Navigating the stream
Writing at home full-time is a dream of mine. I realize it’s a dream shared by millions, if not billions, of people and very few have the privilege of living it. You need a benefactor, or a windfall of money, to sustain yourself financially and that’s if you’re only trying to support yourself. In addition to the practical reality of surviving, you also need self-discipline and self-confidence to keep at it when your ideas dry up and you doubt your talent. The two blogs I write have generated little interest in the online world, but that doesn’t take away the joy I’ve found creating them. It’s a benefit that few people have read either one because I haven’t had to withstand scathing criticism, deserved or not. Praise, I suspect, is less apt to be found from writing in this way although it’s nice when someone comments positively.
The two enemies I most commonly encounter daily are fatigue, and loss of time. I live with a man who can survive on 4 hours of sleep a night during the work week, and then “make-up” for what he’s lost on the weekend by sleeping in. This is not a cycle that works especially well for me, and being a light sleeper I end up getting very broken sleep as well as too few hours of it. Once everyone has left for work and school, I usually crawl back into bed and grab an hour while I can. This has a HUGE impact on my productivity. Guilt inevitably follows these naps and I often find it’s 3:00 before I’ve actually begun anything. This leaves me with 30 minutes until the first child gets home from school, and the other two follow in succession soon after. This is where time management skills would benefit me greatly. It is so easy to get buffeted about by the stream of thoughts and emotions that cascade from my fractious mind. Checking my email is often the first thing I do when starting my day. This can take minutes to hours depending on what newsletters have arrived with links to other websites that lead me inexorably toward accomplishing nothing, other than reading, which while mentally rewarding does not generate anything I can point to as a “product.” Attending to my blogs helps make the day seem worthwhile, but the benefits to my family are hard to assess. (a more mentally balanced Mom?)
The physics of time makes no sense to me, whether due to my PTSD, my inborn genetics, or some combination of factors. Minutes, even hours, disappear in a stretch and I’ve yet to find a way of reclaiming them. The tool I’ve found most helpful in staunching the flow of insensible time loss from my day is mindfulness practice. It’s slow going. That’s probably best though, with the time left in this life running quickly by. Anything that can help bring me back to presence, even for an instant, is a blessing. Spending time with my Father, which I shared about in my last “Reintegrating” post, has shown me how vital being present is. A moment of thankfulness is here, right now, for that. To those of you who are successfully living the dream, I’ll be watching for tips as I continue in my own pursuit of it.