Jill of All Trades

I’m a dabbler by habit. I’ll walk down the street, read a magazine, talk to a friend or watch a movie and be struck by some activity and think that I immediately need to try it.

If you were to look in my garage you’d find a dazzling array of interests I’ve dabbled in over the years: surfing, snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking and on and on. I’ve loved each of these activities and in fact, I will, on occasion, grab my board and hit the ocean for an evening glass session (like I did last night before the overhead (6’+) waves kept my feet firmly tucked into the damp sand by the water’s edge).

The only problem with such active endeavors?

Time and energy. Oh, and money if you want to add that to the list. With so many competing interests and a finite amount of free time outside the 40-hour work week, I need to be smart about how I spend my time. I want to spend a good portion of it with loved ones, friends and family, but what happens when you want to achieve personal goals you’ve set for yourself?

Enter the SheROX triathlon. I had started a new job, a job that afforded me a saner work schedule minus a 4-hour daily commute. I had all the free time in the world (or so it seemed). And shockingly, I didn’t hesitate a moment in filling it all up. Not to mention, I went from working out on the weekends or when I could fit it in, to adhering to a fairly rigorous 12-week training program. That meant saying no to:

  • Surfing. I tried to rationalize the paddling as swim training, but quickly realized that any sort of surfing injury could put an end to my triathlon dream, which brought with it a significant financial investment.
  • Roller derby. A glimmer in my eye that came about when I met a new friend who herself was a Red Bank Roller Vixen and assured me that I too could be a Vixen in no time, no skating skills required. But the investment in skates at over $100 and potential injury stopped me before I could come up with a stellar derby name.
  • Rock climbing. I stumbled across my harness and shoes and found a local climbing gym a few weekends ago. To say the thought crossed my mind was an understatement.
  • Writing. What’s that now?

That’s right. Funny, especially since my New Year’s Resolution and reason for starting this blog was to get back into writing and slowly dip a toe into the freelance writing water to see if I could make a go of it as a career. But thanks to triathlon training, I had backed myself into a schedule that left little free time to write. And let’s face it, I’ve read enough about writing over the years to know that if you don’t write you won’t get better and you definitely can’t call yourself a writer if you rarely put pen to paper, fingertip to key.

This light-bulb moment was illuminated by my life coach. In helping me construct a plan to get me writing more, it was Iliana who listened to me rattle off hobbies and what I wanted to take up next, when she gently asked, “So Erin, when do you find time to write?” Her words stopped me in the throes of my rock climbing spiel. I quietly recounted a typical day in my head: all things I had to do, wanted to do and how I prioritized it all. My response?

“I typically write at the end of the day when I’ve accomplished everything else. That is, if there is anytime left.” Uh-oh.

Enter light bulb above head.

So here I sit, on a NJ Transit train bound for Red Bank. I have successfully completed my first triathlon and a new training program sits before me, one where I am training myself to write consistently. And to help, my coach has given me a writing challenge for the next two weeks: write one hour before work, one hour after work AND one hour during my lunch break (confession: as a former PR agency girl who never takes a lunch this one FREAKS me out).

I’m looking forward to seeing what these next two weeks will yield. I’m hoping to glean some insights into writing, see my skills improve and come out of it with a story idea or two. And with that, day four is now complete.

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4 thoughts on “Jill of All Trades

  1. I’m looking forward to hear how your 2 weeks of writing ended up going. I’ve been trying to write during my lunch break (forcing myself to go!) but it’s tough because just when I get going I have to stop. But perhaps some is better than none?

    • Thanks Chris! Truth be told, there have been a few times when I’ve been on a roll and had to stop, so I just quickly jot down some of the thoughts that I don’t want to forget (Evernote is great for that). It’s been a great exercise in breaking out of my belief that writing needs to come from divine inspiration and if I don’t feel it then I shouldn’t write (which could be days, weeks even!). I still love when divine inspiration and the creative spirit makes an appearance, but I like breaking through my preconceived notions of what writing should look/feel like. Hopefully that makes sense!

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