Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | March 16, 2014

ROW80 Check-in Breaking Away From “Should”

I woke up Thursday morning with the feeling that I was letting time and goals slip through my fingers.  While ROW80 is famous for allowing one to adjust one’s goals (thank goodness!), there comes a point at which I wonder what the heck I’m doing. The simple answer is that I’m trying to do too much. The good news is that I still want to “find”  the time to write.

I do a lot of “shoulds.” I over-extend at the day job, so that I come home with a mush-brain at night, good for nothing but binge TV and knitting.  Despite my recent sponsor post warning against the “I should have done more” syndrome, I have fallen into it, in both the day job and the writing sphere. Thursday morning, I realized how many plates I was juggling, and that I desperately needed to put some of them down. 

After dropping out of an academic writing group and not joining a fiction critique group that was forming last week, I felt guiltily relieved.  My muse is only peeking out of the corner, and I know that I must nurture and protect its space right now. Do you fall prey to the dreaded “should”?  If so, how do you fight it?

My ROW80 update:

  1. Meditate for no less than ten minutes a day. Yes.
  2. Find gratitude for at least one thing every day. Yes.
  3. Return to the daily habit of at least 250 words a day.  Not daily, but yes.
  4. Never sit when I can stand, never stand when I can pace.  Stand for at least 5 minutes every hour; pace for at least 5 minutes every hour; walk for 5 minutes every 2 hours. Yes.
  5. Contact every extended family member on their birthday. Yes.
  6. Reply to comments on blogs within two days.  Better.

More is getting done, and baby steps are coming back as habits.  I’m happy to see some progress, and I’m not beating myself up for shortfalls. Please go encourage ROWers in these last few check-ins here

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Responses

  1. I know that guiltily relieved sensation all too well. It’s easy to take on too much (and the world is happy to oblige when one opens his/her arms and offers to try to get just one more thing done).

    I know it’s hard to break through the guilt (oh, do I know!) but please let me encourage you to take on just one more “should”.

    You should not hold onto the guilt. It will pass, and your life will be so much richer for letting it go. Truth is, in the grand scheme of human existence, the joy you exude when feeling in touch with yourself is more of a blessing to pass onto the world than almost anything else any of us can offer… (my not-so humble opinion, of course)

  2. Good for you that you are easing up on yourself and putting what is important to you first. Those ‘shoulds’ are wicked slave drivers if we let them be.

  3. Oh yes, I know all about the “shoulds”! (And the day job, and the lack of brain in the evening, and the beating oneself up, and the creating habits out of baby steps.) That’s one of the things I’m working on right now, too. One of the ways I’m fighting it is by admitting in my ROW80 posts when I’ve fallen short, but then celebrating what I did get done. Another is realizing that my “shoulds” bear no resemblance to reality and what I can reasonably do.

    Many kudos to you for recognizing that your muse needs space and safeguarding what little you can get!

  4. I live in the Land of Should. It’s a mother mantra, isn’t it? I should make my kids eat healthier, I should keep the house cleaner, I should volunteer at their school more, etc. And yes, it slips into my writing plans as well. I currently feel like I should be further along in my short stories, but I had some blips and simply had to deal with them as they came. C’est la vie!

    I agree that all that should-ing can layer guilt that doesn’t really help progress. We “should” simply get done what we can and not sweat the small stuff. 🙂

    You had a good week, though! I really think you did. Hope you can find even more writing time this week. Have a great round!

  5. Shoulds and Gottas are going to be the death of me yet.

  6. Sorry, I’m late. I should have been here earlier, but I couldn’t get over here until today. See, we all do the should thing. Some of us are more proficient than others. I have to say that I see a lot of yeses next to your list of goals. That’s awesome Elizabeth. Sometimes we can only do one day at a time. I think you’re doing great. And you’re blogging! Yay for you! Keep it up and have a terrific week! 🙂


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