That’s not to say I’m complaining. I’ve had a lot of opportunities dropped in my lap this month already – opportunities that are exciting and unexpected and terrifying and wonderful – but there’s a problem.
See, there’s another dragon in my life. The dragon of the east is bringing me great motivation and opportunity – but the dragon of the west, the terrible monster many of us grew up reading about in fairy tales, is here trying to burn everything up.
Last year was overwhelming for me, it was a lot of work that got me nowhere fast. This year is supposed to be about adjusted priorities and specific goals. My endless to-do list should be checked off with a sense of accomplishment, not exhaustion. I should be enjoying my life, taking it easy a bit each week, not having endless headaches. I should have time to read, to write, to explore the city, to recharge.
But that’s not how its been. The western dragon has been burning my brain.
So after a month of that, I’m readjusting. I think it’s good for all of us to recognize what systems are not working in our lives and try to reorganize. I always want to do more than I probably should. So here are the readjustments I’ll be trying this month:
1. Instead of 3 blog posts a week, I am committing to one good piece of writing (good being pretty relative here) posted every week on a Monday. But this doesn’t get me off the hook. That other time I would have spent writing two more blog posts will be spent writing a short story or short play or chapter of a novel or personal essay. The idea here is priority. What kind of work should you be focusing on producing? Are you creating short term work or work that will hopefully work for you over the long term?
2. I will need to develop a daily routine: spend one hour writing every day, stretch every morning, write a paragraph in my journal every night, read for 30 min. I already have a sort of routine, we all tend to have one, but its not necessarily one that always focuses me or makes me the most productive.
3. I will compartmentalize my week of work. I basically have three jobs at the moment – one of which I actually have to go into an office for (the one that really pays me). Each job will get its own specific days when I take care of the tasks that need taking care of. Outside of those days, I am free to not worry about it. Obviously, some tasks will come up that need to be handled at different times – but the point is having a set schedule for what to focus on and when. Otherwise, I’ll never focus on anything. Do you ever make a to-do list that is so long you don’t even know where to start?
4. When possible, the work will be done during the week. The weekends are mine. I realize this will not always be the case. But I think carving out that time when you can relax, hang with friends, go on a hike or just veg out and watch Jericho for 14 straight hours, is very important.
Routine is the way to fight this dragon. Organizing my thoughts, my focal points. If I can accomplish this, then I will be able to not only finish the writing projects I’m working on and prepare for the two shows I’ll be directing next year, but I should be able to see my family more, see my friends more, explore LA, try new things, and start learning the two things I’ve been wanting to fit into my life for a long time: learning Spanish and guitar.
We’ll see how it goes. But after a month, I’ve learned that its not enough to have a fire in your belly. You have to know how to control it and focus it. How to cool it when necessary and when to turn up the heat.
Here’s to another month of the Year of the Creative Dragon. I leave you with my anthem for the year (or at least the month). How is your Year of the Creative Dragon coming along?