My nose is a fountain. Now would be a good time to own stock in Kleenex. I’ve been swathed up in our bed under my thick faux fur comforter with my cherry pit heating pad at my neck snuffling away while reading young adult novels and mysteries. Right now I’m in the middle of Tell the Wolves I’m Home. I’m watching Downton Abbey in great gulps trying to finish season 3 before season 4 begins on Sunday. I’m eating chocolate pie and GF pasta with butter, olive oil and garlic. Comfort food. I’ve porked up more than a few pounds.
Not how I planned to ring in the New Year.
I had a HUGE agenda. A plan. A long list of stuff I’d get done in December. Like finishing my new website. Like creating another webinar. Like updating new courses. Like training in Aikido. Like finishing the first draft of my Young Adult Novel.
Sometimes the best of plans get derailed.
And while I’d like to say I’m OK with it. The truth is, I’m really not.
I woke up this morning, surrounded by used Kleenexes in a bit of a panic. When am I going to get all that I want to accomplish DONE?
And that’s not all.
I had gone to Hawaii on a writer’s retreat at my friend and writing teacher Laurie Wagner’s house on the beach on Kona. Alex Franzen was our glorious guide who lead us through all the elements of our website and business we’d need to create a bright future. But I was also there to write my novel. (See Pix on my Facebook page – more to come).
Instead, I spent my time soaking up the sun, gazing at the clouds and (almost) swimming with dolphins. I found a hammock and just lay there for hours doing nothing. Really nothing. Not even thinking about stuff. Just enjoying the breeze and the sun warming my face.
I was not writing.
I was not doing.
I was getting up with the sun and suiting up with the amazing, expressive, creative, Sherry Reichert Belul, and the sharp-minded Ellen Fondiler, my roommates, and walking down to the ocean first thing in the morning for a swim.
I was lolling about in the hot tub tipping drinks with names like cuculele, and pomelomellow. Originals created by the extraordinary poet Maya Stein and her sassy partner Amy Tingle. (BTW I don’t drink. I’m a total lightweight.) And those drinks had me going for seconds.
These are women I want to know for a lifetime.
I had a number of moments of feeling guilty as I recalled the words of one of my clients who, when I told him about the writing retreat, said, “You can finish your novel. Make it your goal to complete first draft.” He expanded my perspective. I thought, “Why not?” So I tucked that goal into my mind before I left. I knew that he would ask me about it. And he did.
“Is your novel done?”
What’s true is it had been a VERY long time since I’d really done nothing. I remember when Mark Moody, from the Strozzi Institute, gave me the assignment to “do nothing” for an hour every week in our garden.
“You mean daydream so I can get inspiration for new projects?”
I couldn’t even conceive of “nothing” that wasn’t somehow going to make me more productive. But now I know. All those hours where I couldn’t tear myself away from the beach even though the sun had set. All the hours of floating in the water soaking in the sky. All the hours swinging in the hammock. I have that all inside now. And I’m still savoring them. And I want more of it this next year. I’m putting it into the schedule just like I plan out my work.
I’m also going to follow in the footsteps of poet Mary Oliver. Kinda. She said that she writes 3 hours a day and then the rest of the day is free to socialize or do whatever.
My plan is to work 4 hours a day on my biz and 4 hours writing so I can get my novel done. I won’t divvy it up that way as I like to chunk my time so I’m in the flow of whatever I’m doing. So I have clients days and writing days. That’s the way I’m most productive and happy.
I actually found a way to get more time.
It’s going to sound a bit wacky. Maybe even indulgent. (I haven’t told my parents). I’m kind of afraid to tell you, lest you judge me or think I’m snobbish. But it’s something that’s really important to me – to eat healthy delicious food. To be nourished and well-fed.
One thing that was on my wish list last year was to hire a personal chef.
Elyse Bolton responded to my ad on Thumbtack which said that I wanted a chef who infused the food with love and care as well as one who would cook delicious gourmet organic, gluten free, grass fed food. The crazy thing is having a personal chef is saving us time and money. My sweetie and I plan out the month of protein and veggies. Now there is no tiffing over who is going to shop, cook, or clean up. I estimate that I’m saving 7-10 hours a week!
What is one thing you will accomplish this year (lollygagging included)? I’d love to hear.
I’m sharing stuff on Facebook that you won’t find in my ezine or on my blog. Come on by, like me, and chime in here: www.facebook.com/SusanHarrow