08 February 2013

Take time or time out

I have a little reminder that pops up on my computer to relax my eyes by looking away for a minute. For me it is also to remind me to stand up and let my back take a break. News flash for the determined can't-take-a-break me. It doesn't help me if I ignore it. Too often that's what I do.

Time out in Florida--I
jumped in the pool
in my pajamas. 
So how do I get myself to take those needed breaks? In my example above, it's a break from working at the computer. I also need a reminder to take a break from my "other life" and let my writerly self sit down to the computer and put my hands on the keys. I want to write my life story, memoir, autobiography, whichever it turns out to be, but I have to remind myself to do it. Then do it. Usually when I start, I get interested (and ignore the "eyes relax" and stand up reminder). The other day my writing mentor challenged me to sit down and open the file. Only that. After FaceBook and Gmail each got a share of my attention, I did it. I opened it. And yes, it whetted my appetite.

The last week in January I took a week's worth of time out to devote to writing about my life. It was a writing retreat. I wrote. I wrote and I processed my writing with my mentor and I revised and wrote some more. We read chapters from our writing books. We read from our own life writing. It was healing (writing always seems to be) and it was motivating. The Family History Writing Challenge Forum (http://familyhistorywritingchallenge.lefora.com) is a way for us to encourage each other and to find motivation. I have joined a class that is really a writing group for amateurs to share stories and encouragement with one another. A Wednesday afternoon time writing time is now on my schedule (plus the time it takes to prepare to share).

But sometimes I need to just jump in without scheduling. Just do it. Surprise myself. Write because it's fun and because I want to. That's usually how I write a post for this blog. I just jump right in and write. Like I jumped into the swimming pool in January still wearing my pajamas. Today I am still wearing my pajamas while writing this post. That works too.

If we are serious about family history writing, we will schedule a time-out for writing, whether it lasts a week, an hour or 10 minutes. Then we jump in and write whenever we can. Let me get personal here. I just need to get going. I don't have to be overwhelmed. There is power in just doing a little bit. Today I will.

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