OK. So this is kind of cheating. Vanessa Mártir’s original prompt was to write an essay a week for 52 weeks. 52 essays in a year. Well, I got behind in September/October when a lot was going on in my life: directorship, work on boards, the loss of several good friends and mentors in a very short time span, fertility treatments.
So here I am writing mini-reflections/essays on the last day of 2017.
But that’s how it works sometimes: you get to the last day and you get it done. At this point, I’m 4 little mini-essays away from getting it done or not. I can see that finish line.
Most folks who follow me on Facebook know that I do a LOT of lists. They exhaust me and those who read them, but they help me to prioritize, strategize, and hold myself accountable in a public space. Sometimes things carry for a long while, but eventually they all get done or I realize that whatever it was doesn’t actually need me to do it.
At this point, I’m keeping lists on Facebook for public accountability and a journal with lists that I open up in meetings, because folks might think I’m slacking if I open up my Facebook to check my lists and whether I can move on or not.
Some folks keep post-it notes. I used to do that when I was keeping track of my lists in a calendar. For three years, I did this over the top analysis of my commitment to teaching, scholarship, service, and a personal life as a way of working towards balance. Really anything less than teaching/scholarship/service as 50% and personal life as 50% was ultimately an indicator of imbalance I realize now, but the calendar was a way of making sure that my personal life had at least some weight in the calculation.
When working on a new book, I also keep a running journal on my computer, writing about what I am thinking, dreaming, wanting to work on, reading, etc each morning. It’s something I might for poetic lines when I’m struggling for a way to begin a new work. I might include in there a list of poetic forms to explore and then challenge myself with the mental exercise of writing in the form and then re-writing the poem by breaking the form with a bevy of new rules. Puzzling is actually part of my work process pretty often. I play sudoku at the expert level, word puzzles, silly games on my phone. If my dog didn’t eat the pieces of the jigsaw puzzles I’d love to do, Matteo and I would still be doing them on our dining room table. They help to re-energize my mind for puzzling in the work sphere.
I actually did a few sudoku at around the essay 9 catch-up point.
One of my other strategies is to just get my butt in the chair and do the work. I’m quick to come up with an organizing project when I’m avoiding work. Hence, organizing my closets a few days ago. If I make myself sit down until it’s done, then I have a hope of being successful.
Curious about the strategies that others put into place: Wunderlist or Evernote or post-its or affirmations on a mirror or what? (Tried all of these for sure)
#49of52, #52essays2017, #twt,