Monday, December 29, 2014

The Art of Letting Go

In preparing for the New Year (Abby is right--the future is coming soon!) I've been thinking about the baggage I'm carrying into it. Not just literal baggage (I'm on a holiday trip as we speak), but the mental baggage too. Often, it can become heavier than we realize, and a lot of times we don't know why we're even carrying it.

Luckily, unnecessarily heavy baggage allows me an opportunity to assess whether I can let it go.

Elsa definitely had the right idea.
It got me thinking of things that take my brain energy on a daily basis. Sometimes it's social networking. Other times it's graduate school. But if I'm being honest, most of the drainage comes from my full time librarian job. On my other blog, I've documented some of the library questions I get, ranging anywhere from the mundane to the just plain goofy. (If you'd like more, Mental Floss recently posted some pre-internet questions from the New York Public Library). 
There is a lot I like about my job too. But when I'm able to separate myself from it, strip away what I don't need, it allows me to focus more on my writing and inner sense of well-being, both of which I intend to put front and center in the coming year. To do that, I need to ask myself the following:
1. What am I holding on to, and what makes it important?
2. What will happen if I decide to let go of things that might not be as important as I'm making them?
3. How can I prioritize what's important over the other stuff that isn't?
The first step I took was going dark on my other blog in December. As time goes on, I may be more selective about what I post there, at least until I get enough fiction writing under my belt to support the platform I've built for myself.
The second step I took was making a list of conferences I hope to attend. Google Docs is a great place for to-do lists, and if you need ideas on how to organize and prioritize, Getting Things Done is an excellent book.
Finally, per Abby's advice, I'm setting measurable goals for the coming year. Currently, I'm editing an old project and drafting a new one, and my goal is to have something submittable and polished by the end of 2015.
So what about you? What are you holding on to? Is it helping you? And if not, are you ready to let it go?


Angelica R. Jackson said...

It took me a while to learn to let go--I had this genuine anxiety that things would fall apart if I wasn't micromanaging every detail and project. But I discovered a lot of it was just a way of making me feel I was in control of things (though I actually wasn't)--so much of publishing is out of our hands, and we definitely have to make peace with it.

Karen McCoy said...

So true, Angelica. Often, the sense of control is just an illusion to make ourselves feel better...until we realize all it's doing is getting in our way.

Unknown said...

I'm so glad you're writing about letting go. Most of the time New Year's plans are about getting more, doing more--and they fail because people don't realize they have to make room for all that. We only have so much space, time, and energy in our lives. We have to let go of the things, ideas, and feelings that are holding us back. I'm starting with things and working my
way in.