The trap we all fall into

I spoke with a sister writer yesterday and we talked about the many, many challenges we face when it comes to completing projects, let alone getting them out there into the world.

As moms and working women, we said, there’s always so much that has to be done, so many dishes to wash, noses to wipe, and deadlines to meet. Then if you start factoring in other people’s needs and wants (especially when you put them first) it’s all too easy to let your precious soul’s work slip to the bottom of the pile.

I’ll get to it later

If you’re like most people, you’re probably going through the day thinking that you’ll get to it later — whatever your “it” is, that creative work you’re endlessly postponing for another day, whether it’s writing or painting or drawing or finally getting the word out about your work — but that later never comes.

Or maybe you’ve promised yourself that you’ll work at the end of the day, but quite frankly, you’re exhausted.

The trap

The trap is that you’re aiming to clear the decks first, thinking your brain will finally have the space it needs for the creative work.

You figure you’ve got to get to Inbox Zero or handle all those administrative tasks or answer so-and-so’s Very Important Message first. Then you’ll be able to focus.

But.

Those things are like tribbles from Star Trek. They multiply at an exponential rate of growth, and if you persist in putting them first? They will literally devour your time.

And right now, you are letting them do that.

It’s time to stop.

How?

Let’s face it. Life happens. Life can be busy. It doesn’t have to be, but it often is, in this culture, in this era.

There will always be more email.

There will always be more to do. More information. “Opportunities.”

And we get to choose how we respond to that stuff, or not.

Do you want to organize your life around it?

Or do you want to organize your life around what is most sacred to you?

Your deepest, soul-level priorities.

What does that even look like?

For me, that is my writing and my family, period.

So guess how I spend my mornings?

I wake up, and I snuggle with my son. When we feel ready, he goes to play with his dad and have breakfast while I write for 30 minutes. It’s not a huge amount of time, true, but I do it 6 days a week.

I’ve also corralled my business, for the most part, into regular, day time hours. Rarely does it spill over into the night or onto the weekends. Why? So I can be with my family in the evenings and focus on my son.

Doesn’t mean my life isn’t hectic. Doesn’t mean there aren’t still things I want to change. But I’m working on them incrementally, moving them to the place I want them to be. Just like a writing project, bit by bit.

The key

The key to all this comes from a few simple notions.

1. Your creative work is what you were put here to do and is therefore of the utmost importance to you, your life, and your soul’s fulfillment (and even as a role model for your kids).

2. In order to fulfill that work, you must design your life around it and make sure its priority level is reflected in the day-to-day choices you are making.  (I can help you with this in my mentoring programs.)

3. Then you must protect that sacred work time — I call mine my sacred writing time — like your life depends on it. It does.

Your turn

I’d love to hear from you. How do you protect your creative or writing time?

Warmly,

 Jenna

Coming Attractions

~> THIS FRIDAY: March 8th at 11 a.m. Pacific — Your Creative Next Steps. If you enjoyed my Creative Productivity TeleClass Series and you’re wondering about the next steps to put what you learned into practice, you’ll want to join me for this free information call next week. I’ll walk you through identifying your next steps and fill you in about details about how I can support you along the way through my 1:1 mentoring programs. Sign up here: https://calledtowrite.com/nextsteps

~> March 21st: Register for the next Writer’s Circle session. Register by March 21st for the next session of my Writer’s Circle (starts March 25th). Build a solid habit of daily writing and finish all your writing projects: http://JustDoTheWriting.com. We’re running four groups of fantastic writers right now and it’s a ton of fun. Come join us!

 

What I'm Up To

~> Daily writing. DONE! I’m done with the rough draft of my rewrite of Progeny!! (And now the real work begins.)

~> Reading How to Speak Dragonese* with my son. Reading Crucible of Gold* by Naomi Novik and Adventures in the Screen Trade* by William Goldman.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

* Affiliate link

Comments

  1. A lot of my time goes into adjusting to a new schedule with one less person in the household. What surprised me is that I wasn’t eating enough. Now I have several small meals plus a protein bar. It’s not a diet. It’s just the new normal–and I’m able to think and write much better.

    Plus, my forty pound tribble (the dog) is demanding more attention. If she doesn’t behave better I’ll have to write her into a story… ;-)

  2. Cheese. Yum! :-)
    I could be the poster child for this topic…however I don’t really want to be. I think the power of repetition really helps though – eventually the message sinks in and we each learn to put our creative juice in first position and let life flow in, around, and through it.

  3. Jenna, i loved the tribbles on star trek. one of the episodes I recall.

    We are “groomed” to be scattered so we can’t follow along with what’s done to us along the path of life. Otherwise, we’d never engineer our society to be as dysfunctional as it is.

    Most of the stuff we spend our lives doing will not matter at the end of our lives. Lots of folks in nursing homes saying why did I waste my life doing x instead of y.

    The time to not have regrets is now. Don’t buy into the myth your child needs this or your mate needs that or you business needs that. Most of the time it will not matter.

    Do what you love? I love doing creative things and investigative work in my town. So, that’s what i spend most of my time doing. I don’t like to clean, so I rarely. Just read an article in the big men’s mag about how dirt is important.

    dirt is good. mud pies are good. kids are supposed to get dirty …

    thanks! g.

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