Bite off more than you can chew.
I’ve just set up my BuJo for February and written down my to-do list for the day. It’s a snow day for Smalls, but not for me. But, we get big, glorious piles of snow so rarely in my corner of South Jersey I’m not missing my chance to get out there and have fun! Screw the deadlines and the to-do list – life is not just a thing that happens around work. You’ve got to look out for those opportunities to live it and snowstorms are one of them.
This is the opposite approach I’d have taken a couple of years ago. I would have been stressing about finding someone to watch Smalls so I could get out the door and (hopefully) navigate slick roads safely enough to get to work. I’d have been hoping the snow stuck around until the weekend so we could go sledding. I’d have been stressing about the way snow made everything harder and take longer, eating into what little “free” time I crammed in around other tasks.
It might seem counterintuitive to suggest biting off more than you can chew as a way to dig out of a rut. But stick with me anyway, it might help you!
I’ve been trying for a year to get back to blogging regularly. I’ve woken up missing blogging and connecting with my blogging friends every day, but haven’t been able to push myself to do the work no matter how many reminders I scribbled in my BuJo. I’ve written lots of blog posts but discovered there’s some disconnect in my brain between writing and publishing that I haven’t been able to sort out.
Maybe it’s that the expectations for blogging are so much higher than they were when I started fifteen years ago – you have to be a brand; optimize all your images *just so*; create Pinterest-friendly images and descriptions; and make sure your SEO passes muster. And then, after you’ve done all that, you’ve got to scoot around all the socials to share your work, otherwise all your work will collect dust in the corner of the Internet nobody visits because they can’t find it.
It’s exhausting. I suspect the reason I’ve let my blog languish is because just thinking about all those steps make me so tired. I’m thinking about it now and am already feeling that itch to give up before I start.
Who made all these rules, anyway?
(Probably people who want to make money teaching you how to follow rules they made up for themselves because they made sense to them.)
For this blogging challenge I’m going to explore 28 different ways to dig yourself out of a rut. I struggle with anxiety and depression, especially this time of year, so I spend a LOT of time digging myself out of ruts so know what I’m talking about haha! I even wrote about it in September on The Innovation at Medium…and that feels like so long ago it happened in another lifetime.
Because I’ve been in a rut!
So I’m going to just kick it old school and focus on the process of writing the words and posting the words. No worrying about all the extra stuff like images or SEO – unless I have extra time and really want to.
There may also be some bonus posts sprinkled into these 28 days – I’m also doing The 100 Day Project (#100DaysofPaperDolls) and maaaaaybe Februlage if a prompt catches my attention. I have some other blog posts outlined and we’ll see how this month goes. (Oh hey! Come hang out with me on Instagram – I’m @jensalittleloopy there.)
If you’re thinking this is a LOT of creative work to do every day, you’re totally right. I’ve got no idea how I’m going to pull off doing two or three challenges at one time. I have a husband and three kiddos (two adults, one Smalls who is autistic/ADHD and struggling with being home from school) and have three parents who are all having some health challenges. I also work full time (right now from home due to the pandemic) and the nature of my work is stressful but I love doing it.
I’ve bitten off way more than I can chew, but I did that on purpose.
During 2020, I tried hard to simplify and let go of everything but essentials – family, health, shelter, food. The pandemic and change in routine knocked me and Smalls sideways, so I had to prioritize our mental health over everything else which meant most things didn’t get done. Because of that, I just dropped all my goals last year. Took them off the list. Didn’t even try. So, unsurprisingly, none of the goals I’d set for myself in the beginning of 2020 got done.
As last year dragged on, this blog and my creative work became convenient tools I routinely used to bludgeon myself. Not intentionally! It was just that when I looked around at all the projects I didn’t get done, this little annoying voice in my head would go, “oh yeah, and also how can you call yourself a blogger when you’ve made only one blog post this year…you ridiculous imposter!”
Since what I did last year didn’t work, I’m doing the opposite this year and holding myself accountable for doing LOTS of things, at least for the month of February. My goals are on the list and I have a target to shoot for.
What I learned over the past year is that I’d rather have some goals and accomplish a small percentage of them than have none and do nothing. When I publish this post, I’ll already have accomplished more than I did in all of 2020. 😉
I’m so grateful to Anita for hosting this writing challenge and giving me the kick in the pants I needed to actually Do The Things.
For further reading, here are links to all of the posts in this series:
Vol. 2 – Let Go of the Outcome
Vol. 3 – Follow Your Interests
I’ll look forward to your series, Jennifer! This will be a great topic for many of us to read, myself included. I love that you decided to play in the snow instead of going to work. 🙂 Those kind of choices are hard for me too but sounds like you made the right decision!
Hi Lisa! Thank you! I hope the series helps you too…just the process of writing it is helping me move past inertia. 🙂
Doing these challenges always gets me back to writing on a regular basis. Good Luck. But don’t kick yourself too hard if you miss a day or so. As you said, you have already done more than all of last year!
Thanks Mandy! ❤️ I’ve never committed to a blogging challenge before so I’m excited to see what happens!
Aww! Good for you! I don’t like being goal-less, it makes me feel adrift. Even small goals are good and motivational for me. My daughter has a son with autism, and this pandemic has been super hard on her. Blessings as you climb out of your rut and share your experience with the rest of us!
Thanks Anita! It never occurred to me that I needed goals to motivate me because I always had them until I decided not to last year. 2020 was a learning curve for all of us in so many different ways. 🙂
So true, Jennifer! I appreciate your honesty, “I’d rather have some goals and accomplish a small percentage of them than have none and do nothing.”
Cheering you forward in 2021! ” When I publish this post, I’ll already have accomplished more than I did in all of 2020.” Hooray!
Thanks Lisa! Seeing some progress and feeling motivated to continue is a refreshing change! I appreciate your encouragement so much! 🙂