Monday, August 20, 2018

First Day of School & Patterns

Chair from my child's new classroom with the words, "Where The Wild Things Are"
and the seat painted with characters from the book.

Our five-year-old started elementary school today. (Yes, of course, I cried a little. A new school and a new school year...)

Our child's new school year marks another transition and fresh start for all of us. My family is back in Washington, D.C., after an academic year abroad and I have a chance to start new habits and routines as a parent and writer. Part of starting a new routine is recognizing my current habits first.

This attention to patterns is an important aspect of parenting. We ask ourselves many questions over the weeks - Is my child always tired at a certain time of day? Does my child need to practice doing X in order to be more independent? We parent-writers are often good at identifying our children's habits in order to help them, but it can be hard to turn that analytical eye on ourselves, especially when it concerns our creative writing endeavors.

Habits and patterns are useful to notice for ourselves as we think about our commitment to writing. Here are some questions I'm asking myself as we start a new semester that might be helpful for you, too:

How much time do I dedicate to drafting, editing and reading each week?
How can I find more time?
How can I prioritize my time to ensure that I continue to dedicate X number of hours per week to drafting, editing, and reading each week?
Do I have polished work that can be submitted for publication?
When will I regularly submit my work, new and recently rejected work?
Are there readings that I'd like to attend this season? Did I mark them in the calendar and commit to them?
Do I have a writing group or other readers who support me? How can I find them if I don't have them right now? Are there people or groups I could reach out to?

Here are some additional helpful links:
Earlier blog posts about fresh starts and self-evaluations
How to Break Bad Habits published in Psychology Today

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