Uncategorized

Control What You Can, Release the Rest

There’s a massive wildfire burning in my province right now that has forced the evacuation of the entire town of Fort McMurray, the largest evacuation in our province’s history. Yesterday, it was expected that the fire was almost under control. And then today, winds turned unexpectedly, and the fire spread faster and hotter. It’s already consumed homes of people forced to leave on short notice, watching flames licking higher than the trees in what’s being described as an apocalyptic horror. Tomorrow is expected to be an even more severe day for the fire. 

And it’s a drastic reminder of in some ways, how life can change in the blink of an eye. Just when we think we have things figured out, just when we figure out how to best balance our life and career / maneuver through the publishing industry / just get through the day with some measure of control, the game changes.

I’ve been feeling lately how easy is to slide into an overwhelmed state where the sometimes crazy-making nature of the publishing industry gets me down. My writing career is always finding the balance between my personal life and my writing life – a particular challenge when writing and my stories are such a part of me, it can be difficult to set them aside or balance them with other needs in my life. There’s also the other balance between the creative side of the job (ie: the brainstorming, writing, and playing with words) balanced with the business side of the job (promoting / selling my work, social media awareness for my career, deadlines, etc).

So I tried to make the equation simple for me, because I am nothing if not eager to simplify anything that could be construed as math. 😉 

What I can’t control? 

Lots. More than I can possibly list. And trying to consider it all? That’s crazy-making. I can no more control how an agent or editor reacts or feels about my work than I can control or predict the path of a wildfire. Yes, there’s some I can do, like write the best book I can, keep improving, and sometimes get out of the way. But for the most part? I have to learn to live with what I can’t control. 

What I can control? 

My writing, and the design of my latest teapot. Those I know I have control over.

This is a survival requirement for me. Because if I started thinking about all the factors I can’t control, it will paralyze me with fear. 

Just like if I started thinking about the possibility of our heavily forested area catching fire, and potentially having to face the possibility of leaving my dream home behind. If I worried about this all time, or let it consume me just as I could thinking about the publishing industry all the time, I’d be a nervous, paralyzed wreck!

Because what matters is how you survive. Whether that means bringing things down to a simple equation of what you can control, and releasing all that you can’t, or remembering that even if you did have to abandon your home, if you have your family with you, your lives and the very great of you, you can move forward no matter what happens. 

My thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the Fort MacMurray wildfire. And if this isn’t familiar to you, here’s an article where you can find more information and which was in my thoughts while writing this post. Article for information: Wildfire in Alberta’s energy heartland forces thousands to flee.

And to you: thanks for stopping by! Wishing you a week where you focus on what you can control, leave the rest behind, and remember what’s really important.  

 

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Priorities: Is it time for re-ordering them?

Do you have your priorities in order? Do you even know what your priorities are? When was the last time you assessed them, and considered whether you lived according to these priorities?

My priorities are fairly simple. Family. Writing. Friends. Everything else (and yes, housework is somewhere way down the list).

The top three are, to me, the most important ones, though even as I write this, I find myself switching them around a few times, adjusting. Because let’s face it: if we put them in order of priority, it means at one point or another, one of them will “win” over a lower ranked priority.

It’s not a very nice thing, is it? To consider that we’d choose our career over our friends? For some people, perhaps career ranks the highest for them. For me, sometimes this is the case. Which is where this post comes from.

Is your priority list shifting? Do you allow it and yourself that freedom, or hold yourself to a more rigid standard?

Last month, I was desperate to finish Christmas presents galore (I make most of them), get the house prepared for my party, AND finish the rewrite on a novel so I could get it submitted to a contest and have it out of my head for holidays. I wanted to achieve it all simultaneously, which is impossible. And to get it done, I had to shift around the priorities a little bit. Writing moved up higher on the list, and I had to sacrifice some of my time with my family to get things done. BUT, using a shifting priority list, I DID get it all done.

Keeping track of your priorities also means that on your writing day, sometimes you have to say no to other offers and possibilities – because that day, writing may outrank other priorities (like friends or fun). Whatever the case, I try to assess what’s most important to me at that time, and set my priorities and actions accordingly. Usually it’s the first three that continue to shift and dance amidst the positions, and remind me what I want, what I need to do to get it, and where I need to go.

So what about you? Do you think priorities must be set in stone, or are yours shifting as you need them, too?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.