Three Steps to Prioritizing Your Writing


by Monique Hall

When I sat down to write this blog entry, it was going to have a different title. I started listing all the reasons why it’s been nine months since my last post, why I failed to cling on to the enthusiastic optimism I found at last year’s RWA conference and why I have not achieved even a tiny portion of the goals I set for myself.

And then I hit the delete key because I’m sick of listening to my own excuses, so why on earth would I want to bore you with them all. We all have shit going on and I need to get over myself. We both know it.

But, I will say that I’ve made a conscious decision: it’s time to make my writing a priority. It’s time to stop saying yes to things that will jeopardise the precious little writing time I do have. It’s time to put myself first.

Step one has been to create a list of writing-related tasks I want to achieve … sometime soon. I’m not going to set myself up for failure by being too strict on myself. Some of these tasks I can knock off fairly quickly, in fact, there’s already one item I can cross off the list. Others will take a little longer to complete and that’s okay. I will, however, give myself an absolute deadline to complete everything on my list by the end of the year.

Step two has involved making a promise to myself. I will spend 1-2 hours every day working towards completing these tasks. The beauty of this step is that, although all the tasks on my list are linked to writing, they are all quite varied. While one task is maintaining this blog, another is writing book recommendations, I have two courses I’m partway through completing and I also want to set up a small business. If today I don’t feel motivated to work on one task, I’ll move on to the one that most appeals to me at the time. Gradually, I’ll be able to domino my tasks (to borrow an analogy from the Barefoot Investor!).

Step three involves outlining a timeline for my new writing project… As writers, it’s so easy to get excited about what we’re working on that we just want to jump in feet first and get that manuscript out into the world. Yet, deep down we know it’s in everyone’s best interest if we start just by dipping a toe in first. Bucketloads of patience is what a writer needs! Only time will tell if the above approach is going to help me achieve a balance between work, life and writing. I hope you’ll keep your fingers crossed for me. And your toes if you think it will help!




Alternately titled “Time to Get Over Myself. Just Write!”

Guest post contributed by Monique Hall, a small town contemporary romance author. She enjoys feel-good movies and soppy romance novels with “happily-ever-afters.”

27 thoughts on “Three Steps to Prioritizing Your Writing

  1. I like this! I recently went through something similar. I was Whining about having to work full time and not having the time to write. Like you, I’ve made myself a promise to write at LEAST 1 hour a day.
    Good luck! We’re pulling for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Life gets in the way, yes. But, there are days when I get in my way. I Defeatist thoughts plague me and I pick up the TV remote instead of siting down at my laptop.
    “Bucketloads of patience” that’s the key 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I too wrote my last post 6 months back. The first 5 months were due to my exams and the last one month I’ve been procrastinating and having a blogger’s block. And so I decided to write daily. And I started my “One Year Improvement Program”. Kind of like your plan to improve. Good luck with your life and writing! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So very true! Your post is quite timely. I am going through a similar process. I tracked my activity this week so I could get a good look for pattern and trends. About 3/4’s into the week I then plotted my average week day out. Currently, I’m looking a larger blocks of time (say 1-3 hours). My goal is to see if I can carve out 4 hours each day to devote to writing (my next book, brainstorming future book projects, developing a timeline, plot outline and relevant research). I want to devote some time to my own professional development (both on the craft of writing and by exposure to other authors in my genre). Then I’m thinking about devoting the latter part of my day in pleasurable pursuits such as my craft work or my own pleasure reading. Once, I fine tune my schedule I think it will be a solid writing routine. So, many parts exist; they just need to be organized. Thanks for your timely post.


  5. I had the same epiphany. You just have to get to getting! I write a blog every day whether I feel like it or not. They’re not all good or great, but it is all practice and it keeps me writing. It has begun to bleed into my scriptwriting and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get back to that book I was writing! Loving your work!


  6. Love this post and can relate all too well! As someone who doesn’t work outside the home, or have small children (or any children) at home, people believe I have all the time in the world to write. I believe it too! 😉 But it doesn’t happen that way. In general, I do follow my planner…when I fill it out! I allow one tiny interruption to throw off my entire day because… “there’s always tomorrow.”

    I must do better and assign time limits and goals for each project… and respect them.

    Thanks for the reminder!


  7. Reblogged this on Midlife Creativity and commented:
    I have been struggling with the same issues as Monique Hall and am putting the final touches on my own plan to make writing a priority. Stay tuned for my multi-part blog post on how all of the various writing projects I yearn to undertake can fit into my life. In the meantime, enjoy Monique’s personal approach to prioritizing her writing.


  8. I can relate to this. Self-discipline is crucial being a writer. While others can ‘force’ themselves into completing articles, I find it becomes less challenging to write when I plan out milestones (or daily tasks as you mentioned) on what it is I want to achieve in short/long term. Being able to see the direction I’m heading with my blog builds up positive work ethics. Plus, each completed milestone gives me further incentive and to procrastinate less.

    Thanks for writing this piece. It’s great to read on something which I can relate to.


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