Mindfulness

Working a full time day job as you know, leaves very little time for a personal/family life. And I used to agonize over it. I became obsessed with time, focusing on how much time I had left to enjoy my evening and what I could cram into it. I had so many things I enjoyed doing and so little time to enjoy them all. I found myself speeding through life and it only made me more obsessed with time and angry I didn’t have enough of it.

My nutritionist pointed out the benefit of mindful eating. Mindful eating is about paying attention to all your senses as you eat. Its about slowing down and savouring each bite. Mindfulness is about attention to your thoughts, feelings and actions in the present moment. Its about slowing down and focusing on the moment. After she told me about mindful eating and mindfulness, I started applying it to not only my eating habits but to the different aspects of my life. I sacrificed a few extra minutes of sleep to give myself more time to get ready for work in the morning, lowering my stress levels at the beginning of the day. I focused less on time, only paying attention when I really needed to. I set out a plan for my crafting projects and lowered the number I was allowed to commit myself to every year.

From there I’ve started to focus on one thing at a time in everything I do instead of multitasking. I still have a long way to go but I’ve already seen a huge improvement. I don’t get to do as much as I used to but I’ve traded quantity for quality. I get to savour each moment to its fullest.

Slow and Steady

My novel is motoring along, and I’m well into draft three. While I am writing, I am researching a variety of items for the novel, as well as how to make the change to a full-time career in writing.

But what type of writing career do I want?

One option is to work for an organization or as a freelance writer. I don’t have any formal education and I don’t have the opportunity to get the credentials I need. So working for an organization at this point may not be possible. But working as a freelance writer might be. Some articles online suggest guest blogging, and submitting articles to online newsletters and journals. This sounds like a great option. But I need to determine what to write about and who to submit them to. What is my area of expertise? And do I really want to write articles? It’s not something I thought about doing.

I enjoy writing fiction the most. A career writing novels, short stories and poems may suit me best. One of my friends told me about some short story contests. I haven’t written a short story in a long time but it piqued my interest. Not for the prize money (although that would be a nice bonus) but for the opportunity to build my portfolio and get my name out in the community. And a lot of the research I have done so far recommends having work published already before publishing a novel. It helps if you already have your name out in the community.

But how am I going to fit writing short stories into my already full schedule without sacrificing family time, novel writing time or personal time?

Option 1: I finish writing my novel. I write some short stories and enter some contests. I get some of those published before publishing my novel. The downside is that it will take longer than I want it to. But the upside is that I won’t burn myself out.

Option 2: I put my novel on hold. I participate in NaNoWriMo, coming up in November, and write short stories. Then I enter some contests in the New Year. When I have a few stories out there I finish working on my novel and publish it. The downside to this option is that it will take even longer and I could lose momentum with my novel.

Option three: I split my weekends between my various writing projects. Saturday mornings I work on my novel. Sunday mornings I write my blog posts and work on short stories. It won’t take quite as long to do (maybe just a few months more) but I won’t lose momentum with my novel and I’ll still be able to work on my other projects. The downside is that my attention will be split on multiple projects.

It’s something I’m going to have to think more about. I have a nasty habit of committing to far too many projects. Focusing on one project at a time may be the wiser move and the best option in the long run. After all, slow and steady wins the race.

When I first decided to join Camp NaNoWriMo it was resulting from a blog I read on the camp. It sounded interesting an I thought, why not? So I signed up and jumped in.

I was so excited and nervous at first. Once I got started,  I found my writing rhythm and became enthralled with the process. I didn’t reach my word goal but I was thrilled at what I had accomplished that month. I had written more in one month for a novel than I had in two years. It was amazing. After camp I continued writing. I was determinedto finish my book and publish it.

Camp awoke my desire to write for a living. I always enjoyed writing but it had been years since I thought about making it a career. And now I have a desperate need to make the career change. The only conundrum is how. I don’t have any formal education, nor the money or time to pursue that now. So I need to rely on talent and perseverence.

A friend of mine, who’s fortunate to be able to take a course through one of the local colleges sent me links to some short story contests. I though, “Brilliant! I can enter a few contests and get my name out there.”

It may take one contest or a hundred but I’m happy to keep at it as long as it takes.

I’m also getting back into blogging. An article I read online suggested blogging regularly and preparing the posts ahead of time. So my goal is to write a blog post and short story during the week. The blog post will be uploaded every Sunday. Editing for my novel will continue on the weekend with the goal of completing it for April.

Its been an exciting year of change and I hope to continue working on my blog, short stories and novels in the coming year. Writing is a passion I am driven to pursue. Its the ultimate activity in my happiness project.