On Learning to Adjust Directions

Diana Beebe, Mermaids Don't Do Windows, MDDW, Diana Beebe's Blog, science fiction, fantasy, Young adultYou have to know that I tend to be directionally challenged. Spin me around in a circle three times and then tell me to walk in a cardinal direction (North, South, East, or West). I almost always will walk in the wrong direction. Who am I kidding? There’s no need to spin me around. It’s one of my super powers. Thank goodness for GPS, right?

But this post isn’t about learning how to read a map or looking at the sun to figure out where West is or depending on GPS to get me somewhere.

It’s about accepting my time limitations. It’s about turning down projects when my schedule doesn’t have room for one more thing—no matter how small. It’s about letting go of things that have a lower priority or don’t directly contribute to achieving my bigger goals.

Sometimes we have to assess the to-do list and realize that we don’t have to do everything.

My to-do list, even after I take off the optional items, is ridiculously long. I’m grateful everyday that I left the corporate day job. I need those extra hours of daylight, because I’m busier now than ever. LOL I still wonder how I accomplished all the things that I did when I worked for someone else. Oh, yeah. I didn’t sleep more than four to five hours a day.

Since then, I’ve included sleep on my to-do list. Sleep isn’t optional anymore. I get six to eight hours most nights now. Shocking, I know.

Recently, I had to add “get roof and all the things damaged by hail replaced” to that list. Yep, more stuff that’s not optional.

Besides the house repairs, I have things I’ve promised to do for other people this month. For example (in no particular order):

  • Prepare my Master’s thesis about Andre Norton for publication on a website devoted to her. How cool is that? I’m absolutely excited about this. Not optional.
  • Edit a novel manuscript. It’s a paid gig. Not optional.
  • Judge some writing for some contests. Not optional.

I’m not going to show you my entire list, because I’m not going to play the “let’s see who’s busier game.” We’re all busy.

Yesterday, I was talking with one of my very close friends about how overwhelmed I’ve been. I was disappointed that I haven’t been successful with the A to Z Challenge this year. I was already behind on the reading-other-blogs part of the challenge. Then, I forgot to write the post for N yesterday. That’s serious. I don’t like to accept reasonable challenges and then not complete them.

My friend, who’s really smart and knows me pretty well, told me that it’s OK to focus on my family, my home, my editing, my writing, and even myself. Why not stop at the M post, the halfway point, and then write the remaining Language of Flowers posts on my own time? Wouldn’t that be more reasonable?

It’s completely reasonable. It was the answer I needed—right in front of my face. Even though dropping one thing feels a little like using a fork to rake a yard full of leaves, it made perfect sense to me. I have to start somewhere.

So, with a little sadness, I’m dropping out of the A to Z Challenge this year. I’ll have time to plan better for next year.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop being a mermaid. That’s also not optional. 😉



10 comments on… “On Learning to Adjust Directions”

  1. That’s a lot to deal with at one time! We’ll miss you in the challenge but I know I’ll be “seeing you” either way. 🙂

    • Diana Beebe

      Awww, thanks, Nicole!! You’re the best! You also know where to find me. :-*

  2. Jolene Navarro

    I have been struggling with the same thing. Dropping the daily blog would be best – but like you I hate “giving up” on something. It makes me feel like a loser. Maybe I will follow your lead and make a decision that is good for my family, health and writing career. I love taking the pictures and planning the blog. So instead of stressing out on this daily time line I will stretch it out. Thank you for sharing you friends wisdom.

    • Diana Beebe

      The challenge is a great way to write more and meet other bloggers, but we have to decide when to let go of something because we have other things that need us. It doesn’t make us a loser or a quitter at all! It just proves that we’re intelligent and thoughtful women who can decide what requires our attention at any given time. :-*

  3. I am so bad at saying no to things. I have this deep-rooted fear that if I turn down an opportunity, I’ll be missing the ONE THING that would have made all the difference. Which is both irrational and unsustainable. Like you, I’ve been making a serious effort to prune my schedule back to something reasonable, and to try to make sure that everything on my list is contributing to the bigger goals. But I still haven’t figured out what to do when the “spend more time doing as-yet-unpaid writing” goal conflicts with the “improve financial security” goal….

    • Diana Beebe

      Ohmigosh, Lindsey! Yes!! I know exactly what you mean. I’ve heard bestselling authors at conferences say to say yes always, but you’re right. It is unsustainable. We have to be choosy but open to new things—such a balancing act. Another way to look at this is pruning. Sometimes we have to prune a rose bush so it grows better. Let’s prune the to-do lists and not feel bad about it! 😀

  4. Knowing when to stop is an important part of knowing one’s boundaries. Prioritising is so important. Happy to hear you’re getting enough sleep now – I would never compromise on that. And I’m glad I discovered your lovely blog through the A to Z Challenge.

  5. Robin Scichili

    Life is messy and always a challenge but it is okay. Letting go of some deadlines and saying no to things liberates us. I look forward to reading your inspirational blog.

    Robin Scichili

    • Diana Beebe

      Robin, saying no isn’t always easy, but I’m learning. Thank you for stopping by!

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