Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Setting Priorities

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine. She’s a huge reader, I belief at last guess she had a thousand read books on her nook, and she’s always talked about writing a book. So being a good friend I offered to read anything she wanted or lend any advice I could during the process. We were talking about how I was going to find time to write during this huge transition in my day job. When I asked how she was coming on her writing. And her response to me was, “I don’t have time to write now, maybe when I retire.”

Now on principle, I’m not a big fan of that kind of thinking. I don’t ever want to wait to do something I love. Maybe I can’t do it the way I want (like writing fulltime, which right now I can’t do but have hopes to do in the future) but I can always make steps and strides towards what I want. My friend is probably fifteen years away from retirement. That’s an awful long time to wait.
But on top of that, I always find this excuse the funniest one I’ve ever heard. No one has time to write. I don’t have time to write. Which is why right now my sink is full of dishes, the kitty litter box is dirty and the clean laundry is piled up on a chair in the corner of my bedroom. And the house is downright clean compared to Nanowrimo time. Simply because I’ve prioritize my writing over other things, like cleaning and grocery shopping. You can always find time for something if you truly want it. Maybe you’ll have to give up some TV time or sleep, but it’s there if you are willing to adjust your priorities. And you can always find an excuse if that’s what you’re looking for.
There’s no magic solution to finding the time to write. I’ve been searching for years looking for that mystical hint and have never found it (if you have found that magic solution please leave it in the comments below. I must have missed that blog). I think it all depends on your needs, your life and your writing style.
But since I’m sure you want to know, here are a few tips I have for fitting writing into my everyday life.
1.      Sprints/writeordie.com – One of the problems I have is devoting my focus to writing. My focus is often split among all the other million tasks running through my mind. Sprinting with a friend for a specific period of time can force me to concentrate and get some serious word count and get me in the writing mood that can last all night. Writeordie.com can have the same effect.

2.      Escape from your surroundings – sometimes staying at home can be too distracting, even if I’m doing everything I can to push through the chaos. If I’m having trouble focusing at home, due to all the dirty dishes and laundry everywhere, I’ll go somewhere else, Starbucks, the local library, Barnes and Noble, to focus just on writing. Whether it’s the escape from the distractions at home or the social pressure of staring at a blank screen in public, a new environment always helps me get some serious words down.

3.      Keep your story list handy – on my desk and electronically I keep a list of all the stories I have planned or have a kernel of an idea to write and it gets me writing. Because I’ve got to get moving to make room for all the stories I have waiting on deck.

4.      Don’t beat yourself up – Try not to (key word try, its a lot harder to do than say) beat yourself up for not meeting a goal or an internal deadline. That only takes more time way from writing. Instead I try to appreciate what I can do and accept that I’m human and sometimes I just can’t work as hard as I’d like to.
In the end, finding time to write, or do anything you love, is all about setting priorities. No one has time to do everything, you need to set priorities and stick to them.
So what do you do to make time for yourself and to do what you love? What tips do you have for prioritizing? Let us know. Put them in the comments below. Maybe I’ll even pick up a new idea myself.

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Willa. :)