where I stop procrastinating and make some decisions

in a fieldI’ve been delaying writing this post for weeks – delaying writing it because in order to do so, I needed to make some decisions about my blog and, despite endless pondering, I couldn’t quite bring myself to do that.

How do I find more time to write? Where do I find more time to do my illustration course? How much of the energy that I pour into blogging could be better used elsewhere? What do I want from blogging anyway? How do I handle social media? How can I be a more present parent? Is this pondering really getting me anywhere at all? Where did I hide my stash of popcorn? All these questions and more have been whirring round in my head for weeks and I need to come to some conclusions!

As I type these words I STILL haven’t finalised my decisions but one thing I have decided is that enough is enough – the longer I delay, the longer the limbo continues. So I’m going to write some thoughts down here and now, and as I do, they will become decisions that I have to honour. I’m going to back myself into a corner, here. Let’s hope it works.

So *clears throat, cracks knuckles, does a few warm up squats*

*decides a walk around the neighbourhood would be a really good idea right about now*

*realises, NO that’s just another procrastination tactic*

*makes a cup of tea, honestly, honestly it helps me think. Honestly*

Right, I’m ready.

Decision one – I want to make the next three months with my youngest son, count.

My three-year-old starts nursery five mornings a week from September and from that point everything changes. I mean, FIVE MORNINGS A WEEK WITH NO KIDS! Imagine that! Ok, some of them will be taken up with work but still… it’s a biggie. And I was all, ‘Oh, I’ll have more time in September, maybe I should just keep truckin’ (and not make any changes) till then’, but then I got a text from a friend this morning (the very lovely Alice from The Filling Glass) and something she wrote reminded me that, sod the changes coming in September, this time is precious. This time right now. So why truck right on through it like some… truck? So I’ve put the brakes on. I need to make decisions that leave me the time, space and energy for him (not to mention the other two!) and that means less blogging and social media. It means:

Decision two – I’m only blogging once a week from now on. 

Well, one blog post plus my What I’m writing linky post (which is largely just copy and paste with a few links to last week’s posts). I’ve been doing this for the last few weeks actually, but having not ‘properly decided’ to do it I’ve kept feeling like I should be blogging more. That’s the thing with blogging actually – I always feel like I should be doing more. There are always more blog posts to write – my head is perpetually thronging with ideas them. Enough of that. One post a week with no obligation or expectation to do more, is fine. Mind you, it’s not just writing blog posts that’s time-consuming, it’s sharing and commenting and linking up. Which leads me to:

Decision three – I’m only going to link up to #WhatImWriting. 

Yes, just one linky – my own. But, but, I love linkies! My fingers are already trembling with alarm! What about The Prompt, my source of inspiration? Or Prose for Thought, where I share creative work? Or From the Mouths of Babes, Or The Truth About, Or Read With Me? Argh! I’ll miss them all! My readership will plummet! it will all end in doom, I tell you. DOOOOOM!

Oh, FFS. I can always reassess things come September if I want and right now, linkies take up too much time. I often lose three or four evenings a week to commenting. And let’s not talk about the time my youngest spends playing on his own while I’m jumping around from post to post. I mean, he’s an awesome little dude with imagination that makes such a situation possible but I take advantage of that far too much. I also take advantage of his love of Curious George and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Enough of that too. Just one linky. Hopefully I can keep commenting down to just one or two evenings and have more time for reading actual books. Ooh, that makes me think of something else:

Decision four – I’m setting myself a book reading target. One book a fortnight for the rest of the year.

A few years ago I would have said, ‘One a book a fortnight? Ha! Easy!’ Even last year I managed more than that, and comfortably, but this year apart from Runaway Girl, The Pursuit of Happiness and The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2, I’ve barely read a thing. I’ve fallen off the reading horse and it makes me sad. Writers should read – it stirs the imagination. I need to make reading a priority. And that’s not the only creative endeavour I need to prioritise:

Decision five – I’m going to draw every day.

I don’t care what it is – I need to just draw. Even if it’s a five minute crap scribble it’s better than nothing. I drew every day for months at the start of the year and it helped my confidence and artistic abilities no end. I need to do that again.

Decision six – regarding social media… *pauses with fingers hovering above the keys*… half an hour a day in the evening. Max. Mostly for blogging and Facebook groups (i.e not just faffing about)

I deleted the FB and Twitter apps from my phone weeks ago. Life is better because of it. You know what though? Having previously not paid it much attention,  I now check Instagram all the flippin’ time because it is the only social media app left! So I think I might put that in a folder somewhere so I can’t reflexively check it in an addicted way.

With all these decisions though, I’m still not sure I’m going to free up enough time to write and draw so, here’s a radical idea:

Decision seven – I do not expect or intend to do any creative writing at all for the rest of June.

What? Am I mad? Don’t I want to write? Yes, of course! but I’ve been feeling so snowed under recently that I haven’t found time and then I’ve stressed about that. Let this be the month to focus on drawing. It’s just a month and experience suggests to me that if I focus on one creative outlet the other might well follow. I’m not saying I’m not allowed to write – if the words flow, they flow – I’m just saying I don’t expect to write a single thing and that’s fine.

Right, so where does that leave me? Oh yes, there’s one big decision I made before writing this post and it’s about time I shared it:

Decision eight – I’m not going to go to BritMums live

This is sad because I was looking forward to it! I’ve got my (free) ‘editor delegate’ pass and everything and I have been looking at hotels and planning meet ups with friends. *sob*

But it’s the right decision. Being a big-time blogger just isn’t the direction I really want to go in. I’ve sensed that for a while. I reached a point a few months back when things were going well with my blog and I kept being approached by PR’s and I started seriously considering monetising it. Then the viral post happened and the #THISislearning campaign and spreading myself all over social media… and then the week off it all and I realised something. Blogging is not where my heart is. Not really.

It has some of my heart for sure – it’s how I’ve found (and created) my writing community. It’s where I continue to find (and, I hope, spread) support and friendship. It’s the place I’ve discovered motivation to write, and the confidence to share my work. Those are the parts of being a blogger I want to keep, But those parts don’t need me to spread myself so thinly. And those parts don’t need me to go three hundred miles to spend time in a room full of (albeit lovely) people I’ve never met before, learning all about how to grow my audience. Even the thought of having to tackle Pinterest and Instagram in a full on blogger way makes me want to scream and cover my ears. That’s not going to get me where I want to go (though I continue to be impressed by those of you who do).

Get me – I made some decisions! Eight whole ones! There are still a few other things I’m considering but I think these will do for now.

Let’s see what the next few months bring. :)

Writing Bubble

32 thoughts on “where I stop procrastinating and make some decisions

  1. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Oh gosh Maddy! I recognise so much of what you say here (well actually all of it, except about BritMums – I wasn’t going in the first place!). I have been having the same thoughts and feelings swishing round in my head and I have reached very similar conclusions. I started blogging because I wanted to explore my mental health and parenting in an emotionally positive way, but there is no point flogging my guts out blogging at the expense of my actual mental health and parenting! Likewise with your writing I suspect. The blogging was never the reason itself. I wish you a wonderful summer with your boy, and I hope I do with my girl too. Xxx
    Alice @ The Filling Glass recently posted…Gratitude Journal: MayMy Profile

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  2. Mummy Tries

    All very good decisions lovely Maddy, stepping back and focussing on family is 100% the right thing to do. Bet you feel lighter already don’t you xxx

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  3. Nicola Young

    I didn’t realise until I started blogging just what the ‘professional’ side of it was all about and to be up there, you have to be relentless. I too have had doubts along the way about why I bother, but I’ve reached a happy medium of doing less posts and writing when I feel like it, not because I have to.

    I’m glad you decided to stick with What I’m Writing, because it is such a great community.
    Nicola Young recently posted…Executive PA required, immediate startMy Profile

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  4. https://angela10551.wordpress.com/

    Half an hour? Each evening? Pahahahaha!

    Good luck Maddy. I couldn’t do it. ;) But then I am a terrible social media addict! (at the moment)

    H E L P M E !!

    Hedgey x

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  5. Antonia

    Eight decisions for the 80th What I’m Writing is very impressive. My mind is more full of questions than answers or decisions right now! I think it is a constant ongoing process (particularly once you are a parent) of how best to spend your time, and it looks like you have picked priorities that are important to you. We all need to do the same from time to time!
    Antonia recently posted…incommunicadoMy Profile

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  6. Turning Up In Devon

    Maddy, such a fab post and you have so got it together. You are right – that time with your son before Nurseryl is so precious! I would have loved to go to BML16 too and meet some amazing blogging peops but it’s my hubs birthday and really- nothing is more important than our home grown peops. Good on you Mrs! #whatimwriting

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  7. Carol Cameleon

    Great decisions Maddy and obviously decisions that are right for you and your family – and they’re what counts. Blogging takes up an immense amount of time and I’m sure you’ll feel better for it. I have a very strict rule for myself which usually works (90% of the time anyway) – so not so strict then! That I’m not pouring over the ipad of clicking away on the laptop while our little girl watches Totally Spies… Great idea to blog about it too, like you say, you’re accountable now :)
    Carol Cameleon recently posted…“It’s none of these, it’s a…” ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWritingMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Blogging does take up so much time doesn’t it – not just the writing time and the sharing and the linking and the commenting, but the headspace too, I’ve found! Glad you have a system that works for you (90% of the time!) Thanks for commenting, Carol. xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – Week eighty-oneMy Profile

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  8. the frenchie mummy

    that’s very brave of you. It seems like blogging can get addictive… just starting mine so I can’t really judge you but doing something for your kid is good #WhatImWriting

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  9. Dana

    Oh, Maddy, this plan sounds so very right for you! It’s a long time coming, right? It takes time to be able to see what truly matters, what interests rise above the rest, and what needs to be let go in order for the biggest dreams to come to fruition. I still have to remind myself that while I blog, and truly enjoy it, and feel so grateful for the community I’ve found, it’s my ultimate dream either. It makes sense that you only work on your linky, and I love all your other goals. I laughed out loud about Instagram – once I deleted FB and Twitter apps from my iPhone, I started getting crazy with Instagram. It’s truly an addiction! I think I’ll hide mine in a folder too. Thank you for the idea of just a half hour of social media in the evenings. I think that will be my goal as well, especially for summer when the last thing I want to do is stare at a phone when I should be playing with my kids. I’m excited for you, and can’t wait to see what your creative future will bring!
    Dana recently posted…Write Like A MotherMy Profile

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  10. Sam

    Once again Maddy I read your words and I identify with you so much! It was less of a considered decision for me but I made that change with posting and linking a while back – essentially only writing a post a week along with (and to link up on) The Truth about. I felt weird about it at first but I was also bogged down with so much reading and commenting but yes, I miss all my fave linkies too! Every time one of my regular Truth About linkers comes to this realisation about cutting right down my heart sinks but I can’t blame a single one of you because I’ve done exactly the same thing.
    I like your reading target – I’ve actually read quite a few books lately (mostly light-weight psychological thrillers that I can power through on my iPhone Kindle app while I take the Park & Ride bus to work or cook the kids tea). I had a target at the beginning of the year to read one good book a month I think but life got in the way. I’m actually most of the way through The Pursuit of Happiness which I bought after reading your review. It’s fascinating isn’t it?
    I also feel the same way as you about blogging in general – I won’t be going to BML this year either. I think blogging really is two completely different things which often get mixed up as one and the same. It’s either a huge venture, part professional, part personal, full of ideas and design and collaboration and non-stop reviews or it’s just personal headspace and creative outlet which I believe is where we are at.
    Well done for all those decisions. Hope you find the popcorn :-)
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #78My Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks for this lovely comment, Sam! Sorry to have to stop linking up with #thetruthabout – it really is one of my fave linkies but it really does feel better to have cut back to only my own. And I’m with you about what blogging is for people such as ourselves and how it doesn’t make sense to compare ourselves with the full-on blogging world. Glad you’re enjoying the pursuit of happiness – it gives you a lot to think about doesn’t it? And I love psychological thrillers so please send recommendations my way! xxx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – Week eighty-oneMy Profile

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  11. Anna

    Well done Maddy! Can’t believe you’ve stayed sane while juggling all of that – I’d go mad! All sounds very wise. Well done! Now, must get those tickets booked before I forget again!

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  12. Sophie Lovett

    I am on exactly the same page as you with so much of this… I stripped my blog right back in the new year, and I feel much better for it. Also decided BritMums Live wasn’t for me – I did really enjoy it last year, but I spent most of the following few weeks feeling confused and inferior! I definitely have a bit of a way to go still in terms of social media and reading, but I love your goals on these. I really hope it all helps you to feel a bit more in control – there really is not much that’s more important at the moment than spending time with our little people :) xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…Swimming seasonMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      I had a sneaking suspicion BritMums live would make me feel that way too! Then some friends invited us to a big party/BBQ the day of BML and I just fancied that more than going 300 miles to somewhere I didn’t know anyone! The social media goal so far hasn’t gone quite as planned, but I’m going to try harder this week! Thanks for commenting, Sophie. xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – Week eighty-oneMy Profile

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