Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, New Habits

My Digital Commonplace and Bullet Journal. Image © Lori Gravley
One of my big struggle as a writer has been seeing everything I do to forward my writing as writing work. 

I was just lying on the couch with a blanket over my feet when my husband walked in, sat down, and started talking to me.  We conversed for a while, and then he said, “What are you up to today, just chillin’?”
And I (somewhat defensively) said, “No, I’m working.” He raised an eyebrow.

“I’m a writer,” I said (perhaps still a bit defensively), “part of what I have to do for work is reading.”

“Oh, okay,” he said, “I wasn’t being critical.  Just chillin’ is okay.”

I apologized for being defensive. 

But I’ve been working on this over the last year, learning to credit my research, craft reading, and genre reading time as actual work time.  Obviously, I have some more work to do.

I recently read the advice (again) to stay off social media and email until I’d finished my daily writing goals.  And really, that seemed to me to be an invitation to look again at what my work was and what it wasn’t, to draw clear lines between work and socializing, between work and leisure. 

As a writer, those lines are often blurred.  So I’m test driving two new practices in my writing life. 

The first is a bullet journal, a physical journal in which I keep my datebook, my goals, my yearly calendar, and records of my intentions and my progress.  The small calendar I’ve used for years has served me well for a long time, but as my organizational development work has increased, it’s become more difficult to see my year as a whole and sometimes the days get filled up.  Also, there wasn’t enough space to track daily intentions the way I’ve been longing to do.

The next is a digital commonplace book.  I love commonplace books, and I’ve kept one in bits and pieces throughout the years, but physical commonplace books are a problem for me since I can’t read my own handwriting.  So, this year, to help track of my ideas for future projects, my research for smaller projects, my poetry starts, and quotes that move and inspire me, I’ve begun (I started in December) to keep a digital commonplace book on my desktop.  So far I have thirteen pages, and I haven’t quite figured out how to label and organize it, but I love having a place to keep my ideas.

I’ll write more about these new habits (and older ones) in January, but for now, I’m excited to be off to a great start on what look to be promising tools to remind me about all that do to advance my writing career even when it looks like I'm just chillin'.

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