I’m at an Urban Writers Retreat day today, which is usually an excellent way to get tons of stuff done. And I have a long list of things I could be doing. But I’ve already finished the three main ones I wanted to complete (all of which turned out to be quite simple and quick) and I’m not sure what I want to do next.
I’ve been bemoaning the fact that I don’t have time to read all the things I want to read about writing, or to collate and type up my notes on the things I’ve already read, or that are stored in one of my completed project notebooks. But, now that I have the whole afternoon stretching ahead of me, those tasks feel like a waste of valuable time I’ve been presented with, to work on my writing.
On the other hand, though, there are two or three bigger writing projects on my list that I would be getting on with, but I don’t want to work on those, either. They all feel too daunting to launch into, and too much like effort right now.
But days like today are designed precisely to provide the time and mental space to get on with the things I don’t normally have time for, or to dive into something new and huge and exciting.
So, as I frequently discover in such situations, it’s really not about how much time I have. It’s about utilising that time effectively. And, today, I feel tired, spaced out, and underprepared.
Charlie, who organises the Urban Writers Retreats, always sends out a goal-setting worksheet during the week beforehand, and I’ve always completed it for the retreat days I’ve attended up until now. This time, though, I didn’t do it, and I think I’m suffering for it. The worksheet asks questions about what you want to achieve over the course of the day, then breaks the day into manageable slots for you to plan what you’re going to work on. I thought just having my list of available projects and tasks would give me access to my options without restricting me as to what I would do. But it’s just left me floundering and failing to achieve anything (except this blog post, I guess!).
I have another full day of writing project time planned for tomorrow – so, I think my best move would be to complete a goal-setting worksheet for this afternoon (in the time I have left before lunch) and then do another one for tomorrow. And hopefully that will set me off towards amazing productivity!