I spent last week on my own spring break, of sorts—although I was back in class, I’ve been struggling with a bad case of burnout, so other than my weekly column, a beast of an article that had been due on Monday, and my first project for a paying client (so you can see how I spent my weekend), I basically took the week off from my writing projects.
The time off was sorely needed, and I found myself taking a long hard look at the kind of work I’ve been doing. I made the conscious decision to cut back and not do more for the sake of doing more—as in, I think I can afford to be a little more selective with the type of work I’m taking on, and I definitely need to improve my time management. Having said that, I ceased and desisted on some regular work that I’d been doing for a few months. I was finding that the time I was spending on these projects was taking me away from my larger assignments, and cutting into my already very limited time. So I had to make some decisions. As writer Elizabeth Gilbert said, “I wanted to have a bigger, smaller life”, which I interpret as doing more with less, and having more meaningful experiences overall. This is how I want to approach my writing career, and I'm understanding how vital it is to do this. I’m at a critical point with my projects, and I want to make sure that I can fully devote myself to each project. Lately, I’m embarrassed to admit that much of my work has just not met the usual high standards I set for myself.
So, as we do this time of year, I had to weed through everything and see what was worth keeping and what was worth discarding. It’s been a very liberating experience. I managed to get a few larger assignments in the meantime, as well!
Do you do any professional “spring cleaning”? How do you determine what goes and what stays?