At Last

The massive volunteer editing project is done. DONE. D-O-N-E. DONE!

Imagine me doing a Snoopy dance:

I cannot even begin to describe the absolute elation and lightness of being I feel in having this project off my plate. It was not a fun project in the slightest. Aside from the fact that a huge portion of what I did was take out wonky formatting, I had to also reword, delete, and edit some of the most painful sentences ever recorded in the English language.

All right. I may be exaggerating a bit.

Of course, I’ve gone right from the frying pan and into the fire . . . In the midst of this editing project, Thanksgiving snuck up on me. Of course, Christmas tends to follow very closely on Thanksgiving’s heels (even closer than usual this year–we don’t even have a full month between!). I’ve also had to confront three rather intense personal conflicts in my American Heritage Girls troop–all of them unrelated to each other, but all of them serious enough to merit discussion. And I don’t know if any of you can tell from this blog, but I’m actually not very good at the interpersonal stuff. I’m not good at relationships in the best of circumstances. I’m about a thousand times worse when there’s tension of any kind.

But also in the midst of this whole turmoil and through the pressure of getting my editing project done by the deadline, I made some decisions. They are not earth-shattering or mind-blowing, and the most important of them will take some time to set up. I won’t share too many details as some of them would be too revealing, but suffice to say that the next several months will be approached intentionally with a specific goal in mind–namely, setting up my life to re-introduce writing fiction on a regular basis.

I suppose the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last year is that there are only so many spots this leopard can change. I’m a writer. I need to write. Even if nothing ever leaves my hard drive, I need the outlet. And I have to just write and not worry about what other people think . . . so I will write without the intent to share it. It will be a hobby, but a hobby I won’t feel guilty about pursuing.

To that end, there are certain things I have to do:

Rebalance my spiritual life: I have fallen out of the habits I established when I left writing over a year ago. This editing project and the AHG responsibilities have just sucked the time right out of my schedule. And it’s true (and ironic) that when I’m stressed, the first thing to be sacrificed is my spiritual health. I neglect reading my Bible, I neglect prayer, and I neglect my Bible study. I have to rebalance that part of my life before I fall over.

Draw back on my volunteer duties: It always seems to be the case that 5% of the people do about 95% of the work. I certainly feel like I’m doing more than my share of work in the AHG troop, but I’m hardly doing anything at my kids’ school and nothing in my church. I have a plan for drawing back on the AHG duties. It will take several months, but it will make a big change in my schedule (and in my sanity).

Knit, sew, and read: The massive amount of volunteering I’ve been doing has also cannibalized my time for knitting, sewing, and reading. The result is unbalanced creativity and a frustrated spirit. I think what I’m realizing is that I have to just allow myself hobby/creative time, and then I need to give myself the freedom to do whatever my spirit needs that day, whether it’s knitting, sewing, reading, writing, crocheting, or even–gasp!–scrapbooking.

I know that I tend to retreat into busy-ness to avoid the hard things–in this case, writing. The problem is that it isn’t a permanent solution. It doesn’t work. Being busy doesn’t make me any less of a writer. It just makes me a more frustrated writer. My head still produces the stories. The characters still whisper to me in the quiet stillness of my restful moments. I still think, “what a fun piece of dialogue that would be” or “cool name–I should use it in a story” when I overhear interesting tidbits. And when I watch anything even remotely connected with the fantasy genre in any way (meaning, if you put a sword in a story), I immediately go to my own worlds and wish to renew my acquaintance with them.

So this is not an earth-shattering, ground-breaking post by any means, and it’s not as if I am making some kind of major announcement. But I am back, at least for now, and I’m feeling . . . well, if not at peace, at least in a place of greater clarity.

I think . . . I think that is a good thing.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

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2 thoughts on “At Last

  1. Jane Wells (@2jewells)

    Yay! Let balance and sanity reign!
    And, when the stories on your hard drive get too crowded and noisy, they can always come live on my Kindle…
    😀
    That said, we should probably talk. My life has re-balanced itself this fall, too. Equilibrium is weird. I sometimes don’t know how to handle it.

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      You are so very encouraging, my friend. Sadly, even the mere thought of sharing my stories again–even with a sympathetic audience–gives me a borderline anxiety attack. Perhaps in the future, I’ll be able to stomach the thought.

      I would love to talk with you sometime soon. E-mail me when you have time. 🙂

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