Spinning Plates and How to Drop Them
I used to publish something almost every day. Recently, however, I’ve been keeping quiet.
Long story short, I was trying to spin too many plates at once. I had to put some down so that I didn’t end up dropping everything.
I know my limits, and unfortunately for Medium, I have other writing that is more important to me.
I picked up more at the beginning of this year than I did last year, and it should’ve been fine.
It was fine until it wasn’t anymore.
It wasn’t that my workload became unbearable; it was just a combination of seasonal depression and a lot of university assignments in one month.
So I chose myself over posting writing advice.
To get through the last week or so, I had to put down some of my plates. I decided to value myself and my future over my current income stream.
What would have happened if I didn’t put down plates?
Have you ever dropped something in a kitchen while cooking?
There really couldn’t be a worse moment, glass shatters everywhere and you’re standing in the middle of it, trying to figure out how to get to your brush. If you’re lucky, you’re wearing slippers, if not well, better find the first aid kit too!
Let’s take this analogy a step further, let’s say your cooking something and glass goes into the dish. You have to start again. Or if the glass doesn’t go into the dish, you spend so long trying to get to the brush that your food burns on the stovetop.
So now you have two choices, try and salvage a dish that is burning or try and fish out the glass from your food. Neither sounds particularly appealing to me.
I dropped a dish like this a few years ago, and it set me back a few months.
At this point in my life, I know myself well enough to put down the dishes that I can’t balance. It takes me less time to pick back up the dishes that I set down than sweeping the floor, recooking the dinner and bandaging my wounded foot.
How to choose a dish.
Chances are you’ve got a few things going on in your life that all seem important to you. Me?
- Writing on Medium
- Full-time university
- Writing a novel
- Keeping a home
- Roller derby
- Keeping myself, my husband and my dog alive.
Not so much, but there is a lot of writing on that list. The big hidden writing factor is university. I’m doing a creative writing and English literature course, which is a long way of saying that all of my assignments are essays. So when I say that I have three this month, that basically means a whole ton of writing.
I had to set down a few plates.
I’ll pick them up again when things quieten down but deciding which projects to put on hold is tricky.
There are a few on there that I, unfortunately, can’t give up, like keeping a home or my family alive. So those had to stay there. Roller derby is something that benefits my mental and physical health and only takes up weekends and evenings, so I wanted that to stay too. So I had to set down my writing.
Setting down writing was painful.
I set down the novel first. I thought that I could keep publishing on Medium and in the summer months when university was out, I could catch up on my novel.
Setting down the book wasn’t enough.
I had to let go of Medium too. These university essays brought a new learning curve that absorbed most of my time. Letting go of Medium and my track record on here was one of the hardest things I could do. I was letting go of income, of followers, and of some growth potential that recently came out of nowhere.
I had to let go of all of those things so that I didn’t lose them for longer than necessary.
I’m still in the middle of spinning plates at the moment, but I needed to write something for me, and university papers don’t allow me to do that this time. You might not see me for another week or two. You might see me tomorrow. Depends on how well today goes, I suppose. I’m one essay down, two to go.
Please put down plates.
I’m not your mother, and I understand that we are in a world that values putting in ridiculous working hours, but I would like to encourage you to take a moment to consider putting down a few plates. Especially if you feel as though you’re under a lot of pressure
It doesn’t have to be forever.
There is no shame in setting something aside for later. Remember that you are your most important resource. If you hurt yourself or set yourself back, it will only add more stress to your life.
Take a moment and consider the spinning plates in your life, which one can you set aside for now?
As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf!