THE DESK IN THE APARTMENT // CHICAGO — I had 12 unread emails in my inbox a few minutes ago.

Not anymore.

In 2013, I joined ThinkKit, a blog-a-day challenge for the month of December, and I loved it. I didn’t finish it within the 31 days, but I held onto the prompts, determined to respond to each one eventually. I wrapped things up in February(ish), but there are monthly prompts, too (for the non-December times), and by this December, I had only finished a few. For 2014, a similar thing happened: I started strong, fell out of rhythm, but left the prompts in my inbox (a big deal for me), promising to get through them all. The monthly prompts have started to come in.

What’s so important of finishing each one? Nothing, really. I just said I would.

I have a habit of doing this — keeping things on my to-do list for months, even years, because I committed to making them happen. I don’t think that’s an entirely unproductive thing, but I need to do a better job of deciding what’s worth pursuing and what isn’t. Five years of scrapbooking backlog? It’s not ideal, but those memories are worth preserving. I’ll get to it. Twelve unanswered writing prompts? Hmmm…

I really enjoy ThinkKit, and will likely participate in December 2015. I’ve wanted to write my overdue blog posts for months. At least, I thought I did.

Today, I had an idea for a blog post — one I came up with on my own, not via ThinkKit — and I told myself, “Oh I’ll do that after I finish ThinkKit.”

Wait, what? Why? No one cares if I finish ThinkKit or not. In fact, I spent weeks mulling over ideas for my most recent ThinkKit post, only to finish it begrudgingly. There’s nothing at stake with these prompts, so why did I feel the need to force myself to finish?

Then I had what might be the most pathetic eureka moment ever: I don’t have to do this.

I didn’t delete the emails, but I marked them as read and moved them into a new folder in my email, labeled “writing things.” If I’m ever looking for a writing idea, I have a place to look for one.

My, how liberating that was. Now there’s nothing holding me back from blogging about whatever strikes me — other than the usual things, like time constraints, but whatever. Let me have my moment of clarity.

We all have obligations to meet, and sure, that makes life tiring, but we have a lot of control over how we spend our time, too. Let’s do happy things with it.

{image: no longer what my inbox looks like. (not pictured: several other unanswered writing prompts.)}


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