Two Things I learned in July

July was a month of lessons for me. One of them disappointing at first something that made me feel broken. The other something I always suspected but never gave a lot of thought and considered it something everyone is able to do. So not very special right?

#NaNoWriMo  

I  once again, entered the NaNoWriMo craze all energized to write my book. I decided on a political thriller because that’s what I was enjoying reading the first part of the year and thought that perhaps I would do well in writing one myself. I planned and I outlined and I even wrote over 2,000 words before July started. I couldn’t wait! Quickly the energy I felt in the beginning of the month waned and I no longer wanted to or felt compelled to write. I am not interested in writing a novel. I’m not interested in spending large amounts of time putting together a world and characters. I lost interest in their lives and their worlds. It was no longer interesting to me. So I stopped. The novel still lives in my Scrivener file. Not because I have dreams of ever finishing it or publishing it but because it is a reminder of a lesson that although painful taught me about myself.

Just because I enjoy reading doesn’t mean I have to write a book. I love stories and the written word. I enjoy losing myself in a novel and sometimes, more often than not, a good non-fiction, self improvement type book are my “go-to” for relaxation. I enjoy spending time in different worlds  but that does not mean that I want to create those worlds. Perhaps because creating those worlds makes the world lose its magic. I want to feel the magic and can’t if I’m the one creating it. I’m not sure if that makes sense to you, but it does in my own head.  Does that mean that i have no imagination? NOPE! It just means that I am not interested in writing a novel and that’s ok. We can’t all be writers. Some of us are readers/consumers. Where would the writers be if there were no consumers of their writing? We have to have both and I am the second type.

I’m not broken. I’m just never going to write a novel.  Never say never right?  Things may change but for now.  That is not my thing.

#OneBookJuly

OneBookJuly is the month when those of us who like to plan our lives and live by a schedule or a to do list pick one planner or one journal and use that for the entire month. 

This year I decided to enter #OneBookJuly. For the first week I floundered and even almost gave up and switched to a different planner.  For one week I moved to a Stalogy A6. the A6 size is very small but very portable – – not that we are going anywhere these days but that was my thought process. I quickly realized that the A6 size is too small for me to write everything I need to write. I wanted to journal do a timed schedule and create to-do lists. That’s how I work best. I enjoy planning my day in the morning when the house is quiet and create the list of things that I want to get done that day. I then enjoy crossing them off – – or in my case, crossing off the little dots next to the tasks to be accomplished, once I accomplish them. The A6 pages were so small that I had to squish everything together or separate my days’ schedule from my to do’s from my journaling. Having everything separate did not work for me so I put aside the Stalogy and went back to my TN (travelers notebook) for the rest of the month.

My OneBookJuly experience taught me that although I appreciate the small size of some planners, they just don’t work for me. I need things all in one place and that means that I need more page real estate. I need to be able to see where my time is free and I can “fit in” some of my to-dos. That is how I’m most productive.

So, was my #OneBookJuly a failure?  Perhaps.  Technically, yes.  I didn’t start and finish my month in one book.  I changed after the first week.  But I learned what works for me so ….. isn’t that a win?  a success?  I now can go on planning and journaling and crossing off my to-do’s knowing that I have all the space in the world to do what I need to do.  Does this mean that I am going to stay in one book, a TN, for the rest of my planning life? Absolutely not.  I’m already thinking that I may want to experiment in a B6 Stalogy.  But, I have learned that I need space on a page and that is going to be my guiding principle.

Lessons NOT Failures

So, were these experiments failures? I don’t think so. I learned from each of them. I wanted so much to write a book and was even going to start dedicating hours and hours to that practice. I’m glad I found out what I don’t want to do before I spent hours doing it only to realize that after all, that was not my dream. I much prefer sitting and reading a book than creating a book.

I also wanted so much to have a pretty and tiny planner that I could stick in any purse. I learned that I cannot do that. I need everything in one place and that’s how I’m most productive. After all, the purpose of a planner is to help me be as efficient as I can be so I am glad I learned that tiny planners are not for me. 

To be honest, my TN is not large. I keep two books or inserts in it. One is the monthly calendar and the other is a grid notebook where I plan my weeks and my days. I’m playing around with different spreads to see which work with my brain and every week I figure out something else that will work better. My planning style has evolved this month and it’s so much fun to go back and see how much. What worked one week doesn’t work the next and I always find new ways to make things “tighter.” I’m enjoying the process so much and most of all I’m enjoying the fact that I am finally in the size planner I enjoy.

What about you? What did you learn in the month of July? What habits will you stick with and which ones will you let go of?