I’ve been thinking about something, or maybe around something, for a couple of years now. About the need to give one thing priority over the others in my list of things I want to do. Not stopping any of them, just making one the thing that gets the most time. But I haven’t been able to get myself to do it, because the thing I want to put at the top of the list isn’t writing, and somehow that makes me feel guilty.
But I’m ready to say it now. I don’t want to stop writing, but I want to put my writing on a lower rung than my teaching and coaching work. Why am I ready to say this now? I’m reading Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff.Â In Chapter 3, “Choose What to Bomb,” he says, “The only way to accomplish a new goal is to feed it your most valuable resource: time.” This followed on the heels of talk about how you really can’t do it all and all sorts of other good advice and good ideas. And I knew that I’ve been fooling myself by pretending that I can get a blog and website up and thriving while keeping my fiction writing my top priority.
So my goals are changing. Not really that much, all the same things are still on there for the most part, but they are changing. This is where I’m leaning right now:
- MuseCraft: write blog posts or copy at least twice a week; share things on social media at least twice a week.
- Writing: continue writing practice several times a week; work on flash fiction when time and interest converge; I want to see how it feels to just write for fun and brain clearing and not think about writing stories, finishing things, any of that.
- Making things: fit in time regularly, at least twice a week, to work on creative projects just for me.
I have other areas I’d like to work on. I’m not sure how they will fit in with my job plus trying to build up the blog and website and coaching business. But I’d like to have a clean and welcoming home. I’d like to go out and do things more; I let my pain and ongoing exhaustion and general ennui keep me at home and alone more than is good for me I think. I want to make clothes for myself.
I need to work on professional development hours for keeping my teaching license up to date, and I need to find a full time position. I want to do more photography. I need to have food more organized and easier so we have decent meals even when I’m tired.
Most of all, I need to find ways to make this all feel more organic. I’ve been feeling like my life is just checking things off my list. I get a lot of things done, but too often it doesn’t feel like it goes together. It’s just separate little check boxes, and I don’t like the way that feels. So a more amorphous goal is figuring out how to get things done without feeling like all I’m doing is moving from task to task. But for now, I am going to focus on getting things done while enjoying things more. As Jon Acuff says in Chapter 4, “Make It Fun If You Want It Done,” “Make sure there’s laughing and smiling involved with that thing you’re going to do.”
Well, as a teacher in my day job, I tend to make this a priority over writing obviously. It’s obvious for 2 reasons:
1- my real #1 priority is my family and my daughters need yo be fed, cleaned etc
2- I also love my “day job” and I want to do it well, which means writing has to come next.
Writing is as important to me but it can’t realistically be my priority for now. If it can take over my teaching job one day, great; if not, no problem. Maybe when I’m retired (not before 30 years at least…), but even then, I might have other things on my mind.
Accepting this takes off pressure from writing I suppose. And it doesn’t make you less of a writer!
What Julie said. Being a blogger is being a writer, writing a memoir or a journal (if you just want this to be for you alone) makes you a writer, and taking time of writing to focus on the things that really matter for you… still means you are a writer.
You’re a creative person, Kim, with a passion for expression in a multitude of forms. I’m not sure you’d ever be able to settle for being “just a writer”..And frankly, trying out the other crafts and ideas you’ve been simmering is probably the best way to make great fiction when you’re ready for it.
So while this is a not unexpected shift in focus, I think it’s an excellent one for you too.
Thank you, Eden. I think it’s an excellent shift in focus, too. As you know, I’ve been fighting against it for the past couple of years. For some reason, I had this idea that I had to keep “writer” at the top of the “who am I” list even when I wanted to be getting other things done. This moment of truth and opening my eyes is a good thing.
Follow what’s right for you. I have been on a writing hiatus for almost two years. I felt guilty at the beginning, but real life, including a new job, took priority. Now, I’m on a place I can start thinking about writing once again.
Good luck with your goals!
Thanks, Lila! I think things will be smoother now that I’m acknowledging that I can’t do all the things all at the same time.