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Finding the toolbox

January 30, 2011

As it’s the penultimate day of January (and less than an hour to go of that), I’ve decided it’s time to look at just what I achieved in January – somehow keeping me accountable to the goals that I set, and discover some achievements that I hadn’t dared to set.

I started the month repeating Margie Lawson‘s Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviours Course. After the rollercoaster ride of last year, I’d lost a grip on my DSDB toolbox. Not only had I lost the key but I seemed to have misplaced the toolbox completely. Very hard to use the tools when they’ve been banished to the back of your mind. Very early into the course, Margie talked about the negative spiral, and it summed up the last 6 months of 2010.  Then when my beautiful fur-friend left me, I found myself spiralling even more. I could deal with practical stuff like getting my car fixed and paying bills, but anything creative I just didn’t want to know about.

My beautiful Dorkus

For the week after I said goodbye to Dorkus, I sat at my laptop, playing Bejewelled Blitz and crying endlessly. Then once that game had a grip on me, I kept playing…and playing…and playing, not even realising I’d fallen to the bottom of the chasm.

One good thing I managed to do during that time: I entered Beyond Happily Ever After into RWAus’ STALI contest (Single Title and Loving It).  I finalled, which almost managed to pull me out of the spiral. It was very exciting, and during Nanowrimo, I managed to write new words, but not 50ks worth. The results are finally in: Cindy came 6th in the contest, and it was a pleasure sharing the podium with my fellow writers.

So…back to January (because I really do not want to dwell on 2010) – Margie’s mention of the negative spiral resonated with me, and I knew that’s where I’d been, and that’s where I would continue if I didn’t take control. I wiped Bejewelled Blitz and a couple of other games off Facebook. I now delete any mention of them from my feeds when friend’s scores pop up.  When a friend starts playing a new game I hide all posts about that game from my feed, so I will not be lured away from what needs to be done.

I slayed the dragon of procrastination. He tries to take other forms, and sometimes I succumb, but I no longer succumb to the games on Facebook.

My dragon is two-headed:

One head is self-doubt, and the other is procrastination.  They egg each other on.  And they lead to my negative spiral.  I don’t want to feed them anymore. The picture above is now stuck on my wall with big bold letters ‘Don’t Feed the Dragon!!!!’

I also gave the self-doubt dragon a couple of fierce jabs during the month. I refused to let him breathe fire when I received the final judgments for the contest. I worked through the comments, and accepted what I needed to, and let go of the comments that I did not believe, and my beta-readers’ feedback contradicted.

But the biggest jab to my self-doubt dragon came with a trip to Ballarat, to train a new team for work (all strangers). Strange town, strange people, travelling alone for work.  A huge leap out of my comfort zone.

Craig's Royal Hotel


It was still daylight when I arrived so I wandered around the town to get my bearings.  In just a short walk I passed 3 bookstores and 2 chocolate shops — already it was looking like my kind of town.  And the historical buildings are incredible.


My kind of shop, my kind of town!


But alas, an intimate acquaintance of Ballarat was not to be.  This time.

I turned up to the training on Monday and by lunchtime I’d received the news that I’d be flying back home  the following day.  Due to the floods, my new team was more urgently needed in a different capacity.

With just one night left in Ballarat, I had no idea what I wanted to eat and I was surprised to find so many restaurants open. I settled for a drink in Craig’s Royal Hotel (the first photo), followed by a takeaway pizza. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to return to Ballarat, explore more of the town and do the ghost tour.

My goal list has been a little skewed by the flood situation. I’ve been spending a lot of extra hours at work, and I’m not sure when that will change.  So I need to priorities and make sure that I set goals each day that fit into the time I have available.  Which means that the goals I set at the beginning of the year are out of reach for now.  But that’s okay.

And I will give myself a visual cognitive kick: A reminder of Beyond Happily Ever After, and to put my writing first! Do I dare defy the command of a Prince? Especially one as sexy as Prince Henry here:

"Prince Henry" dares me to switch on the TV.

Today I made myself a ‘Write to Go’ bag:

Looking forward to getting this one!

While I was there, I cleaned up a whole section of the shop by reloading a cleaner ‘writer’s mantra’ image, and added the ‘write to go’ section. It was constructive procrastination, much better than the destructive procrastination I’d engaged in so often.

And last week, I  joined a belly-dancing class. Something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. It feels totally unco, but that’s okay – I’m having fun and getting exercise.

So that’s January for me: almost done and dusted. And now I have the keys to the toolbox and I even know where the toolbox is.

No more feeding dragons.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2011 8:03 am

    You’re message really strikes a chord for me. I have the same dragons to slay so I’ll be checking in here for inspiration as I get to know this newly found toolbox (big thanks to Margie Lawson).

    I followed the link from DSDB class. 🙂

    Laurel N

  2. January 31, 2011 11:08 pm

    Oh, the pressure, Laurel! I’ll have to keep blogging about my dragons. More accountability. LOL.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  3. February 3, 2011 9:40 pm

    Oh those pesky dragons Diane. Hope you slay them once and for all 🙂

  4. Karina permalink
    February 13, 2011 4:09 am

    What an inspiring post. May 2011 be far better than 2010 for you 🙂

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