Margaret Ethridge · procrastination · tools

The Juggler

My friend, Julie, is a juggler. By that I mean, she can actually toss multiple items into the air, catch, and release them in rapid succession. Last spring, she handed over her precious hacky sacks and tried to teach me to juggle too. The lesson didn’t last long. Julie has a lot of patience. Margaret does not.

My fear of clowns and weak stomach for stinky things are not the only factors standing between me and a career with the circus. Even if I found a clown-less, animal-free troupe, my fear of heights would rule out high wire and trapeze acts, as well as diving into one of those tiny buckets of water. I’m better off here on the ground, away from the clowns and elephant poop. And, let’s face it, I’m much better at throwing hacky sacks at people than I am at juggling them.

I may not have hand-eye coordination, but I have excellent aim. Usually. Lately, I’ve been suffering the worst case of ennui. I’m not quite sure why. All I know is I just can’t work up the energy to put the words on the page.

Frankly, I’m tired. I’m awake for seventeen out of twenty-four hours. I dedicate approximately ten hours to the day job, including commute. Of the remaining hours, I would say I dedicate about two hours to ‘Me’ time – which is code for showering, primping, exercise and preparing for bed. I’m married with children, so that means I’m contractually obligated to deliver another two or three hours of ‘Us’ time per twenty-four hour period. I count dinner, laundry, and other household chores as us time. Hey, there are only so many waking hours in the day. A woman does what she has to do.

If you’re doing the math (totally not my strong suit), this leaves a balance of about two to three hours of free time. For the past few weeks, those precious hours have been spent doing most anything but writing.

I’ve become a master procrastinator. I have ideas popping out of my ears and characters chattering away while I drive, eat, and try to drift off to sleep, but I can’t seem to open my document.

That’s why I’m making a concerted effort to juggle writing into my busy day.

Here’s the plan:

Each day for the month of May, I will write a minimum of 1,000 words.

If I want a day off, I have to bank the words in the days before – there will be no playing catch up.

I’ve enlisted the help of my friend Juggling Julie as my personal whip cracker, and I’ll meet you all back here in June to let you know how I did with keeping all the balls in the air.

Deal? Deal.

How about you? Do you ever have trouble juggling? What tricks do you use to keep your hacky sacks flying?

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9 thoughts on “The Juggler

  1. I too am forced to juggle but have no words of wisdom to impart. Yeah. I’m a great help this morning. I’m no good at writing everyday. If I have less than an hour to work on something, it had better be some related task (marketing, etc) because it won’t be putting out words on the page. That’s why I do most of my writing on weekends.

  2. Who said that thinking about your characters, plots, etc. isn’t part of writing? Okay, so it’s not the physical butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, but it’s still a part of writing. Besides, maybe you need a little hiatus. Just don’t make it too long or it will be all the more difficult to get back into.

  3. I would LOVE to get 1k a day in for May. Juggling? Depends on the tasks but when it comes to writing, no. I can’t juggle. I have to be 100% focused to write.

  4. You’ve been writing. Blogs, hello! No, you’re not adding to your WIP, but you are practicing the craft. My advice, you get a hell of a lot done in a day, don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes we just need a break. Time to relax the muse and recharge our battery.

    Some can write everyday. Some can’t. Find what works for you and don’t fret too much.

    I’m not an everyday writer, but may have to give the 1k a day a try. Great post, as always, Margaret!

  5. Thanks for your comments and support. Unfortunately, I have been giving myself too much of a break. The girl has deadlines. 😉 The 1k thing is working out well so far. It may be a bit unrealistic to think I’ll actually write each day, but once I get going I usually clock more than that. I’ll be banking those words and hopefully, I’ll come out ahead at the end of the month. The most important thing is that it forces me to open the document. 🙂

  6. The only advice I can give, and this is from the non-writer of the group, is to remember to have fun. When it becomes more of a chore and less of something you enjoy it’s time to step back and breathe.

  7. Juggling is so hard. I feel yeah. Full Time job, 2 boys in super active time consuming sports, book blogging and yeah all that primping ‘n stuff is so hard to find time for “me”.
    You do what you can and then you try to do loads of laundry in between. Thanks for your efforts and the beautiful books you turn out for us to enjoy. I know they are written with love.

  8. Juggling Julie here! Fyi, for those interested, I juggle for money. 😉 I mean, hi! Margaret, I love what you do and I will continue to crack my whip till the cows come home if it helps you in any way, shape, or form. Because the world needs more Margaret Ethridge books!! 🙂

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