Where do you start when you’re writing a blog post after an almost four-month hiatus? What began as a big copywriting project blossomed (or exploded, depending on how you look at it) into a series of ongoing gigs with multiple clients. Business couldn’t be better—and I still consider freelance copywriting an ideal job for me.
The catch: as business grew, the rest of my life suffered. I thought one month—then six weeks—of non-stop work, including weekends, would be a one-time thing. Yet, it’s very easy to keep it going—or convince yourself it’s what you need to do. I ended 2010 utterly exhausted and burned out.
On top of it all, I didn’t write a single word for my own creative non-fiction project. Not one. After all the work I’d put into developing a writing habit, I let it slip. The one good habit I did start in all of this was regular exercise. Now I can’t imagine managing stress or relaxing without it.
I’ve always been a goal setter, so I’m using that trait this year to help me simplify. Last year, I had a page-long list of things and numbers I needed to achieve. Now, I have four (in this order): reaching a financial target, finishing a full first draft of my personal writing project, applying to one writing retreat (as well as attending, pending acceptance) and posting one blog piece each month.
With fewer, specific goals, it’s been so much easier to make decisions. As different opportunities and ideas have popped up this month, I’ve considered them against my goals. Last year, I would have piled on. This year, I said no—and it felt good.
One blog post isn’t much, I know, especially compared to the previous three-per-week I was doing. I don’t want to give up blogging all together, but I have about 50K more words to get on the page.
Have you made big changes lately or shifted your priorities? How do you resist hanging on to the items that you need to let go of, at least for now? I’d love to know how you do it.