Things Besides Writing

hourglassThe weekend before last, my husband and I had a wonderful weekend. We went to a bed & breakfast near Picton, just us and the dog. We’d been there before; I mentioned it in another post. It was the dog’s first time.

This is a special sort of bed & breakfast. It’s more like renting a two-bedroom apartment, where one of those bedrooms is a 150-year-old stone cabin. And the breakfast stuff is there, but you make it yourself.

In short, it’s perfect for a writing retreat. Or in Aaron’s case, a coding retreat. We both loved immersing ourselves in our projects. It was hard work, but the relaxing kind of hard work. And at night, there were so few lights around that when we brought the dog out into the giant farmer’s field of a backyard, we could see every star in the sky. All of them. Even the ones that are invisible.

Oh, and a few planets, too.

It was lovely and productive. And then we came home.

Since then, things haven’t gone quite so smoothly. My writing time is being eaten up by other, writing-related things. I’m planning a book launch (see banner above) and working out bookstore visits for after the book comes out. I’ll be teaching a writing-for-children class in Oshawa, starting tonight. That part is exciting. There are critiques to do and meetings to attend and notes and emails to write. And, of course, there are the non-writing-related things. We don’t need to get into those.

But before I leave for class tonight, I’m going to finish the current chapter of my work in progress. Because there’s no point doing all the bookstore visits and teaching courses and building a platform if I’m not writing.

It’s tricky sometimes, not letting the supporting work overtake the work that matters. And sometimes things get in the way. But I think it’s still important to set goals, even if they’re smaller ones, and to stick to those goals.

Writing retreats aren’t always possible. And sometimes writing just has to get crammed in around the edges of life.

It comes back to focus, and to knowing what you want. My goal is to be a writer. Not a teacher of writing, not a bookstore visitor, although those things are fun too.

When it comes to writing, Kathy Stinson taught me that what doesn’t add, detracts. That’s probably a life rule, too. And I’m quite sure it’s a rule for the writing life.

So I’m going to work a little harder, and remind myself that the most important thing I do here at my desk is writing stories. And now I have a chapter to finish.

How do you keep focus when things get busy?

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2 Responses to Things Besides Writing

  1. The lesson you mention that Kathy Stinson taught you rings SO true. When Other Things start to take over, a strange emptiness invades the heart of a writer–a lesson I’m re-learning, and re-learning. Some day soon I pray it sinks in… For us both!


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