2019 Goals Recap – Week #11

Edit: After a couple of very insightful comments (thanks John and Jill!), I realized this post came off way more angst-filled than intended. Probably a hazard of the very thing I talk about in here–trying to do too much with too little time and hitting “Publish” before giving it a night to rest so I can re-read.

Long story short, all’s well in my world. I’ve just had a bad couple of weeks with the writing run and I realized that I’ve needed to pull back a little. That realization is a good thing and something I haven’t been able to do in the past without unneeded anxiety.

So, I’ll wrap up my current commitments (in which I now know is too much for me) and then get back to emphasizing the writing!

I have a couple of problems right now…

One, I’ve become way too critical with my writing. This happens sometimes when I spend a lot of time studying. It’s difficult for me to flip the switch from critical-brain activities to creative-brain activities. It’s something I need to work on. Something I need to practice. I have two half-written short stories that started with a bang and just stopped cold. I made the mistake of trying to consciously apply the things I’ve learned from the workshop and what I’ve been actively studying and that’s made the writing slow and agonizing.

It was the first time in a long time that I actually finished a day with less wordcount than I started with–I kept going over what I’d written and deleting stuff I thought was crap on a sentence-level.

Bad idea. As I re-read what I’d written, I felt like the life just got sucked right out of the story.

Two, I am trying to do too much.

I’ve been trying to get back into the exercise routine that I skipped out on both while attending the Anthology Workshop and upon my return when my family was sick.

Health and family are take importance for me above writing, so I’ve been putting my focus on that.

Plus, I have a lot of assigned reading to catch up on for another craft workshop (writing mystery stories) that will be taking place in April. This one’s a ‘study-along’ format which takes place during the actual on-site workshop, but without needing to travel. Still, there is some pre-reading that’s been assigned. I just finished the first 800-page anthology that needed to be read and have, oh, about seven or eight more books to finish by mid-April.

So, yeah, it’s a constant battle to figure out just when I’m taking on too much. When that happens, I need to make hard choices. For better or for worse, I’ve decided to prioritize the reading over the writing at the moment. I feel that if I didn’t, the workshop wouldn’t be nearly as useful and I really need to start thinking long-term.

And, to be honest, I’m finding some amazing stories and future writing to study. The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century really lives up to its name. I never realized how much I liked mysteries until I read through this amazing volume. A few new authors have now hit my bookstore shopping list.

Okay, on to the food (for those that care). I had wanted to do corned beef for St. Patty’s day, but I just didn’t get in enough lead time to do the corning. So, I “settled” for Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting.

Yeah. It came out as good as it sounds.

Always start with quality ingredients…

Unfortunately, WordPress is not playing nice with my photos and I can’t seem to upload any besides that. So you’ll just have to take my word for it (or admire the background of the featured image).

I hope you all had a wonderful past week and are looking forward to success in the coming week!

-Phillip

14 thoughts on “2019 Goals Recap – Week #11”

  1. I always hate to see you in such angst. I think you should just write and forget the seminars for a while. You are not going to grow as a writer doing what others think is the right way to do things. There I’ve said it. The cake shouds wonderful.

    1. John, this is why I love you and Jill and all my writer friends. You’re always looking out for me. I’ve reread my post and realized I probably hit the Publish button way too soon on it. It certainly comes off WAY more angsty than I’m feeling right now. I’m actually feeling pretty happy with where I’m at, all because I realized I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and I know I need to cut something back.

      I know I’ll be writing again very soon. I just need to wrap up this workshop I’ve already paid for and then carry on with a more manageable workload.

      After a long journey over the years, I’ve come to learn that’s a hazard of the way I operate…tending to err on the side of too much rather than too little. And I’ve learned to be more accepting and willing to prioritize.

      Anyway, hope that all makes sense. I really appreciate having you all by my side and wished I could share some of that chocolate cake with you (assuming there was any left… Not fessing up to anything). 😒😉

      1. Phillip, one other thing on top of what John said: Remember that what you learned That Was Of Value To You has already sunk into your subconscious and will come out as necessary as you write. Just learn to trust your subconscious again and your characters will lead you through their story. We’re all pulling for you.

        1. Thank you, Harvey. This is definitely something I remembered last night. A little later than I would have preferred, but the wagon’s still there, waiting for me to hop back on. 🙂

  2. Harvey Stanborough is talking about reading critically in his latest blog post, maybe it can help you some:
    https://hestanbrough.com/the-daily-journal-sunday-march-17/

    It’s not easy to prioritise, but if you think it would be more profitable for you in the long run to concentrate on the reading right now, then I guess it’s the right decision for you now.

    As long as it is a conscious decision that you make, and as long as you go back to writing afterwards, I guess you should cut yourself some slack and not feel guilty for not writing at the moment.

    Enjoy the reading—hopefully for pleasure and not critically. It’s indeed a huge list but there are truly fantastic stories in it.

    1. Thanks for sharing the link, Céline. That was certainly a timely post by Harvey (and Tony). I’ve decided to shoot for an easy five minutes of writing a day while I’m working through the reading assignment. That way I’ll at least keep the typing fingers fresh. I’m definitely reading for pleasure, but making note of certain stories to revisit and study at some point.

      1. Thanks for the nod, Céline, and Phillip, good on you for letting yourself play a little amidst all the work. (grin)

  3. It’s frustrating when we realize we’ve taken on too much and have to cut back. If I listed all my current commitments, I’d wind up back in bed with the blankets pulled over my head 😉 Fortunately for me, I have plenty of latitude. My current course is online, inexpensive, and short. Still, to do due diligence I have a lot of reading and commenting expected. So I feel your pain (although not to the degree you feel it). I agree that you should focus on your course since it’s already paid for and you are enjoying the reading. Also, you might learn more from the reading than the actual course.

    You’re a writer. You don’t have to write everyday. You have nothing to prove. Keep a copy of 52 Stories near you at all times. That’s all the proof you need.

    1. Yes, I think we have similar mindsets, Marie! I feel bad if I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself enough and then I feel bad if I push myself too much…it’s a fine balance. 🙂 But I’m getting way better at dealing with the anxiety and accepting the need to reduce the load when required.

      And thanks for the reminder about looking at what we’ve already accomplished. A good thing to always keep in mind. 🙂

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