My goal this past week was to write a new book.
I started a separate book 8 or 9 years ago. I have not yet completed it.
Why have I not finished the book I started years ago?
a) Because it is always challenging to block out time to fully focus on it, away from the work I do with people, groups and teams in organisations. I love the work I do and am not yet prepared to give that up in the interest of writing a book. I’m not very good at committing to writing a half hour every day, because it takes me a half hour to get going!…I write better in longer blocks.
b) Every time I re-visit the book (every few months) I realise how much is missing and the topics grow and expand, which then requires more blocks of time to be put aside! I have written approximately 80,000 words over recent years.
THE NEW BOOK
In this past week, I have started writing a new one. This is a book I believe can potentially be shorter and will give readers some helpful hints and practical tools. I will then get back to completing the original book, or find an editor to get me to the next stage.
I promised myself and the team a few weeks ago that this 7 days block of time leading into and over a long weekend and slightly beyond, was going to be devoted to writing the first draft of this new book. I cleared off my diary. I pushed some meetings out into the future. I told everyone I would be knuckling down and not available to join in with any plans.
What I have achieved in 6 of the 7 days of that block so far?
The first three days were spent just clearing off the decks of pieces of preparation work for upcoming groups and individuals I am working with in the coming month in Ireland and in the USA.
Then towards the end of that third day, I created a model for the book. The book will be built around this model. The model will hopefully make it easy for people to grasp the concepts, if they haven’t met the concepts previously. I’ve run through the model with a few people (by phone or briefly in person) to see if it makes sense to them. So far; thumbs up!. And then yesterday, the 5th day, I wrote approx 4,000 words that bring part of the model to life.
On the 4th day, I also finished an earlier project the team and I at Adaptas were working. We’ve been pulling lots of blogs and other pieces that I and others have written together. Our plan has been to create 4 ebooks for the website, and then also publish it all as one book. The final text for these ebooks/ book have now gone to one of the team, for her to work her design magic.
In ways, I have achieved a lot over the past few days. Yet I feel very low and kind of hopeless.
This morning, I have been reflecting on why I feel so low.
I know for a fact that I would not be feeling this way, if I had been doing what many other people do over easter weekend, which is switch off from work and relax with their family and friends. I did join family yesterday for Easter Sunday, and I did go out to do a yoga class on Saturday morning and to meet some friends on Saturday evening, but other than that, it has been me and the screen, for the past 6 days and very little else.
I feel like I have placed myself in some sort of cave, hidden away from the world.
And now I find myself partly reprimanding myself for having done this to myself. There was a long list of things I would love to have gone to today, including a workshop on stories and mythology; a yoga workshop; a festival that is on in Dublin city centre…so much fun I am missing out on!
And I’ve been thinking this morning about the writer and depression, something we often hear propogated through the media etc.
I’ve also been thinking about introversion and extraversion.
My work involves me being in the company of lots of different people all the time. I often find myself coming to the end of a week and needing to hide in my cave because I have spent so much time facilitating other people. But then once I have had a few days to regroup, and rest, I am ready to go again. I absolutely love the work I do and when I am doing it I feel energised and in flow. It’s just afterwards, if I haven’t taken proper breaks during the week, that I feel exhausted.
But then if I spend too much time away from people, I crave company. I know all this about myself. So why did I approach the book the way I have, when I know I need a mixture of time to myself and also time with other people?
A NEW WAY
So where is the balance to be found with all of this? If I am going to write a book and actually finish it, I clearly can’t do it using blocks of time to focus. Because it’s not good for my mental health.
When I think about it, if I was to take any person, and put them in front of a computer for long periods of time where they forget to eat, don’t feel like they deserve to go out, because they haven’t enough words written, and generally isolate them from all the fun stuff that is going on in the world over the weekend, any person would probably feel like I do right now!
Ok, it’s time to find a lunch buddy, go for a walk and come up with a new plan to get this book written!!