The Caged Bird Flies

The #1 reason I fail: I do not get my work done. Even when I get to the final chapter, I resist putting the finishing scenes in. If I could figure out that one glitch I’d be prolific because, right now, I have 4 novels written. 1 mystery/humor, 1 Middle Grade fantasy, one YA paranormal, and 1 urban fantasy. All of these stories are either finished in rough draft, or easily finished if I buckle down and work. I have story ideas plotted out to last me the next ten years.

Added to this, I have a ton of ideas for non-fiction markets. I could do this writing gig if I’d ever get my head on straight. It’s incredibly frustrating because I don’t believe my failure is lack of knowledge or lack of talent. It’s the work ethic. I am not approaching this as a business, with business hours, and structured work time.

Part of the chaos is of my own making. I allow people to spin me in different directions, much like a pin ball machine, with me being the ball. I need to figure out a way to inactivate the flippers. Or at least figure out how to decrease their frequency.

Part of it is not respecting my time. And I’m not talking about others. I’m talking about me. I don’t set rules. If I don’t insist on valuing my own time, giving my work the respect and time it needs, then why should anybody else?

If I step up, stand firm, and insist on the value of my time, and what I choose to do with that time, others would follow suit. I really need to focus, define my goals, and figure out a reasonable division of time.

Preferably a fair division of time, but fair doesn’t always enter into it. The best I can do is analyze everybody’s needs. Then decide what needs to stay. Whatever time is left over, I have to figure out how to use that time efficiently.

If I’m ruthless, I can enlarge those time gaps enough to be productive. Even 5 minute increments, used consistently, will move me forward. I have to stop flipping from project to project, and concentrate on one goal at a time. I have a folder for each project. Ideas can easily be added. I don’t need to waste hours. But I do need to learn how to concentrate on one solid project at a time.

I’ve never yet figured out why being held to one project makes me feel trapped. It shouldn’t, yet it does. The minute I focus on one project, my muse start clamoring for freedom, when the real freedom comes at completion of the project.

Sometimes, I think it’s because so much of my life is beyond my own control. The bird’s wings, fluttering against the bars, came to mind when I typed that. A bird, caged by choice, is still caged. I won’t ever walk away from my personal responsibilities. I’m a caregiver by choice, and the blessings I get, every day from being with my son, matter to me.

Everyone lives within their own cage. Life does that to us. Nobody lives a life free of responsibility. Most of us learn how to fly, in spite of life’s bars. I can do this. I can learn how to care for myself with the same love and dedication that I give to others. I can protect my own needs and goals and demand that others give me the same respect I give them.

I’m no longer accepting failure, especially if that failure happens because I didn’t try hard enough. I’m focusing on one goal at a time. I’m learning how to meet my self-imposed deadlines. I will continue to learn, and grow in my chosen craft. I’m flapping my wings as hard as I can. It doesn’t matter if I never soar to the stars. I just need enough space to get off the ground so I can know what it feels like to fly.

5 Responses to The Caged Bird Flies

  1. Penny Pfeiff says:

    You have been reading my mail…Carol this so speaks to me…thanks!

    • C. L. Roth says:

      Penny, I’m never sure if my words speak to anybody. When I write, I’m sort of talking out loud to myself. I’m trying to get my own thoughts clear so what you see is my own inner struggle to make sense out of what life shows me.

  2. Shirley Guldenschuh says:

    I haven’t had anywhere near the caregiving challenges that you have, but I can relate. How do you get people to take your boundaries seriously, after a lifetime of acquiescency?

    I appreciate your willingness to talk out loud where we can hear you. Your journey is an inspiration to me.

    • C. L. Roth says:

      The biggest change happened when I simply don’t respond any more to infringement on my time. Nobody can make me do anything if I don’t choose to. I’m fair. My husband has learned to let me know several days ahead of time when he’s going to need my help, or a clean kitchen. For instance, he let me know today that he will be home Wed. morning working in the kitchen and that he would appreciate it being clean and ready to use. He also offered to stay with Josh if I wanted to schedule any shopping or errands that could be faster done by myself. This didn’t come easy. I had to learn to be verbal in my needs and decisions, and I had to stick to my guns.

      It isn’t an easy change. It doesn’t happen overnight but it can happen. I’d have to say being absolutely verbal, calm and firm is the necessary factor. And being fair. I’m not selfish. I don’t mind helping out. What I demand back is respect for my goals and time. I’m not where I need to be yet but I’m so much closer than I was before.

      • C. L. Roth says:

        Shirley, I thought of an easier way to explain the change. I know that you are a horsewoman. When I first started changing how I deal with my husband, I put it in horse training terms. First, I had to get movement. Then I had to get consistent movement. Then I needed to make sure I reward the behavior I want. It makes me giggle when I think about it but I really did approach the relationship changes just like I would when training a horse in the round pen.

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