When the First Roadblocks Loom…

My regular readers know that I always begin the fall season bursting with enthusiasm. I start this most productive of seasons full of ideas and plans for the months ahead. This season I have particularly lofty goals in mind with regard to my own writing and publishing career. But pretty soon, we all see the early hurdles rearing their ugly heads.

It starts small; perhaps we had the goal to cook more often, and then we discover how tired we really are at the end of a work day. We had plans for how to use the weekend, and then several weekends in a row seemed to be filled with errands and family obligations. All that time you thought you would have starts to evaporate before your eyes. This is a crucial period in the season; it’s a time of testing, and the outcome of the test can be deadly serious. Before you know it, the season you thought you would have can disappear. And that leads to feelings of profound disappointment and possibly even resentment toward the people you think stood in your way.

That’s why it’s so crucial to nip these things in the bud right now. The first roadblock has loomed; how you choose to handle this will show you what you’re capable of handling in the future. So you’re more tired than you thought; that’s understandable. And yet, if you know you’ve set a reasonable goal, it really is possible to treat tiredness as a mental state. If I slump onto the couch, I’ve found that I end up feeling more and more tired; I’m treating myself as a tired sack of potatoes, so that’s how I feel. But if I pretend that I’m NOT tired, and get up and do my appointed task, I’m often less tired at the end of the day. You can only be as productive as you feel.

That’s one example of how an early test might change the tone and timbre of your entire season. You might find yourself encountering other tests, such as family demands or unforeseen hurdles. Understand that these challenges are an inevitability; the world is not going to part like the Red Sea for your creative life. It’s how we work our creative lives into these challenges that will determine how productive we can be. Try to anticipate what might prove challenging to your plans — and remember to prioritize your creativity. It’s often the thing that gives when push comes to shove — but it doesn’t have to. The difference between unsuccessful and successful people with talent is simply that willingness to prioritize, to push through the challenge.

So how are you going to make sure you make it over the early hurdles?

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