Blank Boxes

About halfway through March, I bought myself a calendar.  One of those blank kinds, boring white, with just the dates on it, and not much else.  I hung it on the wall next to the table where I sit to write.  The goal and purpose behind this was a sort of hybrid motivation/accountability device.  I have a series of multicolored pens, each with its own function, that I use to jot on the calendar what I have done writing-wise on that particular day.  The plan, the goal, was to have something jotted on each day: specifically, something in the maroon-colored pen that indicates I have worked on my new novel.  I started out really strong, but dwindled somewhere along the way.  I am ashamed to say, only 12 of the days in April bear maroon-pen words, and five days are completely blank.

At the bottom of the page, in light blue, I had three goals written.  These were meant to be completed by the end of April.  I realized last night that I had reached the end of April.  None of them has been met, although I have managed to write the first draft of my query letter (goal #1).

When I flipped the calendar from April to May last night, and stared at the blank, square boxes, devoid of anything but the bold numbers declaring the dates, I had mixed feelings.  On one hand, it seemed depressing, almost a step back to go from a page with multi-colored jotted notes, random scribbles about my blog, and sticky-notes with quotes on them to one that shows a decided lack of anything constructive.  Blank, white boxes.

On the proverbial other hand, however, those blank boxes offer a fresh start, a new challenge, a chance to do more, do better.  April, with its successes and failures, is past.  There is nothing I can do to improve on or change it.  May has yet to be written.  I have a chance to generate new goals, to fill in more boxes.

What about you?  A new month, 31 blank boxes are stretched out before you: how do you see them?  How will you use them?  Happy May 1st!

– S.D. Bullard

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~ by sdbullard on May 1, 2012.

2 Responses to “Blank Boxes”

  1. Don’t feel bad. Well, maybe a little bad. But just bad enough to get yourself motivated to fill in those boxes. We all fall a little short of our own expectations. The important thing is to continue, no matter what, and move ahead in the direction you choose. It won’t matter that April only had 12 busy days in a few months. It won’t matter at all. But what will matter is what you chose to do with that lesson. Every day, in however small a way, is a lesson, and a step forward, unwilling or no. You will get somewhere. The only thing left is to decide if you choose where that is, or if you let life choose it for you. Writing will happen. You’ll get there, don’t worry. It sounds like you’re dedicated enough to make it happen. Just remember: planning is good, but there’s no substitute for action. Keep it up!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I try to walk a delicate balance between encouraging myself to be active (so as not to take 5 1/2 years to complete my next novel) and making sure that writing is never an obligation. It is my passion, and as soon as it becomes a chore, rather than a joy, I will have failed. So far, the calendar has been more encouragement than nag. As long as that is how it remains, I am good 🙂

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