I've been told I am high energy. I am not sure that is entirely true. I am busy. .in a good way and being busy really has eliminated that "down time" many so desperately seek. I've been so accustomed to being busy, it's almost as if I have developed adult ADHD. . .checking my phone in a sick sort of ritual and moving on to one activity after another.
Like I said, it's a good busy, but it has changed my life.
I spent the last few days at a children's book writing retreat. I felt uncomfortable at first, not because of my surroundings or company, but because I have put my writing on the backburner as other interests have "taken over." I'm not complaining by any means. The beginning of the school year is always a huge time commitment. This year, the time crunch has been on steroids as I am creating and coordinating a forest kindergarten program. I absolutely love it, but it takes time.
Then there's the volunteering. Maybe I am a sucker. maybe I'm overly ambitious. But with my Ice Age Trail hiking volunteering somewhat slowing down with the seasonal changes and my Special Olympics basketball season not tipping off until December, I felt a volunteer void and reached out to a local nature center to start training to be a volunteer naturalist. There are benefits besides just filling in that need to volunteer. I can use my experiences and training in my tyke hike program and forest kindergarten, so to me it is a natural fit. However, it is also takes time.
Let's not forget about the writing and the reading. My literacy time hasn't really been cut. It has probably actually increased over the past few months. It is just that now, I don't read or write for pleasure like I had or like I should. I do it for my job. For my professional growth. I do sneak in an occasional blog entry at either DADventures or Tales From the Trails, but I can barely remember the last time I looked at one of my many picture book manuscripts. I need to, though as I mentioned earlier, that takes time.
Of course, I can't forget my familial responsibilities. Being a father is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have a lovely wife whose work schedule makes optimal family time tricky. I am the guardian to my sister. Each of these responsibilities has wonderful blessings, but as with everything else, they take time.
As I look back on my writing conference experience, I know that if I really want to take my writing to the next level (or any level really), I need to make it more of a priority. 10 minutes a day? 15? 30? That is to be determined, but that is where I need to start. I always spout to my students that "it's not always about getting it right, but doing it right." I need to practice what I preach when it comes to my own work.
Many great writing colleagues and professionals provided oodles of great advice and ideas these lest few days. It'd be a shame to ignore them. So off I go, rejuvenated as an artist and working on my writing. Time to be a brave and tenacious writer and see where it takes me. :)