As I worked my way through the day today, finishing up the books for an accounting client, finally settling on business cards for both my Accounting/VA business and the writing side of the house (and yes, I ordered them. VistaPrint was running an amazing special so I got both sets for about what it would have cost me for one! Aren’t I glad I waited a couple of days?), I ran across a snippet of advice. I can’t even remember where of a dozen or more places I saw it, but basically it said “If you want to make a living as a writer, you have to treat it like a career.”

Simple enough stuff, but I can tell you I cringed inside because I have definitely not been treating it like a career, although I have to admit that it’s been moreso than before. I’m finding that even acting like a professional writer takes practice, just as the writing itself does. Each little thing I do, like, for instance, getting around to ordering business cards, is just one more step towards the goal, the prize. In the meantime, I’m practicing. Not only practicing my writing but practicing being a writer.

Some days that means getting client work out of the way so I have a clear space of time to work on editing my novel. Other times, that means getting errands out of the way in one big block, again, so I’ll have a space of time to write. Because I am so good at beating myself up over the slightest infraction, I’m having to learn to recognize when something really is moving me towards my goal, even if it seems like I’m wasting time doing nothing productive.

So here are 10 things I am going to allow myself to do because, whether I can see it clearly or not, they really are moving me forward:

  • Scheduling doctor’s appointments (and actually going.)
  • Ordering things I use regularly like cat food and vitamins online.
  • Keeping up with client work rather than stressing because I’ve left it to the last minute.
  • Running my weekly errands. I always do this on Tuesdays since that’s when I have to pick up my produce box. That way, I only tie up one day and don’t chop up several.
  • Meditate daily. Not only does this keep me grounded, but I get some interesting story ideas too.
  • Take time to exercise.
  • Turn off phone, email and social media for at least a couple of hours every day.
  • Keep up with chores: things like making the bed, sweeping the bathrooms (darn cats anyway. The sand belongs IN the box!), setting the kitchen to rights every night and keeping the trash under control do, in the long run, mean less distractions.
  • Add another night of dancing to my schedule, bringing it up to 3 times a week.
  • Take time to snuggle with my cats. Like meditating, this grounds and centers me and keeps me from taking myself too seriously.

    Though it might not seem like much to someone else, especially when it comes to keeping up with the chores, for me who is easily distracted, the more I do to remove distractions, to minimize clutter and to cluster similar tasks together, the less scattered I’m likely to be and the less likely I’ll be to put off writing or editing. I’ve promised myself that I’d finish editing Sasha’s Journey by November so I can do NaNoWriMo again. I have an idea I’d really like to tackle.

    Are you easily sidetracked? What methods do you use to keep yourself moving in the right direction? I’d love to hear your ideas.

    My gratitudes tonight are:
    1. I am grateful for handy tips and helpful reminders which come just when I need them.
    2. I am grateful for the calming things in my life like meditation and my cats.
    3. I am grateful that I’m learning to measure progress both by what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve gotten out of the way so I can make progress.
    4. I am grateful that I’m slowly getting my circadian rhythm back in line with normal humans, or as close to normal as I’ll ever be.
    5. I am grateful for abundance: love, family, friendship, direction, inspiration, motivation, completed tasks, health, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

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