot slower than I’d hoped, and there is still so much to do that I have reluctantly put the release dates back to October, November and December this year.
But, I thought, let me get my teeth into it from a fresh start in January, and I’ll rip through it easily. If only it were that simple…
Because, of course, there are other writing priorities to consider. I had an exciting idea for a short story that was demanding to be written, and the perfect anthology to submit it to. I have until May to submit it, but I feel I need to take advantage of the energy and momentum that already exists around the story and just get it done, so I can free myself up properly to work on Atomic Goddess.
After all, who can resist the lure of New Orleans – at its capture during the American Civil War – and voodoo – and magic – and murder – and liberty… (I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ve had this idea in pipeline for a while, and I can’t help but be excited now that it’s the right time to write it!)
And there are other projects that require some time and effort as well. But on the whole, this year is about putting the bulk of my energy and focus into getting my trilogy out there. This also means a lot of planning, and a good, workable schedule to keep things on track.
Which brings me to the other ‘plan’ I had for this year. Last year I found the perfect journal – The Goddess Isis Journal by Alana Fairchild. Not only was it appealing because my trilogy heavily involves the goddess Isis, but even the name of the designer who put it together suggests a connection.
So, I decided, I would get this journal out on January 1st, and start journaling. I have always loved the idea of keeping a diary or journal, and have started many over the years with the intention of writing in them every day. Unfortunately, I usually ended up getting behind, then skipping not only days, but weeks, until somewhere between April and June it would peter out and that would be the end of it. Until the next time I was tempted to start one.
Knowing I was susceptible to this behaviour, I decided I would not try to write in this year’s journal on a day-by-day basis. I would just write when the mood took me – daily, weekly, or monthly as I had the inclination. And as it’s not a dated journal, it doesn’t matter if it only takes two months to get to the end, or several years.
So I finally remembered this journal on January 5th… I don’t know why it eluded my notice for four whole days, as it was sitting right there on my computer desk, where I sit every single day. But I saw it, and with a jolt, I remembered that – oh yes, I was going to journal this year!
And then I wrote nine pages. Just thoughts, ideas, plans for the year, things I wanted to achieve. Stuff about my writing. Stuff about relationships. Stuff about me. And I remembered that I’d already decided it wasn’t important to journal every single day, but only when I needed to.
I don’t need to keep a detailed account of everywhere I go, everything I do, everyone I interact with. Sure, that might be handy if I ever want to write a detailed autobiography, but I’m sure I’ll manage okay without scrupulously-updated diaries documenting my life.
I just need the freedom to come to it when I feel like it – which is in complete opposition with the schedules I need to follow for my other writing. This isn’t so much a diary, as a ‘heart space’. A place to discuss ideas with myself, a place of self-exploration and introspection, that I only access when I need to.
It’s a different kind of dream to one I’ve had previously – a dream of letting go of control and not trying to force an output that I thought I wanted, but do not really need. Instead of rigidly trying to enforce the unenforceable, I gift myself the freedom to open up the flow when it is most needed.
It feels liberating.
Of course, there will still be the joyous stream of creative writing, the grind of editing and preparing to publish, the self-imposed deadlines for this, that and the other. But amongst all this busy-ness, I can now enjoy the permission I have granted myself to grow in new directions – and to truly turn inwards when necessary.
Keep a smile on your dial until next time, and peace and love in your heart
From Lana Lea and her time-travelling muse