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.
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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!
This guest post was contributed by Monique Hall, a small town contemporary romance author. She enjoys feel-good movies and soppy romance novels with “happily-ever-afters.” Alternately titled “Time to Get Over Myself. Just Write!”