Saturday, November 2, 2013

Following Passions

I set myself a totally unrealistic goal of writing my YA dystopian novel in 2 weeks. I got pretty close at just under 40,000 words. Then my awesome little 5 year old got called to be a featured extra in a movie, and I lost 3 days of writing time.

It has been amazing watching my little man pursue his passion, and I was happy to put mine on hold to be there to witness it. But now it is time to hunker down and finish this rough draft so the revisions can begin.

We all give up things to pursue our passions. I recently read a post by literary agent, Rachelle Gardener about just that over at  the Books and Such blog. Being the chronic over scheduler that I am, I thought it was a great post. Of course we can't do it all! But still, most of us try.

We've all heard about setting priorities, not biting off more than you can chew, and a whole slew of other clich├ęs that are basically telling us that we can't do everything. But if we can't do it all, what are we willing to give up?

I love lists, so after reading Rachelle's post, I pulled out a stack of paper and a pen (yep, I still those old fashioned tools), intent on distilling my life into my passions. Now, you should know that in addition to being a chronic over-scheduler, I am also extremely passionate about a lot of things, perhaps annoyingly so.

So I made a list. Wow! There were a lot of things on it! I had to let some things go (my homeschooling/crafting/recipe blog for one). I finally narrowed it down to the 7 things I most want to focus on in my life. I list them here in no particular order.
           1. My marriage
           2. Homeschooling and raising my children (including      
               carting them around to gymnastics and acting)
           3. Writing (thus the birth of this blog)
           4. Next Step (my non-profit parent resource center)
           5. Being healthy (nutrition, exercise, healthy home
               environment, mental/emotional health)
           6. Acting (I miss this greatly, more so after spending the
               week on set)
           7. Singing (I miss this too!)

These are the things I love. From now on if something doesn't fit into one of these categories, I'm either delegating or it is not going to be done at all.

This isn't the first time i've made cuts to my activities.  Earlier this year i calculated how long it would take me each day to actually do everything I wanted (or needed) to do - 35 hours, I made some cuts. Some of the things I gave up then: I delegated gift shipping/deciding/mailing for my husband's side of the family to him, sometimes I buy cleaners and certain foods instead of making them if I am short on time, I deleted a lot of pages and groups on Facebook, i spend less time on Pinterest and apps, I've unsubscribed from a ton of e-mail lists and blogs, I don't search for new recipes or make things that involve a lot of steps or active prep time, and I don't coach my son's soccer team anymore. I'm sure there were a lot of cuts that I miss so little I don't even remember them.

The hardest thing, by far, had been learning to say no. And I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. We all have the same amount of time - 24 hours per day. So I don't say, "I don't have time," because the truth is that I do. I just choose to spend it on the things that are important to me, just like the people who tell me no because they "don't have time." And that's okay.

Tell me in the comments:
What are your passions? What have you given up to be able to pursue them? What will you consider giving up now?

New goal: completed rough draft by November 15. I'll be losing a few more days while he is on set, and another couple because my baby is turning 3 on Monday. I see no reason that I can't reach this goal.