Fear of Commitment

If I’ve got a motto for 2018 I think it’s gonna be commit. I feel like I’m behind on everything and I have a ton of things I want to do but haven’t. I spent December working on a single project, a possibles bag for my magical kit, and while I did work on a few other small projects, coming back to this one again and again until it was done was fucking magical.

Last year when I decided to do it anyway, I got a little carried away. I said yes… a lot. To a lot of things. Over and over. It was awesome – I got some new opportunities at work and I tried new crafts and new things. And I didn’t finish all of them, which is okay! But I got really distracted, and I found myself feeling like I wasn’t actually doing anything, and that was less okay.

Follow through is hard, but it’s necessary.

To that end, I’m limiting myself to two of the many, many challenges that start at the beginning of the calendar year. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I have no writing goal or commitment. I gave myself permission to stop banging my head against the wall after NaNo and I haven’t figured out what to pick back up yet.

Instead on the storytelling front, my only commitment will be #BeatTheBacklist. I’ve got a ton of books in my ebook libraries that I haven’t read yet, including some magic books I very much want to get to, as well as a fair-sized stack of physical (mostly craft) books just waiting to be read. I’m hoping for a book a week from the TBR Swamp, and we’ll see as we go if that needs to be adjusted up or down. (Maybe I’ll do short reviews here even! We’ll see.)

The only other thing I’m taking on is a meditation/shadow work course Tommie Kelly of Adventures in Woo Woo is offering through his Patreon. Meditation is definitely a thing I benefited from when I was doing it regularly, but I’ve let it lapse, so this is as good a reminder as any to rebuild that habit. I did a bit of guided meditation looking for someone to be a guide and got myself led to Luke Skywalker, thanks astral plane, so clearly there’s work to be done.

Keeping it simple, and doing my best to make it work, are the plan for this year.

Writing for Mara

I’ve flirted with, and even started working on, 30 Days of a Pagan Topic lists before. This one was supposed to be inspired by the 30 Days of Deity Devotion but I was only a few days in when I ran into topics that didn’t interest me or apply. Frankly, this always happens when I try to do a meme like this. Rather than let myself lose momentum, I just kept writing about other things.

There were many times I sat down to write once the baby was asleep and asked myself, well, what tonight? I didn’t plan the exercise as a whole very thoroughly. And yet, every night I wrote something. Sometimes a scene came to me quite clearly, with almost no prompting. I consider that a sign that Mara was watching and approved enough to tell me what to write.

The rapid posting schedule was a stretch for me, especially coupled with the topic limit. I have other notes on Adalric, Vala, and others that I didn’t develop at the time because they were not Mara-centered. Hopefully they will make it out of my notes soon enough.

There was more listening involved than I’d expected. My understanding of Mara and how to work with her shifted quite a bit over the month. Her relationships with Brhenti and the Forest Mother were entirely new to me, as was the structure of the Our Lady of the Market franchise temples. Darja and Egle are new characters, with very different relationships and understandings of Mara. I feel like I have enough new material to chew on for another month.

Overall, as an exercise, it was a great way to unstick myself. Chewing over the same topics relentlessly, turning my mind to Mara day after day, worked well to bring my attention to details I hadn’t noticed before and to shake loose assumptions I didn’t know I had. It’s definitely worth trying if you feel yourself in a similar place.