Last week, though, after returning from my weekend in the hospital, which I rather enjoyed because I had my own room and nurses in yakking with me every few hours and telling me how wonderful I was, I found myself mourning over what I had hoped to do with my December and January. I lost a big chunk of the time between Christmas and our personal retreat week to a lingering cold and harsh cough that afflicted a big chunk of the population in the northeast. Then I went right into pre-op testing and mind prep. Dealing with health angst and post-surgical fatigue and soreness were not among my goals and objectives for the early part of this year.
I did find giving a unit of time a day to the manuscript I've been revising since the November writers' retreat hugely diverting back in December. It was a great release from health worry. And I came up with an additional revision idea for that same manuscript while in the hospital as a result of a Yoga Journal article I read while I was there. I did manage a few sprints and some correspondence last week after I got home. But, you know what? It turns out that I am not one of those artists who can sweat and create while achey and tired. None of this creating art under any circumstances for me. Yeah, that's a disappointment. Last week I was very disappointed.
I was disappointed because last year I felt that I was making progress rebuilding my career after half a decade of loss because of the economy's impact on the publishing industry and our family's struggles with elder care issues, which are hugely time and energy consuming. At the very least, I was creating a writing lifestyle that I could enjoy no matter what said lifestyle produced in the way of publishable work. I couldn't maintain that lifestyle this past month. I couldn't push ahead on my plans. All was lost.
Pull Yourself Together, Gail
Some of what I've been experiencing may be a normal response to surgical trauma. I will spare you the details of what that guy did to me, but if we'd been in a back alley instead of a robotic surgical unit, the law would be looking for him. Some of what I've been experiencing may be due to the effort I'm accustomed to giving to managing my time. My time has not been my own at all recently, and I'm not liking that.
This week I've progressed to the point of pulling myself up off the mat and doing something about this situation. What am I going to do?
Keep in Mind the Lessons of Zen
I am struggling with desire here, desire for things to be different than they are. Desire for things to be the way I expected them to be. I am also not doing a good job of living mindfully. Instead of living in this moment, I'm regretting the past and that I couldn't deal better with what happened then. I need to focus on what I can be doing this week or even this day. That is how Zen applies to time management.
The Unit System to the Rescue
What success I've had over the last few weeks was definitely due to working with the unit system. Planning to work in short units of time is perfect for someone on pain medication. You can do a forty-five minute unit or a twenty-minute sprint when the meds have you at your best. With surgical recovery (and I'm speaking from experience here--I had a lot of surgery back in the day), you get better every day, so work units can be added as you improve.
I have that manuscript revision to work on, and an idea that involves beginning to revise for something new before I finish the revision I've been working on. (Thank you trip to the hospital so I read that Yoga Journal.) I started my statics and dynamics for writers essay Monday. I have some things I want to do to my information at the NESCBWI website and to my Twitter feed. Maybe I will sign up for a day at the NESCWI conference in May.
Oh, yeah, and I've got an idea for a time management post relating to the Gerald Manley Hopkins' poem I referred to in my blog post title.
I am on my way back.