I have lots of blogs I subscribe to. Sometimes I get to read them all. Sometimes I skim everything and vow to come back later and study them harder (note: never manage to actually DO it, but I keeping thinking that one day I might). Then there are those sites that I must read every day that they post. Kill Zone and Flogging the Quill are two of those. My newest favorite, though, is Kristen Lamb. Maybe you’ve noticed that I’ve quoted her a lot lately. There’s a reason. She’s speaking to me on exactly those things I need to hear. It’s like she’s living my life in her own house (except she’s got a toddler whereas mine are a bit older, and she’s got a published book whereas I… let’s not go there).
Today’s post is no exception (follow the link above to read it yourself). She talks about prioritizing, since we can’t possibly do EVERYTHING we want/need to do. Randy Ingermanson said the same thing in his newsletter today, so I got it twice in a row. If you’re alive and breathing, you simply can NOT do it all. You have to prioritize your wants and needs, then focus on those that are most important.
(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)
Take one look at my house and you’ll discover that housekeeping is not one of my priorities. The kids vacuum once a week. Sometimes the younger one dusts the piano, but that’s usually after someone else has graffitied every surface with an index finger. I manage to get enough laundry done to so no one wears the same pair of underwear three days in a row, but as all of you with boys know, wearing a T-shirt or a pair of shorts for two weeks straight without bothering to change into sleep clothing at night is a fairly common occurrence.
Beyond housework, there’s homeschooling the minions, cooking meals (and cleaning up afterwards–dishes rarely get left more than three days in a row, as we run out of cereal bowls), running errands (groceries are important to us all), writing, stitching, reading, playing computer games, and thousands of other things that randomly pop up (like mouse poop on the basement floor – that’s this week’s crisis). These things are all important to me. Most of them must get done. Yeah, the computer games can wait, but the mouse poop can’t. Neither can the grocery trip.
So where does writing fit into this hectic schedule? I have to shoe-horn it in. I have to plan my day so that “I ran out of time” can’t be my convenient excuse every day. My favorite excuse is “I’m not in the mood” but that excuse is slowly leaving as I put on my “professional big girl writing underpants” and no longer accept that reason for not doing any writing. I’ve tried to rigidly structure my day, as I really like organizing and scheduling, but I’ve found that having two boys pretty much negates all that hard work. So I’ve had to improvise.
Homeschooling cannot be skipped, so we do it right after breakfast. Getting it out of the way leaves the rest of the day open for other fun and necessary things. Once school is finished, the boys want to let their brains rest, so they play video games while I fill the rest of the morning with other housework: laundry, groceries, dishes, etc. Then the afternoons are mine for writing (usually). I get a solid three hours in before hubby comes home and I must be polite and talk to him. After that, it’s dinner prep, dinner clean-up, then TV time to rest with the family. (I usually use family TV time to stitch or read a book or play games on my iPad, but that drives hubby nuts, so I try to look up once in a while and make a comment about what’s on the TV screen).
While I know that’s riveting information that you couldn’t have lived without, I’m actually getting around to making a point. If you don’t pencil in an hour or two or six to do your writing, you might not be able to squeeze it in. I’m going to go out on a dangerous limb here and suggest that, if you aren’t making time to write at least twice a week, maybe writing isn’t your greatest love. We make time for those things we love the most. Just ask my hubby: if left alone, I’d spend all day, every day, either in front of my computer or in my comfy chair with a book in hand. I’d never interact with anyone (hubby included) and I’d waste away in fantasy-land, imagining new characters, new plot lines, new twists for new stories. I doubt I’m the only one on the planet with this problem, so I pose this question to you:
What is the thing you love to do the most, the thing you’d spend hours a day doing if you were allowed to (I’m assuming you had enough cash to pay for this thing you love, PLUS enough cash to pay a housecleaner, a sitter, a butler, and everyone else you’d need to do those tasks you’d otherwise be ignoring)?