I just finished a semester at IUPUI. There comes a certain point when you’ve just had enough and need to take a break for a while. I had my math exam a couple of Fridays back and shut down completely after all the studying and effort required took its toll on me.
Math comes easy for some people. My brain works better with words, themes, concepts, thoughts, theories and expressions. My brain does not like the idea of one solution. It just doesn’t suit me well and as a result my math classes are a source of haggard desperation which results in hardcore studying a few days before an exam to make sure my mind is condition to perform the tasks at hand.
That’s not an excuse for not writing though. It’s interesting how much pleasure taking the time to write gives me and yet how often I avoid it. I wonder if other writers have that problem. If you do, what’s your solution for getting through it?
It is difficult juggling passions in life. I have several passions and sometimes it feels like I’m stirring too many pots. I have my beautiful wife. I have two adorable kitties. I have two guitars that I keep plucking at trying to learn how to play. I bought some running shoes because I’d like to try and run a 5k next year. I have my writing. I have this degree that I’m trying to figure out how to pay for. I have my job. I find that I have at the end of the day a strong desire to just reside myself to the couch and call it a day, tomorrow will be better. But it never is. It is never a good time to pursue everything. Multitasking is fundamentally flawed at its core.
The reality of trying to do everything at once is impossible. In order to pursue something, a task, a passion, a dream or even a family, you have to focus on them. While most of my tasks and passions don’t have feelings like my wife does, imagine how your tasks would feel (if they had feelings) if they were constantly ignored as you shuffled your attention around the room. How much longer does it take you to accomplish a simple task if you constantly shift between tasks? Or in my case, how many tasks do you simply never get around to by your own prioritization?
So what are the priorities here? How I strive to define them:
Separate things you can live without.
Example: Do I need to learn how to play the guitar right now? No, so why do I stress out about not having time to play? I made a decision today. I’m selling my guitars. If you’re interested in a beautiful sounding acoustic and a relatively inexpensive starter electric, let me know. I might be willing to make a deal.
Decide what is important to you.
Example: My wife is extremely important to me. She makes a lot of the things I am capable of possible by simply believing in me. Faith can be a very powerful thing.
Example: Writing. No better thought in my mind exists than these words from Rainer Marie Rilke
“There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity…” ~ Rainer Marie Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
This is the tough part. In order to succeed in any of your passions you must be willing to execute the plan. My advice is to set aside time for everything and not time for doing everything at once. Define a time when you will write pursue your passion; if that’s 4am, when your wife is sleeping, do it. If it’s on your lunch hour, so be it.
I am currently working on a short story or flash fiction. I suppose it matters what the word count is. I need to make the time for it. I hope to share it soon.
Thanks for reading!