…slowly running out of time.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve become gradually more aware that I am slowly running out of time.

Don’t worry, I’m not terminally ill or suicidal. But I am a realist. When I was twenty, I believed that I had “world enough, and time,” as the poet once said. But as I leave the middle of my fifth decade, I realize that though death is (hopefully) not imminent, neither is it getting any farther away. So I tend to think about life a bit differently, and my priorities are being adjusted accordingly.

I’ve started thinking more about a thing’s importance than its urgency. Watching TV has dropped way down on my “to do” list, while writing has leapt into the top five. Online games are reserved for times when I’m waiting in line and not currently reading an e-book. Reading, always high on my list of preferred activities, takes precedence over gaming and other forms of entertainment.

Attending signings and writer’s conferences has replaced sunbathing, though I do enjoy an hour or two in the pool with my GBs. My husband and family have always been at the top of my list, but time, distance and conflicting schedules sometimes make finding the time difficult. So, I’m trying to adjust my attitude. My mantra these days is, “this too shall pass — so catch hold and enjoy it before it’s gone.” Even writing plays second fiddle to watching my favorite bits of starshine grow, and that is as it should be. My priorities have been rearranged, and I am trying to keep my attitude in line with those changes.

I’m learning to be kinder to myself. I’d still love to see my books on the bestseller list, but I am working toward acknowledging that having eleven books out in the world is a worthy accomplishment in and of itself. I’m learning to celebrate successes, even — and perhaps especially — when they are smaller than I wanted them to be. Aiming high is good. But squashing the nastier tirades of the inner critic is a necessary process if one is to move forward with grace.

And then I’m going to light a lamp.

As far as I know, I’ve plenty of years on my ticket yet. But it is important to me that I refuse to “go gentle into that good night.” Don’t know about you, but I plan on raging until it is full dark. And then I’m going to light a lamp. There is too much joy and beauty in this world to do anything else.

Calendar Profusion

One of the hardest things I do as a writer is balance my calendar.

Does that sound weird? It’s kind of like balancing a tire – putting all the weights in exactly the right places so that the tire doesn’t wobble, and possibly fall off while you’re driving.

In the case of my calendar, that means making sure no one month has too many events, because if it does, my writing (the tires of my career, you might say) will wobble…

and maybe fall off.

Which would be horrible, especially since the writing is my favorite part of this career.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the events too. Signings are great for meeting readers and I enjoy getting to know them. Conferences help me improve my writing and marketing skill sets. Speaking engagements are sort of like the sprinkles on top of the cupcake. Non-essential but colorful and SO fun. The opportunity to engage with new readers is the cake in that cup.

But any event I attend derails writing for a couple of days both before and after it. A three day event can take out an entire week’s worth of words. So, if I go to too many of them… Well, you see the problem.

My current writing calendar looks like this:

This is the dream, anyway…

December is reserved for family and whatever writing I can fit in between times. It’s ambitious, so I know that if I pile in too many events on top of it, the writing won’t get done.

So, right now, I’m looking for balance. How about you?

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