Learning To Be Selfish...Again
As I'm sure the length of time between updates and entries probably indicates, I'm still struggling with time issues. I keep trying to find more time, but even when I do, it almost always gets eaten up by something else. Balance has always been hard for me, but this past year or so, just plain old management has become difficult. I've been trying to figure out how published authors manage all the basics (you know, taking care of house and home, kids, maybe a job) plus writing plus promotion plus touring (if they're so lucky). I know time is there, it's just so tiny, it's hard to decide what to do other than what comes up at the time.
The one thing I'm learning to do now, though, is to be selfish about writing time. Once the workout is done, once the basic household chores planned for the day are done, sometimes once dinner and dishes are out of the way (depending on how late it is), the first thing I do is write. Now, that may not sound selfish, but with a disabled son and my own health issues in play from being overweight, those are the basic things I have to get done in a day (though, depending on what it is and how late it is, a planned housecleaning task might get pushed to the following week). Even published writers have the minimum they need to get done in a day.
But once they're done, I aim for 500 words minimum, though I usually end up with more. Regardless, it's only once I hit that 500 minimum that I can move on to other things, whether it's a crit for Dreaming In Ink or web work or whatever. As a result, my word counts are moving back up. By mid-June, before instituting this little bit of selfishness, I had barely made it over 45,000 words for the year (by comparison, last year I had over 257,000 for the year, though that was down from the previous year's 489,000 words). Last week I crossed the 100,000 mark for the year (just over 102,000, as a matter of fact). Even better, the writerly juices are flowing. I've got a lot of stuff to work out in several novels, and while I'm still trying to sort those out, new ideas are starting to flow.
Writers have to be selfish of their writing time. I know this. There are times when I have to let it slide, but when I keep letting it slide, I always wonder what the heck I was thinking when I get back to it. When writers come to me and say they haven't been writing, they just haven't been able to find the time, I tell them it's not about finding time, it's about making time. To lose weight, we have to make time to exercise. We have to make time to eat healthier. And if it's important to us, we will make the time and do it. The same goes for writing: if it's important, I'll make time to do it. And writing is important to me. To make the time, I have to be selfish. I have to let the crits and things I do for others go, I have to let the website go, I have to let all the other 1001 distractions in my day go. I have to be selfish and make my daily appointment to reach 500 words.
I've enjoyed getting back into my writing groove. Now I just need to stop feeling guilty about all the things I don't do when I sit down to write. Learning that will probably be a little harder.
Life & Writing