Yup. I’ve been feeling kind of frustrated.
This month, I decided to do a check-in on my intentions for 2018, and it turns out I’m doing okay-but-far-from-great.
These were my 2018 intentions, numbered:
- Write consistently.
- Be intentional with all my actions and my choices.
- Choose self-care over angst.
The intention I am MOST frustrated about is #2. It’s been extremely difficult to maintain a consistent writing routine, mostly because of the responsibilities and stresses of everyday work and family life. Oh, how I wish I could quit my day job and magically conjure up an employor who would pay me a decent salary + benefits to write fiction! But, c’est la vie.
Since I don’t have magical powers (and if my son has them, they haven’t emerged yet), I decided that there were a few things I needed to figure out to make a writing routine workable and sustainable.
- How do I keep writing even when my house is a mess?
- How do I keep writing even when life is chaotic or (more problematic) emotionally exhausting?
- When can I write?
- What do I need in order to be able to write?
I’ve been meditating on these questions for a few days now. I’ve zeroed in on my writing time – during nap on days when I’m home with Teddy, after bedtime on all other days – and I’m contemplating what I really need to be able to write. (First of all, I need to prioritize writing time over cleaning time. Cleaning is dumb. It’s never finished. My writing is way more important for my mental health than the dishes in my sink.)
The “emotionally exhausted” question is the hardest to answer. It’s really, really hard for me to maintain my writing routine when I am wiped and feeling terrible about myself. I’m hoping that making my writing routine regular and non-optional will help with this – especially if I decide that even just sitting at the computer for five minutes and browsing through drafted posts or inspiring articles is enough to *count* as my writing practice. I do this with meditation; sometimes, I only sit to meditate for literally one minute. But it’s better than zero minutes, and it helps me keep the habit.
Thinking about making writing a priority reminds me of the book that originally inspired this blog – Stan Covey’s children’s book, The Seven Habits Of Happy Kids, which includes a story about each of these habits:
- Be proactive.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Put first things first.
- Think win-win.
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Sharpen the saw.
Usually the habit I focus on most is #7, which is all about balance. But today, I’m recommitting to #3. You can’t do EVERYTHING – you have to set priorities. Writing is a huge priority for me. FIRST THINGS FIRST.