The Way I Was

Weather and Seasons are Changeable, so are Priorities

It’s time to hunker down.

I’ve learned to listen to the weather report daily. I’ve also learned to consult my priorities frequently. I have to know what is, and what is not absolutely essential for living a good life. I have to always ask, whether this thing I’m doing or planning to do is essential.

When I involve myself in the inessentials, it turns disastrous–as if I’m standing out in the middle of a hurricane. I should have stocked up on food and water, hunkered down in an interior room, barred the doors, shut the windows and blinds, and waited, even through the lull, for the storm to fully subside.

It’s essential that I eat healthy (that takes planning and cooking time). I must do daily physical therapy exercises, and get sufficient sleep/rest. In addition, I need:

  • focused time for my work (in my case, writing is my work–as well as my pleasure);
  • enjoyable hours with the people I most love, and enough time to talk about everything we need to talk about;
  • some fun–the party, pageantry and joy that come from celebrating weekends, holidays, festivals and life events (but not too many of them!).
  • solitary time for renewal.

For the past month I’ve been between major writing projects. My memoir was finished; I hadn’t fully entered the novel we’ve been planning. It was something like planning for a vacation–we talked about it, made notes and packed up what we’d need. Now we’re going. This means, I’ll be posting fewer blogs.

Because for me, the storm never really subsides.It’s always out there, threatening to blow me off course. I’ve learned. I simply cannot go out there!

I spent the month of August between writing projects (the writing of the memoir is finished; the writing of the novel is soon beginning). I’ve been having fun blogging, with the intention of making a few new, real connections. I set some specific goals and I met them.

In August my priority was blogging and making new connections, while living. The next months are going to be about writing a novel, while living.

I’ll continue posting 3-4 blog post per month. But the majority of my computer/writing time will be devoted to writing the story, which is set in Nashville/Middle Tennessee. There will be southern food and music, of course, which means the “research” includes fun and recreation with family and with friends.

I’ve found that there is blessing in boundaries. In writing–choosing to stick to a form (a sonnet for example, or an 80,000-word love story) can focus my intentions and make me carefully consider my choices and options. In life, having limitations has served the same purpose.

Without law, order, schedules, priorities & limitations, there is no true freedom. There is only the chaos of being blown around by the prevailing wind.

So, enough sitting at the computer for me. I’ve got a whole lot of living, and just being with my loved ones, to do. I’ll catch up with you next week. Until then, have a blessed one!

Is there anything in your life that you’re cutting back on, to give attention to other priorities? 

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7 thoughts on “Weather and Seasons are Changeable, so are Priorities”

  1. It is a timely advice for me. I am currently in the final phase of my PhD, with some writing still to be done, but the revisions process also having started. My concentration span is not very high, so I usually need diversions every couple of hours. It is taxing, and I can easily get lost. Retreating for a bit, gathering strength and seeing the path ahead more clearly, is essential for me. Right now, I am cutting back on my leisure time, in order to get work, PhD and blogging under one hat, as we say in German. Just a bit more to go…

    I envy you for writing fun stuff, which my blog is for, instead of thesis stuff…:)

    1. Also, thank you for making that connection. I am always excited when I see a comment by you on my blog. The posts are thoughtful and show that you are going for connection, and not just blabber. I value that a lot!

      1. It’s important to me to– I was a hair’s breath away from grad school (had been accepted, was registering for classes at Dartmouth); and realized that I didn’t want to spend the time writing a thesis when I could be writing what I want to write. I don’t envy your having to write a thesis, but getting a PhD is definitely a fine accomplishment. Good for you, that you’re managing to enjoy a little of a life while doing it. What’s you’re thesis on?

        1. I underestimated my disdain for writing academically. All the footnoting, and arguing and counterarguing is not really my style…

          I am writing on the US Supreme Court’s “federalism revolution” in the 1990s, when under Rehnquist’s guidance the court was moving back rights previously thought federal to the states. It is an issue that I care about. It is at the crossing between policy, jurisprudence and constitutional law (I focused on constitutional law in Germany). I do not think it was a revolution per se. It was more a blatant attempt by a conservative majority to roll back on what they perceived as overstepping boundaries…it is therefore also a thesis on how constitutional jurisprudence changes.

          Another thing I underestimated was the whole reading all your sources in English, thinking about the problems and issues in English, and then write about it in German, in a way that a German lawyer can understand what the issue is about…it is quite taxing and there are days, when I cannot for my life figure out whether the sentence I wrote in German is grammatically correct or not…that’s when wine helps.

          1. Academic writing, although I am good at it, is also not my favorite thing. I’m glad, however, to have learned how to do it. It made me think more coherently and logically, which is important to a longer work–like a novel or memoir–even if one is being mostly creative.

            Your thesis sounds interesting (seriously–I’m very interested in law, especially the history of law and democracy/human rights). But I sure wouldn’t want to have to do a thesis while thinking in two languages. I’m a terrible translator, because I think only in one language at a time. Good Luck–and have a relaxing weekend.

  2. I’ve been thinking along the same lines, Tracy. It seems I commit to one thing, and another, and another. And then everything comes due at once, and I feel completely overwhelmed. Blogging (especially on group blogs) is one thing I’ve thought of cutting back on. But even if I do that, there will be hurdles to my writing concentration. Marketing my novel is one of them. I have a couple of events planned in the near future and somehow I don’t feel I can get lost in my writing till they’re behind me, lest I become forgetful (writing does that to me), and miss something important. What I’m trying to do work- and activity-wise is listen to my intuition, figure out what is making me restless, and address it if I can.

    All the best as you work on your book.

    1. Marketing is such a difficult and time-consuming thing. When and how much to concentrate on writing verses marketing? There’s really nothing to market if the writing isn’t good enough, but even the best-written book isn’t going to sell without decent marketing.

      I’m so grateful my entrepreneurial husband handles the marketing for me; otherwise, there’s no way I’d have time/energy for writing.

      I’m finding that limiting my blogging to once/week has really reduced my stress level. And I’m certain that it isn’t bothering anyone at all not to hear from me more more often. I think we’re all suffering from word-overload.

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