Monday, July 25, 2011

A Little Bit Here... A Little Bit There...



“Fantasizing about pursuing our art full-time, we fail to pursue it part-time – or at all.” Julia Cameron, The Artists Way

This quote has haunted me from the moment I first read it. There are quite a few things I’ve failed to pursue part-time as I adjust to adding an outside job to my workload.

I’ve always been the type of person that wants to tackle one job at a time, working diligently until it’s done and I can move on to the next item on the To Do list.

That process isn’t really an option anymore. There are too many things that need to be tackled, to many distractions, and not enough daylight to allow for that kind of long-term focus.

Take the yard, for instance. I was so overwhelmed last year that the extent of my yard work was paying someone to mow. Needles to say, the jungle has multiplied here in the south.

I keep avoiding it, pretending if I don’t see it, all those saplings, overgrown bushes, and weeds don’t really exist. But that doesn’t work for long – as a few people have taken the time to point out. After reading Cameron’ quote, I decided to tackle the yard 30 minutes at a time (with the kids at my side – which helps me accomplish even more). And only on weekend days, because that’s the only chance I have to do it in the cool of the morning (I’m not desperate enough to see the work done to be doing it in 100 degree heat.).

It’s slow going. And I have to admit that it’s very hard to stop when I hit that 30 minute mark. Just a little more, my brain says… No. No more.

But at least I have the “done” parts to focus on when I pull into the driveway. I smile and go back to pretending the jungle doesn’t exit… for now. I’m attempting to do the same with my writing. Instead of rushing headlong into a project, then petering out in 3 days, I simply ask myself when I have a bit of time, “What can I do, right now, with my creativity that would be fun? Which of my stories do I want to work on? What part (brainstorming, editing, writing, critiquing my work) do I have the energy to do at this moment?”

And I leave the rest for another, hopefully better day.

So tell me, are you a “dig in until I finish” kind of person, or “a little bit here, a little bit there” kind of person?

Angel

9 comments:

Playground Monitor said...

I think I am both. It just depends on what needs to be done. If I really, really dread a task, I'll just dig in and get it over with. Other things, like housework, I can do in bits -- scrub toilets one day, dust another, vacuum another.

Smarty Pants said...

I have no doubt I am an 'all at once' person. I have attempted to do the 'clean a little each night' thing, but it doesn't really work for me. I just look around and see everything else that's dirty. I like the satisfaction of looking around and seeing everything clean at once. If that costs me three hours on a Sunday morning, okay, I just need to schedule for it. I'm all or nothing with most stuff, most notably diet and exercise.

With writing, I think its the same for me. I sat in my 'thinking chair' this weekend and wrote nearly 8k words / 2.5 chapters. But that's the process I've had to develop to work around my other responsibilities. The weekends DB works, I write as much as I can to make up for all the times I can't. The rest of the time, I edit, revise, piddle, etc. If I can snatch time to write, great, but if not, I'm ok with it, because I have that scheduled time coming up. The key is to be prepared and ready to go when the time does come.

Jean Hovey said...

I am and all at once person but after my brother-in-law died and a whole moving truck arrived at my house with furniture and boxes, I took the little at a time approach. I worked on it an hour every morning and my husband and I worked on it an hour every night before dinner. No more. It took us close to a month and anyone who knows me knows how I detest a mess. But dealing with the mess was easier in this case. Not only was it physically overwhelming, these boxes were packed with memories.

Instigator said...

I'm an all or nothing kinda girl. I get excited about something and want to rush headlong into it - ignoring everything else. But like you, that doesn't exactly work with my life. I've had to adjust to doing what I can when I can and leaving the rest until later.

And we don't even want to talk about my yard. I need to do a major landscaping overhaul. I've decided though that it's going to wait until after the summer. I can't do it right now. It isn't my favorite chore to begin with and I doubly hate it in the heat. So I'll wait until fall, rip everything out and start fresh.

Instigator

Angel said...

Well, I got out in the yard to do some work this morning, reached the end of my 30 minutes and started cleaning up debris, only to remember we had to take my car to the shop before hubby went to work. Yep, I got to go to the mechanic sweaty and covered in leafy bits, but its worth it if they can fix my ac...

Angel

robertsonreads said...

I'm with PM, I am a little of both. Yesterday, I mowed, weed wacked, and blowed my yard. Great satisfaction is seeing it look so wonderful. Picked up some in the home but needed to finish reading Sunday's paper. Not happening, so this evening I hope to finish reading the paper and get it outta there. Fold 1 load of laundry and very little afterwards.

Angel said...

Hmmm... looks like the "do it all at once" are edging out the others. Glad to know that tendency is not just another one of my unique quirks. :)

Angel

Cheryl said...

I'm a 'do it all at once' person. I have to finish something I start and I want it finished yesterday. Patience is not my middle name. I am with SP - I want the house clean so at least once I get to see how everything looks before we trash the place again.

Problem Child said...

Well, when it comes to yard work, of of the "only as much as I have to" group If the HOA can't see it, it doesn't get done...

I'm also a "hit the big stuff" -- the biggest project gets tackled first. Of course by the time I finish that, I'm exhausted. But I can move on because I have something concrete to point to! :-)