Pressing on To Meet our Goals
by Ruth Bonetti
Procrastination – let me count some ways:
Day Job (as in, don’t give up...)
I’m grateful that teaching music has allowed ongoing income, where others have gnawed fingernails in an uncertain 2020. Ouch, the challenge to conquer technology platforms and teach online. I progressed from “Moi? Tech and I are incompatible!” to “OK, work is bread and butter.” Each day/week/month/term I grew confidence, skills, tricks. Brain exhausted. But jubilant that I could communicate in another way.
Online, I was welcomed into homes, met dogs, cats, goats, fish–and parents. Some thrived with parents at their elbows, reinforcing. One girl logged in from her vista on a Noosa beach.
(Memo: time for down-time!)
A lad appeared with a box on his head. Students emailed photos of playing Last Post in driveways.
Dear readers, I survived the year. Now it's time for writing. Flick switch in head. Clunk.
Are my ideas useful, words worth reading? WORSE. Meet its ugly sister:
It’s so hard to get a book published, to find an agent. OK, self-publish.
I’m a shy introvert, I hate marketing! People must think I’m always pushing my barrow, blowing my trumpet in their face.
It’s HARD to tempt people to buy a book. Let alone write a review.
My last book burned me out. I’m a resting author.
Without Vision the people perish.
Without Vision the writers languish.
Set Sensible Goals
Mid-year (and what a year it was!) I announced I would publish Book 3 of my Midnight Sun to Southern Cross saga in October. Que? Crazy.
Plus, a children’s musical story is underway. (Um, I’m a musician but a less confident composer).
Committing to another book, St Lucia and the Art Deco Mansion: What drove the man who built it? cranked me from stationary lethargy into first gear. My revised goal is early 2021. February?
Because music teaching dries up in December-January (as do incomes) I have time – and NO excuses – to hone, polish, finesse.
Set do-able goals
Last week a reputable publisher offered an online pitch for children’s book submissions. After wasting time in a new-genre funk, the deadline approached and whoosh! Write, rewrite, cull, revise, rewrite, edit, run past supportive writing buddies (thanks, Jeanette O’Hagan and Debbie Terranova!), rethink, rewrite, prune to word count, edit, proof. Press SUBMIT!
Eyes blurred, dry yet watery, muscles creak, RSI wrist.
I met the goal!
A picture book will grow into a musical story. I’m heartened to see a need for social-distanced, small-ensemble performances, as in There’s a Sea in My Bedroom. A when-the-time-is-right-later goal.
Way-Out-of-Comfort-Zone Goals/ What’s-to-Lose Goals
While at university, John Curro, conductor of Queensland Youth Orchestra, sees that I need a challenge. The Copland concerto is virtuosic but also allows me to express the instrument’s singing tone and lyricism. There are altissimo register and jazzy syncopated rhythms to conquer. And John knows that I will enjoy exploiting its introvert and extrovert qualities.
‘Because the next round performance is two weeks away and I have not learned, let alone played, the Copland.’
‘There’s nothing to lose. You can fall back on Weber. Just do it.’
How I practise. Never have I worked so. I climb a technical Mount Everest; slay dragons of my weaknesses; my rhythmic vagaries are drilled into precision, altissimo register runs conquered. Day and night for a month I live, work, sleep and finally surmount the Copland Concerto. My performance with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra is already a triumph; there is no apprehension about winning—I did so already. This is my moment, charged with electricity. I shine, ecstatic.
Last year, the day of my students’ concert, “Big JC” was elevated to conduct celestial orchestras. I dedicated to him their performance of a seat-of-pants Boogie. Did they nail all the notes in the right places? No. Was it a riveting performance? Did they learn improv? Do they now welcome challenges?
It’s time to stretch my writing muscle.
What goals haunt the too-hard section of your mind and heart?
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NRSV)
St Paul didn’t always know where he was heading, but trusted God’s driving directions.
Ruth Bonetti feels she's written all she can say (famous last words?) about her fields of music, performance and pedagogy. She's nearly done with award-winning historical biography/memoir. Her grandchildren inspire new horizons of children's picture books.
Memo to self: a blog is ages overdue.