Friday, April 04, 2008

Building new habits, breaking down old

Sometimes I forget it's at least as hard to build new habits as it is to get rid of old habits, especially when you are trying to change many things at once.
I took some time to really think about what was important to our life right now.
Health, money, communication, all those good things :-}

Health is almost in line, I'd say. I quit smoking 7 years ago, have been eating a high ratio of healthy to low ratio of unhealthy things, and have found a pattern of eating that keeps my metabolism high without giving me too many calories.
I still slip, especially if I am having an emotionally hard time, but I find it easier and easier to get right back on track.
The next thing is to incorporate more exercise. I have what I need, now, and will begin on Saturday to exercise everyday, whether at home or at the center.
Whenever I get sick, it tends to derail that, but as long as I get centered and start again as soon as I am well, that is good enough. I have learned the hardest way if I continue to exercise when I am also fighting fevers, I just get sicker and sicker, for longer and longer.

Writing has been more difficult, and a longer journey than other changes. Writing is important to me, not only for income, but because I feel more complete, more connected to the world. It punches a hole in the isolation that has skeined itself around my life since I got sick.
I took some advice and looked at other times in my life when things worked well, and tried to identify what I could change about my current choices to bring some of that same success to my writing.
One big thing is to change my sleeping schedule. When I was in college, I found the earlier I got up the better I could write, or organize the day, or create, or do detailed analysis. 4:00-4:30 and 7:00-7:30 were the best times, if I got up at 5:30 or 6:30, I felt horrible. Not certain what that was all about, but I needn't understand it to use it.

So, first step is to get back onto the schedule that makes me most productive. I've set my alarm for 7:00. On Saturdays that's about the time Oscar gets up anyway, to catch an early Yoga class. The other days, it will give me an extra 90 minutes before he gets up on a work day, more on his days off. The great thing is Oscar's not likely to hear my alarm, and will still get his rest.
I love my husband dearly, but I can't write or focus on anything mentally demanding when he's in the house.
I tell him it's because he's just too sexy, but mostly it's because when he talks to the cats, I think he's asking me something and it breaks my hard won concentration. He's pretty sexy, too, of course. The main thing is, when he's home and awake, I want to spend time with him.

I tried to start my writing day after he leaves for work, but its never as powerful. I can plod along, but I just don't get as much accomplished. I tend to back track and lose focus. Those early morning minutes when I can lay out the tasks for the next steps in the manuscript make the rest of the day incredibly more productive.
It also helps if at the end of my writing day I lay out what to do the following day. That way I am never faced with a blank page.
I think my writing has improved this past year, even if I haven't made any money recently. It will come. Faith in myself is another improvement. :-}

After I have that down, I may get up even earlier, especially when the writing is going well. I might even accomplish my page counts before Oscar gets up for the day. One step at a time.

2 comments:

Marietta said...

Diana,
I'm proud of you for making these changes. I truly know how hard some of these things are, and how frustrating it is to backslide right when things were going great, because of a health crisis. I'm proud of you for continuing to work at it despite the challenges!

Oh, I can't work on anything creative with my dh in the house either.... he just is too sexy! :)

-Marietta

AlisonH said...

That first picture, it's holding itself tightly closed, and the second, that flower has burst open in the light for all to see.

It's okay to have some of both of those images in us.