It’s time to check in on the progress I’ve been making with my work/life reboot.
In general, it hasn’t been a bad week… even if I’ve had a few days in a row that have felt like I completely stalled on all the progress I’d been making. Really, that’s why these regular updates are helpful for me: they make me sit down and think about each of my individual goals, and honestly assess how I’ve been doing. It’s so easy to let a few bad days discourage me (or to get complacent after a few particularly good days), but when I look at the week as a whole… it’s good. I like the progress I’m seeing.
A quick recap: a little over a week ago, I decided that I needed to get out of the creative and productive rut I’ve fallen into over the past few months. And it would be good if I could prevent myself from going down a similar path in the future.
So I’ve set some goals for the rest of the year, to build a solid foundation for myself and my long-term goals going into 2019.
I’m going to check in with these goals every week. I still haven’t quite decided what form these check-ins are going to take (and they’re not all going to be on Thursdays, mostly because a lot of my regular posts tend to fall around the weekend). But for now, one week in, I’m just going to look at each of those goals, and the progress I’m making (or not).
It’s been a long, hot summer, and in the past few months I have fallen out of every good habit I’d managed to establish in the first half of the year.
I’ll be honest: the heatwave has been awful for my motivation this month. I haven’t wanted to do anything but hide indoors and stare at my phone. (Even watching a movie or reading has felt like it required too much energy the last few weeks.)
My goals going into July were to write (including outlining and editing) more days than not, and to keep going with my photography project. I wanted to make it another 1/3 of the way through editing The Black Sun, and make a good start on the Violet Lane outline. And I wanted to start carrying a real camera more often.
We’re officially half-way through the year. Or we will be in a few days.
I’m mostly saying that to remind myself, because it feels like 2018 is never going to end. It feels like we’ve been stuck in 2018 for three years already, it will always be 2018, this is our life now. This is an impossible year in which to write, or look for beauty, or make art in general. June in particular has been a difficult month - in light of the news, it’s hard not to feel like this is all a little bit shallow.
But art - writing and photography - is what’s keeping me sane this month. This year.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into May.
I finished April feeling good about how I was approaching my goals. I was feeling really good about the first draft of The Black Sun and my writing routine in general, but not so great about Violet Lane. And kind of awful about my photography. And I wasn’t exactly clear on my goals for May; I knew I wanted to keep moving forward, but beyond that…?
So I have no real metrics with which to judge May. Vague emotional impressions, it is!
I had one big goal in April: to get over the ennui and inertia of March and find my focus again. (So… nothing too big, then?)
I think I succeeded. Mostly.
The first step was reviewing and revising my long-term goals, and figuring out how to keep them top-of-mind. And that’s actually been the biggest change I’ve made this month: I’ve completely changed the way I set and keep track of my goals, and I’m working to modify the ways I juggle day-to-day tasks and projects. I’ve taken some big steps, but the whole thing still feels very much like a work-in-progress; I’m still making little changes, and figuring out the flaws in my new systems, but I do feel like I’m (finally) on the right track. (I’ll go into more detail later, once I’ve ironed out the kinks. The whole thing feels like it merits its own post.)
That’s the general. And I’ll be honest: the general is working better than the specific for me right now.
I thought that this was going to be a new monthly feature for the blog, but it's really just a revamp of one that I let slide two years ago. This time, instead of sharing one cool thing every week, I'll be doing a monthly roundup of all the things (articles, videos, et cetera) that I can't stop thinking about. Enjoy!
The last few years, I’ve chosen a watchword to take me into the new year, a small mantra to remind me of my goals, both big and small.
I still don’t know what possessed me to try a 365 project in 2017. When I started, I was pretty sure it would turn out like the attempts I’d made before: three months in, I’d be taking the most boring snapshots in the world, simply to fulfil the obligation. I didn’t think that I’d make it through the year without getting bored or resentful, and I definitely didn’t think that the project would do as much for my photography in general as it did.