No, I did NOT do what that guy in the picture is doing! Almost two weeks ago I wrote about balancing everything I wanted to do during winter break. I’m going back to work tomorrow, so it’s time to take stock.
Cookie-baking: I wanted molasses cookies, because I had some delicious, buttery ones at an earlier holiday gathering. But rather than asking for the recipe, I searched for one online: “thin buttery molasses cookies”. Apparently there is something called “thin molasses cookies,” but they’re intended to be thin and candy-like. When I mixed up the batter, I didn’t like the consistency (mostly butter, sugar and molasses and very runny), so I added more flour. When I baked them, they were first thin and chewy (didn’t puff up at all), and then thin and crunchy when they cooled. I had a lot of batter left, so I decided to add an egg, some baking soda, and a splash of vinegar to see what would happen. They pretty much turned out the same; just slightly less crunchy in the middle. I didn’t like them, but the family ate them all.
Calling the optometrist’s office: Um. I still never did that.
Teaching the kid to read: That would be my four-year-old. No, I never intended to have her reading in two weeks. We did work on phonics and play games and read out loud a lot. She’s progressing nicely.
Losing weight: Ha ha. Yeah. I had good intentions of at least getting exercise, and did exercise on a few days out of the two weeks, but not enough. Why? We did have a lot of cold and/or rainy weather, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the only reason.
Spending time with family: Yes, definitely.We played games, read books, and watched movies together. We spent time with extended family members as well. Last night we shrieked with laughter just from rolling a ball around the room. This was easily the most successful item on my list.
Writing: This went quite well, too. This is only the fourth entry I’ve put up on this blog in two weeks, which is low, but I also managed five pieces on ParkroseGateway.com and one on Six Boxes of Books. Best of all, I did some soul-searching and goal-setting.
I took advantage of Charlotte Rains Dixon‘s offer of a free 15-minute coaching session, in order to clarify where I want to go as a writer. And in preparation, I did a lot of thinking about that, and came up with several things I haven’t been liking about my writing life. First, I haven’t been doing enough writing. But why? Sure, life gets in the way — but I think it’s also because writing is a dilemma for me. The dilemma is over what I should be doing – should I be writing list articles aimed at parenting magazines to make money, or cheap online articles for money, or blogging, or just whatever I want to write? We can certainly use money, so if I’m using my time not making money (as well as not cleaning house, spending time with family, etc.), I feel guilty.
Well, I’ve decided I want no more of that. I’m going to work hard on things I feel passionate about, whether it’s blogging or writing articles for magazines or trying some fiction. My goals right now are simple: daily journaling (even if brief) and daily blogging (on at least one of my several blogs; it won’t always be this one). I’ll also be trying my hand at personal essays, with the goal of getting one published.
Reading good books: I read ten books I hadn’t read before, plus re-read The Dark Is Rising, The Grey King and Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper (it’s a seasonal thing). This resulted in too many late nights, but was both enjoyable and worthwhile.
Keeping up with social networks: I felt like I often spent less time horsing around online than usual, but was able to keep up just fine. Yesterday I took an entire day off from the internet, and my life did not fall apart!
Lastly, did I do all of this on a schedule, as I originally suggested I might? Not really. I did make a list of things I wanted or needed to do, and divided them into morning, afternoon, and evening tasks. For instance, I put writing in the morning, because once I’m fully awake that’s usually when I have the most energy. But I didn’t always follow that plan; just used it as a guideline.
Overall, I feel good about how I spent winter break. I felt a great deal of joy and optimism (no mean feat, as I’ve been struggling with depression all fall), and although I didn’t do everything I wanted to, I did do the things that were most important to me: reading, writing, and spending time with family. I feel good about the writing goals I’ve set for the year, and about life in general.