14 January 2015

The back of the closet

Last week I wrote about one of the major reasons I fail to get writing done, namely that I try to swallow the whole ocean in one gulp, become paralyzed by my inability to do so, and in my enthusiasm to get everything done NOW, manage to get nothing done.

Another habit I'm trying to break is shoving writing time to the back of the closet. I'm really good at getting work done for other people, but not so good at reserving time and energy to work on my own writing. Up until about a year ago, I'd consistently save writing for the end of the day and was often too drained to give it very much effort. My fix for that was to make my first block of work time each day writing time.

But last week I fell into the trap once again. I stayed up super late reading on Tuesday night, and as a result, Wednesday morning was shot. What do you think I shoved to the back of the closet? Was it blogging? Marketing work? No. It was writing. Again. 

One of my coaching clients suffers from the same syndrome. Her fix: a New Year's resolution that she will put her work first, even if it means failing other people. So far it's working well for her. She's getting her work done, feeling more inspired as a result, and she hasn't let anybody down.

My theory about why that is? Devoting time and energy to our own writing actually feeds us. It excites us, replenishes our energy and helps us think more clearly because we're getting the ideas out of our heads and onto paper (so to speak). When we take care of ourselves first, it's easier to be available to other people.

Photo by Rick Campbell
So why do I fail to make writing my top priority? Obviously it's important to me to follow through on my commitments to others - and I do - but when I look at writing in terms of my long-term goals in life, it's actually really important for me to show up to it. If not every day, at least on a regular basis.

Does this sound like you? Then it's time to make some decisions. How important is writing in your life? Is it worth turning down paying work? Is it worth saving some of the time during the day when you're at peak performance (clearest thinking, most energy)? Is it worth getting less sleep? Is it worth giving up your favorite TV shows? Giving up your lunch break? Skipping date night every other week?

I'm not advocating for any particular answers here; we all have different priorities in our lives - and at different times in our lives - and what's right for me won't necessarily be right for you. The important thing is to understand where writing fits into your list of priorities and be okay with it. It's important to know that the writing's not getting done because you chose not to do it in favor of more important things, not because you forgot or ran out of time or energy.

No comments:

Post a Comment