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Semester breaks are a chance for me to reset, placing writing first and school second, and I've been having a great time doing just that. But, with the COVID-inspired adjustment to our semester schedules, my winter break is longer with more time spent at home and in close quarters with family. This gives me the opportunity to give a little more consideration to things beyond school and writing, and to kick-start some of the goals I've set for 2021. Here's a glimpse into my January by the letters.
A: Awareness -- a chance to zoom in on things that busyness can keep me from paying attention to.
B: Balance -- I'm keeping track of a number of how much time I spend on various pursuits, trying to tip the scales away from immersing myself in one thing to the exclusion of everything else.
C: Characters -- Old and new. And that's all I'll say right now :-)
D: Decluttering -- Although it's happening more slowly than I'd like, piles are disappearing.
E: Education -- I love to learn. I spend time daily on Duolingo to improve my French (and, to a lesser extent, my German, and to learn Spanish) and I'm taking a course on social media marketing to better understand the platforms.
F: Flexibility -- Switching gears can be hard for me when I know my open schedule will close up all too soon, but learning to be better at this is better for my relationships.
G: Gratitudes -- My daughter and I have developed the daily "3 things" habit. Like so many other things, this practice works better with an accountability partner.
H: Home -- Don't get around much anymore, as the song says. Under the current circumstances, I'm okay with that. It was kind of surprising to discover just how content I can be within the confines of my home.
I: Interiors -- Mine and my house's. Spending so much time here leads me to want to improve the overall status of everything, beyond simply decluttering.
J: Jammies!! -- or a reasonable facsimile thereof. In an interview on Colbert's (A) Late Show last week, Rachel Brosnahan (Mrs. Maisel) talked about not wearing "hard pants." What a great description!
K: Kindle -- for both my reading and publishing pleasure.
L: Loved ones -- grateful to have my husband and daughter around (though the non-flex part of me wishes we could land on a regular schedule). It's a lot more challenging seeing those who don't live here, though, and that's sad.
M: Mindful -- one of my 20 for 2021. I'm not a patient person by nature, and am trying to use situations that require patience to nurture my mindfulness goal and to perhaps even slow down a bit.
N: No hard pants -- (Couldn't resist). :-)
O: Outreach -- After all these months indoors, it's all too easy to stay in my little bubble. I'm trying to be mindful (there's that word again) of making connections, even if they're virtual.
P: Positive Psychology -- Teaching this course beginning next month means preparing for it now. There's never been a better time to focus on optimism!
Q: Quiet -- my favorite work dynamic. Due to some family schedule changes, I'm getting more of it than I was, which helps my productivity.
R: Revising -- my #1 writing goal for January was finishing Courting Peace. I also have another novel ready for revision, and am hoping to transfer my grudgingly developed revising habit to this book.
S: Semester planning -- can't forget this one since classes start again February 1.
T: Timing -- With no deadlines and no real schedule, I've allowed my body clock (stay up late/sleep late) to run the show. I'm trying to get it back to something that's a better match for real-world rhythms.
U: Undoing of knots -- both personal and object-related.
V: Virtual writers' groups -- My critique group went virtual last fall, and I joined another group at the college where I work in November (I think) and I enjoy both the camaraderie and the professional development. And, my accountability partner and I re-started via Zoom just before Thanksgiving, too. All of this nudges me forward.
W: Writing! -- but you expected this one.
X: (E)xcavating inboxes -- still trying to get those numbers down.
Y: Yes to chilling out -- physically, mentally, and schedule-wise.
Z: Zzzz -- getting enough sleep for once. Now I need to work on starting this process at a "reasonable hour."