Here in the Central time zone, we sprung ahead Sunday morning, or set our clocks forward one hour. It’s 7:00pm as I write, and still bright outside. I notice I have more energy at this hour than I did last week, when it was darker out. Or maybe it’s the anticipation of warmer weather. Whatever it is, I feel full of energy and look forward to beginning some new writing projects.
Just as we reset our clocks, the arrival of spring is also a great time to reset our writing. I like to schedule out one whole day each spring to plan my writing for the next few months. If you can’t spare an entire day, take as little as an hour or two to simply think about how far your writing has come, and where you want it to go. Maybe it’s time to take on a large project, write that memoir you’ve been thinking about for years. Or maybe you might be considering taking a writing class or going on a writing retreat. The summer brings loads of educational opportunities for writers; read Poets and Writers or Writer’s Digest for upcoming workshops.
As writers, we often get so consumed with details that it’s good to stop and look at the big picture. Ask yourself, are you as productive as you want? Are you writing what you want to be writing? Are you happy? If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” then perhaps it’s time to reset your writing.
- Find a quiet spot, get comfortable and with eyes closed, breathe in, breathe out.
- For 5 minutes, simply breathe, checking your body for points of tension.
- After the 5 minutes, continue to breathe in, and breathe out as you ask yourself, “Am I the writer I want to be?”
- Take a few minutes, or as much time as you need, to name it. What do you want your writing life to look like? Pick up a pen and paper and write down what you want as a writer.
Have you considered what the word “writer” means to you? Everyone has differing levels of expectations, dreams, and goals. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious as long as you don’t become too attached to the outcome. Many writers hold the idea of being a “writer” to such a high esteem they would never dream of identifying themselves as a writer, even though that’s what they do the majority of their time!
Once you have identified the writer you want to be, write down some things you can do in the short term and long term to become that writer. Take the first step today. Maybe it’s taking a class. Maybe it’s scheduling a two-hour writing session for Sunday morning. Maybe it’s not writing but taking some time out to live so you’ll have something to write about!
Whatever steps you decide to take, make sure you remain mindfully in the present while you plan for the future, and don’t despair about setbacks. Today it’s 70 degrees here; tomorrow the forecast is rain changing to snow. That’s a minor setback. Spring officially begins March 20. Will you be working toward the writer you want to be?