The clock’s ticking . . .

While we consolidate and settle in, another parameter of life is returning: a sense of a routine, a schedule. Since we are such creatures of habit, the disorientation when the routine has been thrown awry can be discomfiting.

Just as worrying to me, however, has been the sense that I’ve taken on too much again, and particularly on the writing front. I can tell that the anxiety is building: the first line I laid down on a poetic effort yesterday in response to the new weekly task refers to the kitchen clock in my study ticking loudly in my ear! But there’s a simple solution, and one that, having taken on a challenge, I’m usually very loath to explore. And that is: divest one or two of these challenges, and concentrate on those that remain.

So I begged off from one of the writing groups I’d joined. Two is enough, but three had become too much. I do feel a sense of relief, and I can clock that sense by the parallel feeling that I must now settle into a work routine. That makes sense, because I know that the joy of the routine is at least as pleasurable as the completion of any task. The doing, not only the getting there, in other words.

But to remove one of the tasks from the ambition list — that feels rather dramatic too. It turns out that I must reconcile my ambitions to the reality revealed in the group I’d joined so eagerly a year or so ago: my science fiction efforts have not elicited the delight I’d hoped. More, they’re not likely to, no matter how far I travel from the story I’ve wanted to relate, or how much I seek to accommodate to current trends and fashions. So I shall simply finesse my effort to my own satisfaction, chalk the experience up to a continuing apprenticeship, and then leave it there. There’s too much else to do, other tasks emerging that seem to be engaging external attention better.

I hadn’t clocked(!) how useful, emotionally, it can be to relinquish a dream that has been turning into a nightmare. But if I can adjust myself to a renewed and disciplined regime of first this writing task, then that, then the other, throughout the working day, and still accommodate the various DIY jobs, gardening and cleaning and shopping and the necessities of life, I’m confident I’ll feel more easy in that work-life balance.

And for me, the good news is that the adventure, the joy associated with the tasks that remain seems to be enhanced, given these considerations. As my old university friend has encouraged me over these months, Write On!

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