My goodness. Is it Friday yet?
This has been a busy week. The other day on Twitter I listed out all the various accounts I now have on social media: five email addresses, three Facebook pages, two Twitter feeds and two blogs. I’m now an assistant editor with a literary magazine, as well as the ‘owner’ of my own small business (can I say ‘owner’ when nothing, on the face of it, has actually changed?), and I’m still making time to write amid all the clamour too, of course. Writing is what I do, after all. Isn’t it?
For a person who tends, in all other ways, to be cautious, I can also be rather impulsive. The more important something is, the quicker I can seem to make a decision about it. Choosing a pair of socks in the morning, therefore, can turn into an angst-ridden melodrama; deciding to go ahead and set up a proto-business, however (albeit one that’s been brewing in the back of my mind for over six months) was rather spur-of-the-moment. Perhaps this is because the pressure of an important decision tends to cave me in, and I choose a course of action so as not to remain on the precipice for too long. Or, perhaps – and this is a little more comforting – I’m allowing myself to be guided by my ‘hindbrain’, which knows better than I do about what’s right and wrong and which doesn’t see the need for delaying proceedings
Whatever the reason, I’ve been making a lot of decisions this week and throwing so much caution to the wind that it’s surprising I have any left at all.
But it’s exhilarating too, of course.
Yesterday morning, after I’d completed my story for the Wednesday Write-In, I found myself doing some reading for the literary magazine (Number Eleven, for the curious, in which I was published a little over a year ago; if you haven’t checked it out before, or it’s been a while since you’ve taken a peek, go and have a look. It’s gorgeous.) Once I’d popped off my feedback to the editor, I turned to my own WiP, which has been languishing for a fortnight, read it through – editing as I went – and added just over 1500 words to it. Then, I decided to take another plunge and create a Facebook page for my new business, Yellow Road Editing Services – and, because people are wonderful, it has been ‘liked’ almost sixty times in less than twenty-four hours. All the while, I was keeping up with the Twitter feeds both for myself and for Yellow Road, and keeping an eye on blog traffic, too.
It was a lot to get through in one day, and I’ve taken away a few valuable lessons from the experience:
People are wonderful. I have had so much support and goodwill shown to me over the past few days that it would, quite frankly, bring a tear from a turnip.
Getting up early in the morning is a great habit to have. I started work yesterday at 6.30 a.m., and kept going – pretty much uninterrupted – until 4. I’m usually awake by about 6.30 most mornings, which proves that you can train even the nightliest night-owl to be an early riser with enough cold water and torture… I mean, willpower and motivation. (And yes, I know ‘nightliest’ isn’t a word. But doesn’t it sound pretty?)
Dividing one’s attention is hard. Yesterday, I tried to do All the Things All at Once. This isn’t usually a good idea, no matter what you’re attempting to do, and despite the fact that I know this, I still try to do it from time to time. Yesterday was one of those times. I found my attention being dragged away from my WiP because I wanted to make sure I’d sent the proper Excel sheet to the editor or because I had to check one of my email accounts or because someone followed me on Twitter, or because… the list went on.
What I should have done – and what I will do, from now on – was take a deep breath and a step back, and realise that everything will get done in its own time. Putting myself into a frazzle is going to accomplish exactly nothing, and may in fact hamper my efforts to be productive. I’m going to get a wall calendar and block off the days, focusing on one thing at a time, and I think I’ll change my screensaver to a picture of the gently smiling Buddha, or something. As my sainted mother always says: you can only do a day’s work in a day. She’s right, as she is about everything.
And, of course, the more divided your attention is, the more your work – all your work – will suffer. And nobody wants that. (And yes, I know I just started three sentences in a row with ‘and’, but it was for emphasis. I can do this. I’m a professional. Don’t try it at home.)
So, in honour of May Day and its traditional association with workers, I’m going to resolve to work smarter and harder, and to love every second. Stress isn’t a nice thing, but it’s also a powerful motivator, and I’m going to try to use it as a force for good in my life from this day forth.
All right, all right. I’d better sign off here, and get on with the rest of it. Jeez, you guys are hard taskmasters.
Happy May Day!