Cut Every To Do List in Half

I really got fired up by the Quest’s MAKE week prompts. I walked away with five major projects that I wanted to achieve in 2019, and all their milestones. FIVE PROJECTS. 

I’ve inked the goalposts into my 2019 planner. I had this list all prepared to share, and then I remembered my 2018 lesson learned: that I need to cut every to do list in half.  That I tend to bite off more than I can chew.

Honoring my limits is a way of taking care of myself

That means I can really only commit to two (max. 2.5) of the things that I would like to accomplish next year.  This feels a little deflating. A little disappointing. Frustrating, too, because which two and a half do I select?

One: Grad School

One goal I’m hugely committed to is getting my Master’s degree this year. That’s one I’ve inherited from goals set a few years ago.  That’s not budging off the list.

It’s a doozy.  It includes the commitment of flying cross-country every month, a thousand pages of reading each month, writing 12 papers over the next 8 months, not to mention ongoing travel and tuition costs.  It’s energetically taxing, not just in terms of effort, but also in terms of personal growth. (I learned years ago that one does not go mucking around in mythology and come out unchanged.)

I like to remind myself that I can always take a quarter off if I need to. I can skip 3 months or the 1 week session in August and come back and finish it later.   If things get too wild in other parts of my life, school will wait for me to complete it at an only slightly later date. I don’t want to do that, but it’s a very real option, and with my physical limitations, I need to keep it in mind.

Two: Setting Up Online SEO Training

Honestly, if I could axe “work” and “SEO” off of this list entirely, I would.  I am creatively bursting with ideas and energy. I am driven and loving school. I am passionate about my writing and creative life. I am pretty burned out on search. Alas, the mortgage doesn’t pay itself. Since I have to work in order to have the money to go to school, and to do the things I am passionate about, I’m really interested in setting up a slightly more passive form of income.

As I mentioned in my last post, the thing I still enjoy in the SEO realm is teaching it to others.

By setting up video courses and online teaching materials, I envision being able to make some income via sharing my knowledge (yay!) and shaping my time more deliberately to free up space for those aforementioned passions. (Now that’s what I’m talking about.)

I have some interesting support and allies to call upon to help me with this goal, and a few people interested in learning from me to test out my theories.  It’s not my favorite of the goals I scribbled down for 2019, but it’s probably the smartest one. It will push me outside of my comfort zone into learning new skills that I do think are necessary for where I ultimately want to land.

and a half…

As I said when I envisioned my 2019 – “much of my energy will be divided between school and work – and the remainder is on self-care.”

For the last three weeks, I’ve been showing up for my poetry. I have written six or seven poems (three that I’m proud of). I’ve been reading poems each day I don’t write them. It’s been an interesting addition to my daily journal process, and a surprising form of soul-tending.

As much as I want to set goals for my weight, or for querying my novel or submitting more short stories to magazines and anthologies, showing up for my poetry is more important.  It’s smaller. A little more doable. And it touches deeper.

One of the portions of this quest instigation is to look for allies we can call upon as we pursue these goals. I’m in search of fellow poets who can be critique partners. I have fiction critique partners whom I love. But I need poets.  If you would be willing to be gentle and firm, critical and loving and would like me to do the same, please let me know. I would prefer someone who also wants their work critiqued so it’s a balanced trade in time and effort.

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