Chewable Portions

Recently I was drawn to a post on Problogger with the awesome headline of “How to Write a Year’s Worth of Posts in 30 Days“. How could I not be lured in?!?!??!

The post was about was changing the National Novel Writing Month challenge that is held each November to suit bloggers. The idea was simply elegant: making a series of 750 posts instead of one big piece totaling the requisite 50,000 words.  I loved the idea (especially that the daunting task made my chest a bit tight yet still seemed almost do-able) and was ready to jump into it!!!

Tammy Perched on a Rock Ready to Jump

I had a great conversation with Topaz of “Be a Leading Lady” about it, and that is when I realized that while I could probably do it, it would be insane! November is so filled with activities that I am looking forward to: joining a new to me book club, writing personal letters in all my holiday cards, and my cherished Red Cross training sessions … plus my mom will be in town for ten days, there are three birthdays, Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Why decrease my enjoyment of those activities by adding in something that is scary in a “normal” month? Why bite off more than I chew?

That is when I realized, if I’m morphing the concept anyway, why not move it to a better-for-me month?


My shoulders lowered and my inner peace returned.

Because of my tendencies to both see things as all or nothing and to jump at things that sound interesting, I have crashed and burned with many activities because I simply didn’t have enough spare time to do them at the level I felt they should be performed. I’m sure I would have stuck with some of them if I had been more flexible in terms of my expectations. For instance, as I was getting my A level in French I realized what would be involved in becoming fluent was much more than I had an interest in giving to it. So after my final exams, I dropped it cold. I could have given it an hour or two a week to listen to an online French program or read a “le Monde” article to maintain some of my abilities, but a partial solution did not dawn on me as an option.

Wow, I’ve learned a new trick!

How have you been able to avoid the “all or nothing” trap? or What are some of your favorite activities that come up this time of year?

8 thoughts on “Chewable Portions”

  1. Tammy,

    I always seem to take a ping-pong approach to interests. Jumping and bouncing here and there and weak on the finishing. I’ve really just recently learned to focus and finish chewing what’s in my mouth (to use your metaphor here) before shoving in another piece of whatever. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year for that very reason. I’ve got a completed manuscript I need to tweak and refine, so many posts I want to do for my blog, and like you, all those holiday events coming up (although yours, wow! they trump my November calendar). Whew – you’re going to be busy – but isn’t busy with things like christmas correspondence, a mom’s visit, a new book club (don’t you love those) and red cross training (good for you!) a nice kind of busy to be? Thanks for the reminder to take things at our pace, to do things when it works for us, you know, when we can. I’ve always loved the name of your blog. And look how grown up you are. Glad you’re sharing the “now what” part with your readers.


    1. Barbara,

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      For me, my “jumps” can sometimes make me feel like I’m in a pinball machine, not knowing if the paddles of continuing interest are going to keep me in the game or if they’ll be distracted by a different ball and let me go. From your comment, it seems like you understand that sensation.

      Good luck with fine tuning your book, those WONDERFUL blog posts, and keeping your sanity in the holiday season. 🙂



  2. I find when others are involved in my plans, it really helps keep me engaged. Like in Women Give where I carpool to events and meetings with other people or have joined committees with annual responsibilities like grantmaking. 🙂


    1. Amy,

      Like you, if I’m committed to others, I will definitely go, especially if I feel the cause is worthwhile. The bonus of carpooling is the time spent away from the activity with fellow participants.

      How wonderful that you enjoy your day job enough to want to volunteer in the same field!



  3. Squeal!!!! I’m so excited you decided to do it, too!

    I can so relate, Tammy! I wrote a similar post on this. I didn’t put this part in it, but I started the project 365 for taking a picture a day. I forgot one day by like one hour and felt like I failed, so I quit. hahaha I know. It’s crazy. I modified mine and put a low number (500 words a day), so that I wouldn’t feel like a failure if I didn’t come close to 50,000 words a month. Plus putting a low number down inspires my desire to overachieve…when I actually do not quit. Doing it daily is the hard part for me. I’m hoping that the I realize in my head that the daily goals are just to keep me on my target goal and not set in stone as long as I get my monthly goal. I hope.

    I’m also keeping track of them in my sidebar.I’m adding links to my blog post on the challenge. I’m adding those who are doing this to my blog post. I will go back an add a link to you!



    1. It’s looking like March is going to be my month. I will write a blog post a day each day for the entire month. Taking the advice from the ProBlogger article, I will not be doing editing during that time, just rough drafts. That makes it sound so much more do-able, and having 31 all but final editing and pictures inserted blog posts in the can will take such a weight off my shoulders!!!

      I know how easy it is to quit when a goal is missed. I figure, that any work I get done during that time will be a HUGE help to me later on.

      You are a fellow over-achiever! The desire to over perform is strong in me as well, but only possible if it is an achievable goal to start with!

      Good luck on your writing quest!


  4. I tried NaNoWriMo and lasted about three days when I realised there are far too many commitments in November for me as well! So then I tried Script Frenzy, the one that happens in April. I did it (yes! I actually did it!) but my family life suffered a bit and the script was a very very rough draft!

    I love Problogger but I think some of the ideas are simply a little too much about catching our attention and not enough practical use. What I really did like was somewhere I saw that Darren Rowse writes all his posts for the coming week on one day, freeing up the rest of the week for everything else. I think that’s a great plan.

    Good for you for allowing yourself enough space to think of the best option for your life!


    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for the advice. I will try to stay aware of the affects this type of commitment might have on others as well. I’m ashamed to admit that once I set a goal like this I tend to get tunnel vision and get sooooooo goal oriented.

      It is excellent advice for designating a specific time to do a week’s worth of post. I don’t know if it would be workable for me, but I see the logic in it.

      I hope you get some wonderful suggestions from the survey on your site. I hope you will be sharing the types of results you get in a later post.


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