Mid-Year Checkup: Getting Things Done

It’s Monday. Again.

Observant readers will note that I have not posted since last Monday.

And you know what, I kind of like it.

Sorry. Not sorry.

Here’s the thing.

You may recall that in January I set out my theme for the year. Get Things Done.

While I didn’t provide a list of things I wanted to accomplish, I may have since talked about a list, or goals. But that’s not my point here.

At the middle of the year, I can say that I’ve acted in one show, directed another, and completed a script that will be produced this fall. I’ve also scheduled two directing gigs for next season, made progress on the novel, and started two new scripts. And, by the way, I’ve read 31 of my goal to read 50 books this year.

I have not lost seventy-five pounds, but I’m staying active, and endeavoring to eat a healthy diet.

I have not been awarded the “Yard of the Month” but most of the leaves are up. Some flowers were planted, and there’s progress.

I could go on, but that’s not what this post is about.

I am a writer who often talks more about writing than the actually writing. But, as I wrote last week, I’ve recently revised my daily writing goals.

Since July of 2015 I have committed to writing at least 500, then 1,000 words on a daily basis. Earlier this spring I was getting up, going to the gym, and then spending forty-five minutes to an hour in a coffee shop writing, before I went to the office.

Doing that made me think about what I was writing. The exercise of forcing myself to put that many words down on a regular basis was a very good thing. But I was mostly journaling and not really writing more than the daily gripes.

So, beginning July 1, I told myself that it had to be substantive writing, not journaling. That’s more difficult than it sounds. Along with the pressure of not having to get the youngster to the bus stop by 6:00 a.m., it was getting harder to get to the gym that early.

Then last week, you know that I backed off of the pressure of having to write a blog post every day.

Here’s what I discovered. It was one of the most freeing actions I’ve taken in a long time.

I’m still very involved in theater, I’m still getting to the gym, I’m still working the day job.

But last week, when the temperatures were cooler, I actually sat out in the yard and read, or worked on scripts rather than parking my behind in front of the computer screen.

And here’s what happened.

I got more writing done. I got more reading done. I got to bed earlier.

Who knew?

I’m not advocating this as a solution to your overcrowded calendar. It’s just another part in the realization that I can’t do it all, and more importantly that I don’t have to.

This may not be such a revelation to you. But it’s all a part of how does a sixty-year-old man follow his dreams of writing, theater, and art without driving himself, and all those around him crazy. Or without ending up in advanced medical care because he overdid it.

All important things to consider.

Who knows? Maybe Labor Day will get here and I’ll feel the need to get back on a more rigid schedule.

But for now, this works. And that’s what’s important.

See, I’m getting things done. Just perhaps not in the same manner I might have thought few months back. And, that’s okay.

Life is about being adaptable. We can make our plans, make our schedules and know exactly how things are going to turn out.

Until they don’t.

See you…soon…

Oh, and the OTHER checkup…is scheduled for August.


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Do You Hear Like I Hear?

It’s Monday. Observant readers know that there was no Friday post. In truth, one was written, but it was pretty much garbage.

Which got me to thinking.

It’s summer, you already know that I have more on my to-do list than it is humanly possible to achieve. I already know that you’re probably at the pool, or the beach, or feeling the pressure of yardwork of your own. I get that.

And even though I wrote Thursday about writing when you don’t feel like it, there’s something to be said about not posting just because you have to post.

Don’t get me wrong, if I were well-paid for this blog, I’d be posting multiple times a day, and the work of cranking out brilliance would continue.

As I’ve written before I generally write the basic format of my blog posts on the weekend. Typically Saturday morning. On the best of weeks, the Monday through Friday posts are complete before I head to the office. As I also wrote, Saturday before last I had a road trip for work. Then the boy came home to get his dog, then birthday, then holiday, then…well, you get the idea.

Thursday night when I finally sat down to post what I’d cobbled together over the week, I realized that no one really wanted to read what I’d written. I’m not so sure that I wanted to read it.

So, I decided to let the Friday post slide. And, anytime I do that I always find myself considering how much effort I should be putting into this blog.

Don’t panic, I’m not quitting. But, at least for the duration of the summer, I’m reconsidering how often I’ll be posting. If you’ve signed up for the email notification or you follow my writer page on Facebook, you’ll know when I post. It’s a simple as that.

Please don’t waste your summer sitting by your computer waiting for the next brilliant thing I’m about to say.

Which all leads me to today’s post and what I really wanted to talk about.

Yesterday, for reasons that are our own, we stayed home and watched the livestream of the Sunday morning service.

Our church has been going through a series called “City on a Hill” based on Matthew, Chapter 5 (look it up, it will do you good), and giving the history of the hills upon which the City of Richmond is built. Learning that history will also do you some good.

Sunday’s sermon text was from Matthew 13, where Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower. Don’t make me say this again, but you know you should look it up.

In short paraphrase, Jesus talked about how the seed withered and died or flourished based upon the type of ground it was sown in, and based upon what else might have been there to hinder the growth.

Here’s the phrase (again a paraphrase) that stuck with me.

“What we hear determines what we believe, but sometimes what we believe determines what we hear.”

Let that sink in for a minute.

I mean, is that your Facebook feed or what?

Pick an issue…the children at the border, the soccer team in Thailand, flooding in Japan…what are you focusing on this week?

And, what are you believing about what you hear?

See, we all (okay some) get on Facebook and see posts with which we agree, or disagree based on what we believe. And, in reality, we’re not hearing each other. We’re not hearing those who have a different viewpoint.

As a follower of Christ, I believe truth is absolute.

That’s why this dialogue from Return of the Jedi always bothered me:

Obi-Wan: Your father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.

Luke: [incredulously] A certain point of view?

Obi-Wan: Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

I mean…good or bad, right or wrong, up or down…it’s all so simple, right?

Maybe not.

Think about it. To Obi-Wan, the Anakin Skywalker he knew was dead and gone. But to Luke, he knew deep down that there was still good in his father.

On a side note, if any of this is a spoiler because you haven’t seen a thirty-five year old film, then maybe your truth is that you need to get out more.

Yes, I believe truth is absolute. It’s our hearing and understanding that is not.

Even though I wrote about the truth in journalism a couple of weeks ago, I understand that the way you hear and read something is not the way I hear and read the exact same thing.

So, until we, on all sides, hear and acknowledge that truth, we’re just going to keep talking past each other.

Do you hear me?


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