Kicking my own fanny into gear...
| Dear Me:
This year hasn't started off particularly well, has it? Things were looking bleak there for a few weeks, but I see now that you're starting to wake up and find your way out of that morass you've wandered into. I'll help. Let's look at what's been hindering you, and how to beat those obstacles.
Family illness. This is the biggie, the main source of worry and stress for this entire month. Watching someone dear to you struggle with serious illness hurts more than suffering it yourself, and I know you've had a lot of sleepless nights and moments of pure despair. But take heart; the patient has turned a corner and is clearly recovering. He has a way to go but with your help and that of other family members and friends, he'll make it. It was a scary struggle, but faith, perseverance, and courage have seen you both through.
Your Own Physical Pain. Yes, you. At some point you're going to need to stop ignoring your body's cries for help and get something done. I know you don't like it, but at the very least alter your lifestyle to ease that pain. It's interfering with everything...home life, job, simple trips to the grocery store, and your writing. You helped your family member beat back his affliction, now it's time to beat back your own. You're not getting any younger, girl.
Poor Time Management. Yes, I said it. You complain that you never have the time to sit down and write regularly, but the truth is you do...you just don't make the best use of the time given you. Get up earlier in the mornings. Write during work breaks. Carry a notebook everywhere. Even when you're taking your recovering family member to medical appointments. It can be done. Hell, didn't J. K. Rowling write the early "Harry Potter" books while commuting to her job? As Eric Clapton once said, it's in the way that you use it. Start using it!
All right, that's the big three obstacles. Now let's move on to the big three goals, and how we can get to them.
Improved quality of life. And by that, I mean mostly "de-cluttering". You know from experience that the act of cleaning somehow gets your creative juices flowing nicely...but it can be hard to get started when every single room in that little house contains the clutter of 30+ years of living there. Getting things in order physically will help you get things in order mentally. Stop fretting over what you can't control and tackle what you can. Start small. A corner, a set of shelves. Marie Kondo that bad boy into shape, move on to the next one. Every completed section is another step on the ladder, and you will be climbing steadily before you know it. And once you feel the encouragement that it brings...that evasive muse of yours will pop out! If that's not an improvement in your quality of life, I can't imagine what is.
Read. Read. Read. Yes, I know, you love to read and shouldn't have to be admonished to do so. But you need to read more, girl. More importantly, you need to read to write...study the techniques of your favorite authors, the authors new to you, and the ones you don't particularly like. When you encounter a book or story you don't care for, ask yourself why. Does the author fail to paint a good picture for you? Is it boring? Preachy? Full of errors some editor should have caught? Blatantly ripping off some better-known and superior work? Knowing what works is certainly important but knowing what doesn't is just as important if not more so. Elsewise, how will you be able to avoid it?
Write. Write. Write. You knew that was coming, right? Goes with the reading. The more of it you do, the better you will get at it. You already do some writing regularly...the occasional WDC contest like this one, your weekly "reminder announcements" for the gaming guild, and irregular stabs at your current project. There's nothing wrong with any of these, except that you need to turn the "irregular" stabs into "regular" ones. You manage to slap together that guild announcement each week, so what's stopping you from doing the same with a story or novel idea? YOU, that's what. You don't need to write a novel or story in the space of a week but set some realistic goals and then stick to them just as you do the guild piece. Finish a character sketch, outline a story, or fill in some background information. When NaNoWriMo goes live again, you'll have a solid goal to aim for and this year...this year...could be the year! Delve into that idea collection you have, pick something, and make it happen. By November 1st, have your idea spelled out so you'll have something to steer by. Then go!
We have covered everything, I think. One month of this year is already gone, but don't waste any more time on regrets or complaints. It's time to get started.