We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
John F. Kennedy, Address to Rice University, September 12, 1962
Funny how my last post was about quitting and then I disappear for a week and a half. But even though it may look like I quit, I haven’t. I’ve just been busy with life.
Wednesdays seem near impossible for me to blog (as do Sundays). Those definitely seem to be the busiest days of the week for me. I’d like to say that I can blog the day before and schedule the posts, but that never seems to happen either. Every Saturday and Tuesday I get busy with other things, like catching up on the week’s chores or writing, and putting off the blogging because, after all, I still have a day.
If I’m truly honest with myself, my writing life is much the same way.
To be a writer, you must be self-motivated. Unless you always write on a deadline (and I suppose there are those writers out there, too), then you have to be motivated to write even when there is no deadline in sight. Especially at the beginning, there is no one telling you that you must write: it is an option, a hobby, an amusement.
Life gets so busy that it is easy to focus on the wrong things. It is up to you (the writer) to decide what gets your number one priority.
For most writers, this is not going to be writing. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Even if writing is your full-time job, other things take priority. Family, friends, and God are examples of things that often come prior to career.
As I read RoW80er’s blogs throughout the weeks, the goals vary from meeting daily word counts to completing a new knitting project. Not one goal is better than the other; it comes down to a person’s personal priorities.
As readers of my blog will probably remember, this year I have begun a journal where I list my weekly “to-dos” and break them up over the week in a day-by-day list. By writing them under the day, I am allowed to cross them off, I remind myself to keep on task, and I remember my ambitions on a daily basis. Even something so simple as “vacuum” or “dust” or, on a really low day, “feed dog,” can be crossed off and adds to my relief that the day wasn’t a total waste. (Even the simplest accomplishments should be celebrated some days!) I love crossing things off the list. Even on those days when writing doesn’t happen, it gives me a chance to feel accomplished.
I like doing this with a physical journal because I like the physical act of using a pen to cross off items from my list.
Something I have yet to formally do is to prioritize these lists. Why bother? you may ask. Well…prioritizing makes a difference. Each person has a finite amount of time to their day. And we all have demands upon our time. Some of those are mundane demands, such as eating, sleeping, and working. But other demands are more “optional,” such as cleaning the house, watching TV, exercising, etc.
Does prioritizing my list make a difference? Well, I’m not sure.
It’s easy to say one thing is my number one priority, but if I actually sit down to do it, that may not be the thing I do first, or the thing I spend the most time on. For example, if my bible study is number one, and writing is number two, I may not get to it until after a load or two of laundry because I cannot write or study my bible until the baby goes to sleep, but I can do laundry while he’s awake. The important thing to remember is to do them. What this really means it hat my child is number one.
If you want to be accomplished at something, you have to put in the effort and make it priority.
Things to consider:
1. Be realistic.
There is nothing I find more discouraging about making goals than finding out that I have made an unrealistic goal and fail to meet it. If I fail at a goal, it is only discouraging if I never had a chance to accomplish that goal in the first place. But failing at a goal that was within my means teaches me something. Failure of a goal teaches me to reorient myself and to double check my priorities and my time management.
2. Keep your goals in mind, both long term and short term.
You cannot accomplish your goals if you don’t have them in mind throughout the day, or revisit them on a regular basis.
For example, I would love to be fluent in the Latin language. However, it’s a goal that I don’t spend nearly enough time on in the short term to gain the long term goal. But is this goal important enough to take over my writing time? What about family time?
3. Be honest with yourself.
How important is this goal you’ve made? Are you willing to sacrifice to meet it?
4. How often (and what) are you willing to sacrifice?
How much time during the day or week do you have to commit to this goal? How much time is it worth? These are serious questions that every writer has to consider at some point in order to achieve their goals. If they are a serious writer, that is.
Achieving any goal requires sacrifice. Writing is an activity much like playing the piano or playing soccer. It requires practice and many many hours to become proficient.
5. How quickly do you want to see results?
Is this a one-year plan or a ten-year plan? Plan your time accordingly.
6. What time of day are you most productive during?
This step may take a bit of research into your schedule. If you are blessed enough to have an open calendar, then track how you spend your time and when you seem to accomplish the most. Then ask yourself if you can write during that time.
All this comes down to this: we each have a finite amount of time in the day. Einstein had the same 24 hours ina day that we have. Manage your time wisely.
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