I’m not crazy about the concept of New Year’s Resolutions because I feel like by making one you’re almost setting yourself up for failure. But each January 1st marks more than just a New Year for me, it marks the beginning of my slow season.
My work is seasonal and always changing, which is why I think I enjoy it so much. Sure, the concept of regular paychecks has become absolutely foreign to me and the lack of a consistent income makes it nearly impossible to budget but there is one thing I can count on: from January through April I have a lot of free time. It’s during these months that I get to travel and take my “own” photos which is exciting and inspiring but – let’s be honest – I’m not yet at the point in my career where I can just up and leave for four months. (Maybe one month.) Nevertheless, I like to take advantage of this time by nurturing other creative areas of my brain. This means decorating my apartment, being crafty, crocheting until I have callouses on my fingers and, of course, writing.
I’ve always thought that my love of travel photography was nicely complimented by my love of travel writing and, if I dare be so bold, I believe that I possess talent in both of these mediums. I have a list of about 30 travel story ideas from my trip to South America last April but, embarrassingly, I haven’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keys – come on, I’m a Millennial) with a single one. Since getting home I’ve been happily busy behind my camera and, therefore, had an excuse. But enough is enough. Things are winding down… It’s time to write.
For Christmas I received Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). I laughed my way through the 200 or so pages of essays, lists, ramblings and hilarious baby pictures. In the spirit of the book (and my love for lists) I so admire:
- Mindy’s ability to humorously poke fun of herself without degrading her talents
- Mindy’s humility – after all, she’s an extremely successful writer/producer/actress on The Office but still seems like a totally down to earth girl and someone with whom I (not so) secretly want to be best friends
- Mindy’s ability to insert dialogue a la screenplay. I’ve sort of attempted this…
- Mindy’s honesty about how she writes. I laughed so hard reading these chapters, I think my dog thought I was a little drunk.
In the words of Mindy Kaling:
I’ve found my productive-writing-to-screwing-around ratio to be one to seven. So, for every eight-hour day of writing, there is only one good productive hour of work being done. The other seven hours are preparing for writing: pacing around the house, collapsing cardboard boxes for recycling, reading the DVD extras pamphlet from the BBC Pride & Prejudice, getting snacks lined up for writing and YouTubing toddlers who learned the “Single Ladies” dance. I know. Isn’t that horrible? So, basically, writing this piece took me the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy it accordingly.
One hour of productive writing each day. I can do that. Maybe.