Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mixing it up

I decided to take a break from my regular online writing group this time around. The facilitator is awesome and her prompts are excellent story starters, and her feedback is great. I've been doing it for a number of years and I have done several in-person writing workshops with her, as well. So it has nothing to do with her or with the other writers - many of whom are also frequent flyers in the Literary Kitchen.

It has to do with me.

My last time in there, my writing was slow and it became a chore. I wanted to give more feedback than just the minimum requirement, but that was all I had time to do. Most of my writing was for the assignments and I wasn't working on revisions of the two books in progress, I wasn't sending out much work. And I was feeling frustrated that I wasn't doing more.

So I decided to step back from the Kitchen and shake out my writing self and see what else I needed to do.

I joined a writing group, which made immediate changes the week I attended. I wasn't sure the group was for me with the new changes, but was willing to give it a try. I missed the second meeting because I was sick. And there were more changes to the group, including two of the originators dropping out.

Yesterday this group met and I went. This is a small group, now three of us, but I think we've got a nice plan which we're testing out. And it is what I need, I hope, although it's a little different than what I had envisioned. Again, I'm willing to try it and we'll reassess the plan over the next few months.

I can feel it working already. Just today I made more progress on one of the books than I have in the last two months. Having a deadline to submit a certain number of pages/words to others may work. We're starting with just our small group to see how this goes. We may add another person later, but we're being careful to not overwhelm ourselves; we all have other interests and responsbilities, too. We're trying a hybrid of online and in-person gatherings.

I also registered for a one-day writing mini-conference on Saturday, January 26th. I'm very excited about that, as well. (You can check back in my post archives for that information or search online. It's "Making it in Changing Times" put on my Jessica Page Morrell.) That looks like a nice boost and another change of pace for my writing self.

I've also stepped up sending out submissions. I've stepped up exercise - by buying a Wii for home, including Wii Fit which is so much fun! I bought Zumba dance, as well - but that one is hard and I need to take more time with it; the first time I tried I tweaked my back a little so it was back to the easy yoga, stretching, aerobics and balance games and exercises of Wii Fit. Tomorrow I'm also returning to swimming, from which I had to take a break because of an ear infection and then three rounds of the nasty cold/sinus illness which was circulating.

So, all in all, things are looking good. I have a new writing plan and it feels good. I've found some fun ways to exercise which can fit with my schedule. And the performance interpreting preparation workshop series is going really well.

Sometimes I need to change things up a bit to get a different result. I'm going to be exploring that a little bit. I know that sometimes having a routine, something familiar can help with productivity, but for me I needed something new. Like that saying which goes something like, "if you want to keep getting the same results, keep on doing what you're doing."

Maybe that's it - I wasn't happy with my results so I knew I needed to change what I was doing.

How do you know it's time for a change? Or know that it's a rough patch and you need to just keep at it?

Where is your line between the familiar or the new?