By Gigi Rosenberg
This year it was the simple things that catapulted me forward as a writer. I learned to not check email first thing in the morning and to work on my most important writing project first – even if it was one without a due date. That meant that later in the day when I got to the stuff I had to do, I didn’t mind: I’d already had dessert.
I cleared off my desk and bulletin board of all clutter so that everything in front of me relates to what I’m writing right now. No dry-cleaning receipts or half-off pizza coupons.
At the end of every workday I organized myself for the next morning. So when I arrived at my office I knew exactly where to start. This helped me not get stuck in any more existential anxiety than necessary.
I took frequent walks and stretch breaks which helped me write more. Many writing snags unsnarled while walking my dachshund.
This year, I learned to go at a turtle’s pace: a few things done everyday led to bigger things done. When I got anxious, I didn’t focus on the big things, I focused on the next thing. I asked myself when I was stuck: What could you do right now that could move this forward? Sometimes the answer was to let it sit.
I listened to my thoughts. When they swirled in negativity, I labeled them. I paid attention to how they affected my mood. I didn’t try to stop my thoughts or micro-manage them but I noticed the power of naming them.
This year I got the usual good stuff done: teaching, writing for new publications, collaborating with other writers, etc. But the biggest thing I did this fall was to clear my schedule of anything extraneous and finish two big writing projects. I worked on them like a turtle. I even took naps. This calm and steady pace is what I’m bringing into 2009.
How boring I might have once thought. But this year, I knew better.