Near the first of the year I posted on the word "simplify." Rather than fall victim to the idea of resolutions, I had chosen the word "simplify" as the focus of my year. We had just spent 18 months travelling extensively and life had somehow gotten out of control. I felt at loose ends and unable to write. I needed to take control of life once more, and I hoped by simplifying my life I could find a sense of purpose and control.
Now in April I have just completed two, not one but two, challenges: the A to Z Blog Challenge and Sue Mitchell's challenge issued at An Untold Story to write 10 minutes each day before engaging in the Internet, emails or social media. WHAT???? How did this simplify my life some have asked.
Unbelievably, I accomplished both, and in so doing learned some things about myself.
First, I really can write every day. Yes, every day. In the A to Z challenge, participants must write and post 26 times in the month as well as read and comment on others' posts. I selected a theme to give focus, calendared the letters of the alphabet, and worked ahead so I could schedule posts. This worked well for me.
The second thing I learned is that the Internet, emails and social media can wait.That's right -- I said they can wait. And for 30 days they did. I no longer sit down and immediately get caught up in the social networking that I used to do first thing each morning. I am so grateful to this challenge for helping me break this habit. The time I spent on social media and networking previously gains about two hours or more a day. No wonder I wasn't getting any writing (or housework) done!
Gaining these new habits and strengths have simplified both my writing life and my other life. I sense accomplishment and a greater feeling of confidence in managing my time. I have developed new habits, which continue to need some effort and work on my part.
Looking around, there are more things I can do to simplify, and I will. It just takes time and more thought. As we travel in a week or so, I'll have time sitting on the train to think and ponder the other ways to simplify. I certainly feel I have gained momentum in the last 30 days toward becoming a more focused writer with a simpler approach in my writing and my life.
I'm glad I selected the word "simplify" for my 2013 reflection.
How about you? Are there things you do to simplify the world around you and your life?