9 Truths For A Writer’s Soul: Priorities

Has anyone ever sat down, fully intending to have an awesome writing session, and managed to get absolutely nothing done?

I have.

In fact, it happens more often than I would like to admit. I am the queen of procrastination. I can sit down, open up my Scrivener document (because Scrivener is the best and I love them every day) and then find two hundred and twelve tasks that need my attention right at that moment.

And thus my story withers away, watered with good intentions and distracted glances.

Except it hasn’t. I’ve managed over the years to occasionally get my grasshopper brain to actually sit down to a writing session and shut up long enough to get a few thousand words out. It’s very nearly a miracle.

What I’ve discovered is this:

There will always be another load of laundry.

Writer, things pile up. Life happens, and it really doesn’t stop happening. Ever. One task leads into the next, and before you know it the light’s gone, you’re so tired that you can’t keep your eyes open, and your alarm is set way too early tomorrow morning.

Life. Happens.

But, writer, it doesn’t have to steamroll your writing. Not if you’re intentional about it.

My Experience

It took me years to figure out that I could say ‘no’ to things. Parties I didn’t want to go to. Jobs that people offered me. Even college classes that people were sure I ‘needed’. Everyone had an opinion on what I should be doing with my time, and as a people pleaser, I was always quick to agree with them.

But a job at Walmart didn’t push me forward in my career, whereas a nanny job—which offered no consistent hours, no work experience, and no benefits—gave me the time I needed to write.

Writing classes would have been wonderful . . . but actually taking the time to write was more important to me and to my books.

Socializing and cultivating relationships is absolutely a priority for me . . . but not at a party. Because I’m an introvert, and in order to really connect with someone, I like to be one-on-one in a coffee shop, or at home on my couch with a cup of tea.

Writer, it took me so, so long to stop feeling guilty for saying no when someone else wanted me to say yes. But I did it. Over and over again, because I knew my priorities and I knew where I wanted to end up.

So I chose my writing. I chose it over a stable job, over college credits, and over a social life that most people would chase after.

And I have never once, in all the years I’ve been writing, regretted it.

Four Tips To Apply It In Your Own Life

1. You can’t do everything. Say no. Practice saying no, even when you feel guilty about it. Even when people try to guilt-trip you into saying yes. (Because they will.) Value the people in your life, treasure them, be there if they need you. But have boundaries and stick to them.

2. Know your priorities. What are you after in your life and in your writing? What is most important to you? You need to know that, especially if you’re trying to set boundaries for your writing and don’t know when to say no and when to bend a little. Sit down and dream a little. Where would you like to end up? What kind of person do you want to be?

3. Cultivate your lifestyle around those priorities. If you want time to write, set a time you want to write and defend it ruthlessly. Let people know you are not available during these times. If you had work in the evenings, would you let your friend pressure you into a night on the town? Of course not. If you want writing to be a priority, then treat it as one. If it is the last thing on your list, it will probably never get done.

4. Let the laundry sit for an hour. Or the dishes. Let your floor be a little dusty. You will always have time for cleaning and it will always be there waiting for you to take care of it. So take an hour, and let the laundry sit for now. Your stories are important too.

Good luck, dearest writer! May your tea be hot and your dreams wild.

Was this post helpful to you? Tell me about it in the comments, and drop in any tips of your own! I would love to hear about it.

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