When I started this little venture a month ago it was designed to share my thoughts and experiences on life with mental illness. The goal was to provide people with some insight, information and in doing so maybe help others. What I realized this morning when logged in was that I had gotten off track. This was starting to look more like an online journal than anything of value to anyone but me. I offer my sincerest apologies for that, it was not my intention.
The night before I published a quick little post of sentimental significance, and began working on yet another. The little post was promptly removed in the morning and the other one has been scrapped. Why you might ask, well self-editing and reflection. Looking back I see some decent pieces, but there is also some crap. They’ll all remain for now because being vulnerable is something I’m okay with. Deciding what is garbage and what is not will be left up to you dear reader, you don’t need my help to inform your opinions.
Today I made the commitment to get back on track, to view my ‘thought to immediate post’ style as a rookie mistake and move on. Simply stated I got too caught up in the action that I forgot to check if I was still on plan. Going back to the original plan, my map, for A Balancing Act there are some great intentions and solid topics. Having stuck to the plan I could have avoided the awful writer’s block that I struggled with of late. There were strong topics right in front of my eyes that could have turned into completed work, instead of staring at an empty page feeling like a failure.
This commitment comes with rules, like sleeping on my writing before posting. Taking the time to review it with fresh eyes and a clear mind before sharing. Quality instead of quantity.
There are a few posts where I can tell when the fever of an idea wore off and I just wrapped it up. It started with great steam and could have gone somewhere, but I just capped it and called it good enough so there would be something.
While I challenge myself to learn what “good enough” means, I have to recognize that is a two-sided problem. Instead of being too picky there is also the need to review whether the post is something I would actually want to read when it was delivered to my inbox. Some of my previous work isn’t honestly.
Self-discipline is currently a struggle for me. In the past there was little issue and staying the course was simple. Nowadays what I will get, or rather who I will be when I awake each morning is still a little harder to pin down. Keeping to a routine is great, and seems to be working for me quite well. However scheduling time to write, to work on my site, time to edit and post all pose challenging.
My plan is to be easy on myself, that quality thing again. Writing when I have the energy and momentum hopefully in bulk, in advance, so on the days where I’m feeling less than awesome there is something to work on instead of staring at an empty screen. Allowing myself to write in stages, putting a piece together a little more organically, rather than forcing myself to sit and write it wholly at once. Hopefully creating less pressure and preventing those cases where the writing just drops off.
Giving myself a list of other tasks that aren’t writing. Sourcing pictures for other works, researching new ideas and sources to cite, adjustments to the site like adding all of those tags and categories I usually forget to use. Most of which can be done from my phone or tablet on the days I can’t get out of bed or off the couch. Those days where the writing doesn’t come and I’m working those thumb muscles anyhow.
Setting a goal to post twice a week. This one is a long term goal, only because I don’t know what my day to day will bring in terms of focus and energy. Hopeful that the other rules I’ve set up will make this an easier goal to manage and reach. Ultimately I would hope that I could make my efforts here part of my actual routine, rather than time scheduled, but that will take some time and effort. This is just a reality I have to work with at the moment, but not an insurmountable goal.
If anyone is actually interested I may add for a little section for all those sentimental pieces. A place to go when you feel the need, like listening to an old CD or wearing a worn out shirt on a moody day. I haven’t decided yet. Part of me loves those little pieces but also understands that comes from the love for the people they’re about. They’re still dang hard not to write as well. Maybe that’s the book that my friends keep telling me write while I laugh at the idea?
Book jokes aside I look forward to finishing the next post for my “Working With Professionals” series, you can find part one and part two here. There are pieces about boundaries, living outside of your comfort zone, and ways I hide in plain sight. For family and friends I’ve gathered a few ideas on self care when supporting someone who can’t just get better. Tools on the everyday little things that are more supportive than you might expect, and when it’s okay to say no, a line no one seems to know when to cross.
So there is my new plan, and my new commitment to myself and you. A better organized, higher value platform to do what I intended, helping others like me. Helping family members, friends and others see things from a perspective they might not be able to understand. Creating a safe and relatable place where one can learn, ask questions, and grow in their knowledge and confidence with mental illness.
Thanks for being here for the journey, have an awesome day!
Any other writers out there find themselves making the rookie mistakes? Any advice you would provide? Maybe tips or tricks you use to stay on track and focused? Please let me know your thoughts.