Friday, September 21, 2007

Where does the time go?

Every morning I wake up with great expectations about what I'm going to accomplish. I make lists. I turn my distractions and lack of discipline over to God. I make up my mind that today will be different and I will finish my housekeeping tasks, I'll stay away from the television and the phone, and I'll even accomplish my word count goals on my current WIP.

Sigh.

Suddenly it's three in the afternoon, I'm winding down and I still haven't written anything worth saving on the hard drive and the kitchen floor still needs mopped. Forget about planning a real meal for dinner.

Why do I keep getting myself in the same perdicament day after day?

For about the first year after leaving the workforce, I was a little dynamo around the house. I mopped and scrubbed my bathrooms twice a week. I never had spots on the mirrors or fingerprints on the refrigerator. I exercised every morning. All the energy and pride I put into my outside job, I transferred into my home.

Over time I extended the amount of time spent on the phone. All those little household chores, I put off until later. "I'll do it tomorrow," I'd tell myself. "I'm not expecting company until the weekend. I'll tidy up the house the morning they arrive." "I've got plenty of time."

Dealing with my writing was even worse. I wonder people who only have an hour or two a day to devote to their writing are more determined to make that hour count. I'm here all day long. If I fritter away my morning lingering over coffee with my husband or watching Dr. Phil, I'll write in the afternoon. If I suddenly realize I haven't changed the sheets in three months and spend my afternoon washing linens and hanging them out on the line to dry, no biggie. I'll make up my word count tomorrow.

And the cycle starts all over again.

Yesterday was a good workday. This morning when I woke up, I realized I had accomplished my household chores--some that don't get attention for weeks on end--and I surpassed my 5000 word goal on my current WIP.

So what had changed? What did I do differently yesterday that I miss on other days. For the most part, I am passionate about my project. I really want to get this baby written, polished, and sent off to the publisher by the end of the year. I'm so excited about it, I can't wait to get at my desk and get to work.

Does passion come naturally? Can we force it or do we have to wait for it to fill our chests with excitement before we jump in and attack a project with fervor? I believe it can be manipulated. Just like in relationships. When my husband and I first started dating, I read an article that said passion only lasted eighteen months. After that, you were going on love or you weren't going at all.

How discouraging. I didn't want the passion and excitement of this relationship to fade after eighteen lousy months. I was crazy about this man. I knew we'd probably be together a loooong time. I wanted more than eighteen months.

What could I do to prolong the excitement of hearing the phone ring and knowing it was him? Or the way my pulse would race when I heard his truck in the driveway?

Hallelujah, there are ways to prolong and encourage passion. It usually takes work and determination on our part. We have to decide we aren't going to settle for mediocrity. Whether in personal relationships or how we feel about our work or hobbies, we can stay excited. We can look forward to what we're doing. We can be so passionate, we can't wait until we sit down in front of that computer and put those brilliant thoughts to the page.

In the words of Dr. Phil, get excited about your life today. Whatever you're doing, renew your earlier passion. It was worthwhile in the beginning. It's worthwhile now.

In case you're wondering, I'm still crazy about my husband. That eighteen months has stretched into nineteen years. I won't lie and tell you he doesn't sometimes drive me crazy. But I still look forward to his phone calls and hearing his SUV in the driveway. And his kisses... Well, we won't go there. Have a wonderful day.

Teresa

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