I’m realizing how much power can come from making something “a priority” in your life. It causes you to look at everything you are spending your time on, weighing it out to decide if it is worth taking the time away from what you really want to be doing, thus causing you to look at all those things that take your time, and debate if they are worth it or not. At least, this has been my experience.
For a long time I hesitated in “making myself write” because I did not want my enjoyable pastime to become a chore. I did not write (fiction) unless I felt like it; I did not write unless the ideas flowed freely (or I was pretty convinced that they would if I got over that one obstacle). If a new story idea caught my interest I would quickly abandon the old. As for editing… editing was a thing I did rarely (outside of homework assignments for creative writing classes), because it wasn’t fun.
But this year I’ve had a renewed commitment to my writing. I’ve begun to step away from my fear of failing enough to be willing to try. This willingness to try has translated into allowing my writing to become my work, not my job (that’s the thing that pays the bills), but work nonetheless. Deserving of real time and attention. Even when I don’t necessarily feel like it.
I’ll never be the kind of person who writes X-words a day. I’ve tried, it doesn’t work for me. I work it bits and pieces instead, some days I’ll pound out thousands of words, others I’ll be lucky to get 5. But I know that I have to set aside SOME amount of time each week if I want to get things done, and I have to hold myself to that.
Which means occasionally having to say, “No” to things in order to make room for writing. It means keeping my writing in my mind when I make decisions. I have to sometimes be willing to prioritize my writing above other things.
These decisions are not always easy to make. I would love to fill my weekends with social time with friends, vegging-out at movies, baking and cooking, and perhaps even some cleaning. But if I do fill the weekends it means that I don’t have time to write, writing I need to do in order to make progress, and to stay on-top of my goals.
Would I like to jump to that project, or perhaps that other one, or oooh…shiny!? Yes… of course. But then other things get lost, and I never come to any real product.
Sometimes this means making challenging decisions. Deciding where I want to place my energy and focus, paying close attention to what my dreams and goals really are and how I can reach for them. Weighing the pro’s and con’s for any given opportunity and deciding if it is worth taking more time from my craft.
It’s frightening to make some of these decisions. I can’t help but wonder if I’m making a mistake, chasing a pipe-dream. Will I burn out in 6-months and find myself unable to push through? Will I look back in a year and regret passing-up some of the things that I have said “no” to?
It comes back, always, to trusting my gut, listening to myself, and being willing to face the true challenges of following my dreams.
I know many of my readers are writers themselves, but I am sure there are some who have other crafts and art-forms. What are some of the sacrifices you’ve made for your work? Do you still think it was worth it?
This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It is a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.