Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sliced and Diced But Refusing to Choose

Eight months later, and I'm back.  Where have I been?  Mainly, just doing life—many different slices of life.  But the problem with taking an extended hiatus from a blog is that it's really hard to pick it back up and go on.  Do I give an overview of what I've been doing, or do I start from today and move forward?  I guess a little of both would be in order.

Back in April a fellow writer mentioned a book called Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher.  Sher describes people who have many interests or more than one career path as "Scanners." Scanners have a hard time focusing on one interest, and Sher argues that they shouldn't. Although Scanners sometimes can't finish their projects or they have trouble excelling in one area because the other areas clamor for attention, the best thing for Scanners to do is to pursue all of their interests.  The book offers different tools for doing what you love but showing you how to move forward. There are different types of Scanners. Some rotate their interests seasonally; some set aside different sections of their day or week for different careers; some might work in one field for a few years and then try something totally different.

This makes a lot of sense to me.  I had a friend ask me once, "If you had to choose between writing or dance, which would you pick?"  I tried, but I absolutely could not answer that question.  So, taking the advice of the book, I decided that I was a Sybil Scanner - someone who has 3 or 4 interests that they devote their time to equally.  Looking at the patterns of my life, I figured out that I tend to do things seasonally, writing for one part of the year, and then maybe tutoring, performing or choreographing at other times. And of course, there's always overlap.

So, over the summer I thought I'd focus on writing and tutoring since I had spent most of the previous seasons on dance projects. But, the best laid plans... usually get foiled.  I applied for writing and tutoring jobs but nothing panned out. I even tried to focus back on dance, but that didn't work either. The one project that worked out and was a huge success was the big family reunion that I hosted in August. This was one of the highlights of my summer, and with everything else going on I concluded for the umpteenth time that my life is not my own, and my steps and activities are dictated by the God of the Universe.

After a frustrating summer (which I may or may not go into for future blogs), I decided to expand my tutoring skills by enrolling in the Adult ESL certificate program at Hamline. As soon as I did that, life exploded:

Tutoring - 3 new students in ESL and technical writing
Dance - Access Chautauqua Performance in September, partnering with mixed ability dancers
Freelance Writing - newspaper article deadline
Marketing & Creative Writing - prepping my novels for the Loft Pitch Conference
Choreography - A group dance for the Zenon Zone Show in December
Faith - changes and challenges to my church situation
Personal - my cat died

Feast or famine.  Sliced and diced in many directions!  But, even though it was busy and challenging on many levels, it was very rewarding.  I worked with a a lot of different people and my activities fed each other and overlapped in many ways.  The holidays were quiet, and I was able to take time to grieve some of my losses and disappointments.

2016 has brought new opportunities and challenges. I make no promises on how often I will write, but I still enjoy this blog and will make it one of my goals to continue writing.

Happy New Year

Happy Chinese New Year - Year of the Monkey

Happy President's Day

Happy Valentine's Day