Monday, January 2, 2012

Bending it like Beckham

The sports world may have lost some of its affection for star athlete David Beckham, but my admiration is far from finished.

Not that I have much comment on his athleticism - I've never even seen him step onto the field. *cough*

However, I can relate to the amount of work required to excel in any field - whether you're a football star, or a successful author.

Hard work, yes. Commitment, absolutely. Flexibility, hellz ya.

But perhaps more importantly, balance. With several children and a high profile wife, I suspect Beckham has had to do a lot of "balancing" work - with the soccer ball and without.

I'm not afraid of hard work. I can commit to my craft. I am flexible - maybe too flexible.

But balance? That's always been a struggle.

I made a purposeful effort NOT to make a list of New Year's resolutions this year - though the standard ones do apply. Like lose weight, write more, yadda yadda yadda.

But perhaps I do have one major resolution - to work toward that elusive life balance I often overlook. That happy medium of work, play, family, friends, and time for ME. That last part is where I usually mess up - I'll risk sleep for time spent with friends and family, or skip working out if I want to power through a new project outline.

But taking time to do some of the things I love? Sure...when it works out.

Not good enough.

I'm ashamed at the pathetic number of novels I finished reading last year, which inspired this year's 100 Books in 2012 Reading Challenge. It's no wonder I hit a creative writing slump over the summer - I barely read.

Instead, I rediscovered crafting - and that, my friends, became my obsession, along with Pinterest, the website that single-handedly commanded most of my time. Sure, it's a creative outlet, but truthfully, it provided the perfect procrastination. No, words were not on the page, but I was still being creative, right?

Meanwhile, writing projects piled up. DIVERSE projects. AWESOME projects. Projects WORTHY of my time.

Time I didn't have - despite several efforts to carve out hours for all things writerly.

The problem is, I'm not quite ready to set all those crafty projects aside...

Thanks to my good friend Judith, though, I'm excited to try out a system that *might* let me have my cake and eat it, too. Huzzah.

Judith and I have numerous projects on the go, and frankly, she's the more grounded - and organized - between us. (Shocking, I know.) So when she fired over her Works in Progress spreadsheet, I wasn't surprised at how nicely she'd laid things out. The chart outlines projects on the go, where they're at in the writing/research process, and an estimated deadline. She includes a work count for each project. In her words: tough to argue you've been writing if the word counts aren't increasing.


I've taken that template and adapted it for myself.

And then almost fainted. I've got a LOT of ideas. And way too many "started" initiatives. And a crap load of deadlines.

Part of my problem has always been that I haven't kept all of my files organized on the computer. I spent five hours fixing that this weekend, sorting every document into folders, complete with the most CURRENT version of a manuscript. (That part is important, because I can waste hours looking for the right file, and then more time reading it over to make sure all of the changes I wanted have been implemented.)

This organization WILL help.

But wait! There's more.

Thanks again to Judith, I've loosely carved out a daily - a schedule that includes exercise, reading, photography (help, Jamie!), the day job, crafting, editing and writing. It means buckling down and spending the appropriate hours working according to the schedule...but in the end, it means guilt free time with my family and friends in the evening, or on weekends.

That I can buy into. Hopefully this week's muse avatar - Beckham, of course - can offer some solid advice and inspiration.

How about you? Any writerly (or otherwise) resolutions this year? 

Happy 2012! I have a feeling it's going to be a busy - but kick-ass kind of year.

- Dawn

The Book In My Bag Today: Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi


  1. Me time? See, the problem with me is that I can't seem to shake the idea that all things writerly IS Me Time. I'd like to change that this year too. xoxo

  2. oh, yeah. David Beckham... yum. :D But I'm with you. Balance is an elusive goal that I'd like to work toward as well.

    And obsessing less. :D Happy 2012! <3

  3. Jessica - Yeah, I use to be like that, too. But I need "down" time, like when I don't need to think about anything. Writing, while enjoyable (most days) requires thought...dang it :-) <3

    LTM - Happy 2012! Cheers to a year of balance - and less obsessing. (I share that issue as well...)