Updated: Jun 13
It’s Spring Break, and I had a plan.
I was going to wake early, do a little writing, do a little yoga, and spend my afternoon watching a terrible movie – either a gruesome true crime documentary or an old movie that received awful reviews. It’s a little game I like to call, “how bad is it?”
But that didn’t happen. I slept in and then quickly dressed to purchase a bag of bagels. Then I settled in for some Grey’s Anatomy – the post-Derek seasons – and ate a late breakfast. I knew the second that I turned on Grey’s, I was not going to be very productive. It’s one of those traps I sometimes set for myself. I promise myself that I will be able to feel rested, grounded, and centered as I watch Dr. Edwards fight her way out of a burning hospital. I sound like one of my students.
What actually keeps me most motivated to stay focused on my goals is consistent deadlines.
School is great for that. It’s nothing but projects and deadlines. As a teacher, I get to set deadlines, but I also have deadlines myself for getting things graded and back to the students. Last year, I pushed all my deadlines and spent my whole Spring Break grading, and as a result, I had a really awful Spring Break. This year, I worked hard to get as much graded as I could so I could create my own writer’s retreat.
If I didn’t set up little deadlines for myself and honor them, I wouldn’t be able to get anything done.
Along with Spring Break, this is also the anniversary of the relaunch of Books and Books.
I was feeling inspired in 2022. I was feeling the writer-fever and wanted to make this the year that I accomplished something… anything. I remembered when I felt most accomplished and focused on my goals, and it was when I was maintaining my own website: a place where I could share what I was reading, writing, and loving. That consistent weekly self-publishing and sharing kept me in my writer headspace. I took a break from it and learned that the second I veer from that weekly commitment is when I lose my rhythm. So I relaunched.
Deadlines help me. Over the course of this year, one thing that keeps my writing life charged is knowing that someone is out there reading what I post every week. Sharing is pointless if there is no one there to share with. Each week, I check my stats to see the names of the cities where my readers come from. And each week I see a little dot over Tampa. Hub’s aunt, Oma, our regular Walt Disney World companion and superfan of what I write, lives in Tampa. I always know that Oma is checking in.
And while I also see the names of cities I recognize where friends live, I am also charged when I see I get a reader from Montana, Rhode Island, or the middle of Texas. I have readers. They are expecting me to write something.
Without the weekly check-in, it would be so easy to slip into the everyday tasks of teaching, grading, parenting, and making excuses for not having the time to write.
And my system is working. Since the relaunch I have been able to:
Start a Writing Group for my students
Announce the publication date of my upcoming novel
Approve blog cover art
Relaunch my newsletter
Read 40 novels
Write 102 pages on my new novel
And take a trip to Disney World.
Please celebrate with me the one-year anniversary of this website! Reach out to me @brandibradleysboots on Instagram, @bebebradley on Twitter, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me which post was your favorite this year. It helps me understand what my audience wants for future posts, and also what posts others might enjoy as well.