Effort

flowers_sTEN DAYS ON, AND I am feeling good. It started with my decision to start writing on here again on a schedule; my blocking out on the calendar a full day a month to write—yes, a writing retreat; getting all my materials from last year’s online writing classes together; and recommitting to writing, at least some, daily.

I also have been going to yoga and meditating regularly again; and working in the yard, going to the movies, and playing again. I’m reading more. I’m doing nice things for myself. Even work is sort of better. Basically, I have gone back to applying some effort toward being mindful of how I spend my time. Life. It’s an unfinished project, but I am getting better at it.

Since my last post, I met with my biggest writer-cheerleader friend and was greatly encouraged. I got a facial. I met with my new writing group and was encouraged even more. I worked in the yard. I did fun things with friends. I had my writing retreat! I’ve kept busy (but not lazy busy) and haven’t been able to do everything I’d like to—that would be impossible—but it’s a nice feeling to know that my time is being well spent.

What works best for me when I feel like I can’t get a good grip on my time is to make a list. I write down those things I want to get done that day or that weekend or that week or that month (it can be good to have a few lists going for the different time frames). Then I prioritize the list, roughly.

There’s always more on it than can possibly be done, but that’s actually a good thing. Why? Because that gives me ideas of things to do—and permission to do them—if I don’t feel like doing the other thing on the list that I thought I should be doing. As I see it, as long as it’s on the list, I can do it and feel like I’m spending my time well. If it’s not on the list, I don’t do it; either that or I realize it should have been on the list and I just forgot or changed my mind.

Dave X Robb in Munich AirportFor me, there’s this delicate balance between structure and fluidity. I want to put some effort into life, using my time wisely; but I also want to be supple in the way I go about it, feeling free to change course, to have options, to follow my mood if it changes, as it inevitably does.

And I don’t want to do too much. I want to feel good about being productive, but I also want to feel good about everything, including those times when I’m needing a break from getting so much done. That happened to me last weekend after I got home from class late Sunday. I’d had two busy, productive, and immensely fulfilling (not to mention sunny) days in a row, with back-to-back trips to Oakland and lots of emotion (mostly happy, some sad) and crushing on guys and overlapping appointments and all whatnot, and when I finally landed at home on the couch, I crashed.

With ice cream. And backgammon. And it was good.

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2 thoughts on “Effort

  1. I’m honored to get a little cameo in this wonderful story of returning to the things that make you a writer: life, community, commitment to your work. Thanks for making the effort to share your voice with us, Dave.

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