Hi all, hope you’ve had a good few weeks.
So, as many of you will know I returned to work last week after a wonderful eight months off writing and then enjoying a bucket list holiday to New Zealand. ((Still laughing at you going back to work)) But, the inevitable happened; I didn’t win the lottery, and I haven’t sold thousands of copies of my books, and so I needed to earn an income.
This has been a strange time; returning to the world of work and all that that entails. My main anxiety has been losing ‘my time’. I’ve been so used to doing exactly what I want when I want. I have worked hard in those eight months and achieved more than I expected with regards to my writing. ((Why don’t you give yourself a bonus – oh wait you can’t as you have no money!!)) Having suffered from Anxiety and Depression in the past I knew I had to address this feeling. I also had a word with myself to ‘man up’ as I knew I was being slightly dramatic. But, I learned that if you don’t deal with feelings, they often come back to bite you.
Everyone will have something they consider a ‘time thief’ that could be, working, house jobs, partner, kids, dealing with brackets ((OI! You’re nothing without me. I repeat, Nothing!)) and everyone will find their own way of dealing with it. My way ((hey up, she’s about to pelt out a Frank Sinatra song – I’m on fire again this week)) ha-ha, MY WAY, thank you brackets; is to plan, plan and plan some more. Thankfully I was treated to a lovely four-day weekend. During this, I spent one whole morning with my laptop, diary, emails and planned out all my writing and socialising projects for the rest of the year, that I now had to fit around work. Instantly, I felt back in control.
Maybe not all these plans will come off, as let’s face it – life always decides to put it’s hand up and interfere, but at least I know what I want, and what I want to achieve.
To get back to the work issue. I’m generally okay with interviews, going into new jobs, learning new tasks etc. All this I can cope with, but I knew it would be the loss of time that I would have to manage. So, during my planning time, this is what I did. I hope it helps if you’re in the same boat…
1) I bought the planner shown in the picture – with this I added all aims for my writing for this year; competitions, self-publishing projects etc. I’m the event organiser for the Fosseway Writers’, and volunteer and am on the board for the Newark Book Festival and these are commitments I enjoy, but also take seriously. With the planner, I worked out what I needed to do for these, and as well as adding main dates to my diary and my phone diary. This really helped to take the mental stress out of the situation, I was worried my writing would suffer – even though I wrote a novel when I was working! ((Show off)) Let’s face it when anxiety decides to hit – you need to acknowledge and counter-attack as soon as possible!
2) I planned out my meals for the week and set aside time for normal house jobs that I now need to plan into my day as it was easy when I was at home all day. I’d been used to wandering around to the shop if I needed anything, putting the washing on. These may seem like small things – but they can be a real time thief. People with kids are probably thinking they do these jobs in their sleep! What might be a small thing to someone else can seem huge to you; I find it’s best not to compare to others.
3) On the days I arrive home at 5pm, it’s time to put dinner on and then use the rest of the time to write this blog, catch up on ‘writing’ things, twitter, emails etc. With a cappuccino in hand of course! Obviously, there is also the long stretch of the evenings, other than Monday as that’s GAME OF THRONES TIME – OMG 😊
4) I gave myself a break! I felt much better once I’d decided that I had to prioritise things in life. My number one priority was earning an income, which in turn would allow me to write long term. But also, that I could do both if I planned my time effectively.
5) I’m a list maker and always feel better once I have everything down on paper. As I’ve said being organised is the key to stealing back the time to write.
One week later…
I’ve applied all the above over the past week, and it’s made a massive difference. It helped that on my first weeks back I’ve had the bank holidays so been able to fit in one full day of writing ((woohoo – finally some writing!)) I’ve made a great start on editing the travel journal which I want to publish later in the year, and nearly finished my collaboration story.
I hope this has helped anyone else that suffers from ‘Time Anxiety’ – taking control is so important. If you have any hints and time to help avoid or deal with time thieves, then feel free to share. ((Maybe if you didn’t have quite so many holidays you might manage to get some proper work done – doesn’t know she’s born people. Although you do need to make this blog a priority else that’s me a goner!))
Hope everyone has a good fortnight. The next blog is due on the 10th May, but I will be boating on the Norfolk broads then so not sure about WIFI. If that’s not possible, I might pre-schedule the first chapter of my travel journal for some feedback… anyone fancy reading it???