The boy-child is at vacation Bible school mornings this week. This is good, as I was starting to look for itinerant entertainers interested in taking on apprentices. It’s good to start them early on such things, right? Anyway, the life of a temporarily single parent is no joke, and the real single parents out there have my utmost respect. This $&%# is hard.
Case in point: the younger one is rotting her brain (yeah, I’m not really happy about it, either) while I type this. There’s simply no other way – right now – for me to get anything done without it taking two or three times as long, and exhausting me completely. And even then, it’d probably get dropped for something more urgent.
So how do you make writing a priority when there’s so much else going on? Because everybody has things going on. Lots of things going on. I have two small children and a deployed spouse. I have shelving to get up in the garage, yet-packed boxes to unpack and sort, recyclables to recycle, goods to return, shopping to do, dishes to wash, coffee to make (duh), immunizations to update, trips to plan, plans to plan, NOVELS TO WRITE, DAMMIT, weights to lift, conditioning to condition, meals to prep, and a few other odds and ends to accomplish. Oh, and laundry. Bloody laundry (not literally) is expletive-deleted endless.
So how do I make writing a priority? Short answer: right now, I don’t. I don’t have the space to make it actually happen, and that’s more than a little frustrating. What I do have, is an apparent ability to sit down when there is time and space for it, and slip right back into the groove. Which I didn’t realize until Mom and Pop Dave’s recent visit. So for me, when both Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave are in preschool in a few weeks, the time between dropping them off and picking them up will go to writing. And that’s all. I’m going to be carving that time out of everything else I could be doing. And working to convince myself there’s nothing I *should* be doing during that time.
The Covey analogy for prioritizing may be helpful, here. Your life is like a bucket, as is every day. You fill it with stuff: with activities. Some are big, some are small, some are vital, some are basically just leisure. Some of them are just straight tedious. Fill your bucket with the big, important, Vital-To-Your-Emotional-Wellbeing things first. Then fill it with smaller, less vital things, etc.
Yeah, I’m pretty terrible about this, too. The Tyranny of the Urgent is my existence. I’m hoping the kids being in school gives me the distance to start getting things better lined up. In the meantime, what’s gotta get done’s gotta get done, and I don’t really have that many options.
Basically? If you have no other alternative, cut yourself some slack. Like I’m doing. If, on the other hand, you have alternative options, and can shoehorn in a little writing time, why aren’t you? Writers gotta write, definitionally and – often – compulsively. If it’s going to be your priority (even if it’s just a priority) then you have to make it one. Give it enough weight to bend the rest of your day around it, rather than trying to slip it in wherever it fits.