Full Disclosure

Since mid November, when I took a trek to a coastal women’s retreat, I haven’t spent a solid day home writing.  This is unusual for me, because my goal is to write all week days  in my home office.  I turn down invitations for coffee, lunch, and “going shopping with girlfriends.”   Weekends are my play time.  

But stuff happens. 

My birthday, appointments, a friend passes away, another friend comes to visit, someone needs help . . . you get the idea.  And Christmas looms so invitations appear that just come once a year.    “Only this time,” I say to myself.

But.  

The January deadline appears for two big projects.  

Ah ha.  I did it to myself.   This lack of time.  By saying yes to other obligations and to a fun social life.

We all do it. 

Where is the balance in our lives? 

Between giving to others and to ourselves? Between our household chores and our creative projects?  Between our day jobs and our writing? Between our social selves and our inner lives?  Between the noisy world outside and the life of silence we crave? 

What to do?  Make a list of priorities. 

Mine?  Two, outside of my family and friendsMy writing and helping young writers by way of the California Writers Club, Mt. Diablo Branch’s Young Writers Contest.  If any requests come to me outside of those concerns I will probably say no because I just don’t have the time or energy. 

Next, schedule in your calendar and your daysWhat are you doing, hour by hour?  If you actually don’t know how your day is spent, write down what you are doing, hour by hour.  Took you fifteen minutes to unload the dishwasher?  Write it down.  Took you 30 minutes to sort, load and unload the laundry?  Write it down.  

If you are actually in your office trying to write but NOT writing, what is happening there?  Emailing?  Researching on the Internet?  Shopping?  Cleaning your files?   Keep track and see what you are doing.  Don’t feel too guilty you don’t write the minute you sit down at your computer.  I know someone who has to play computer games for 20 minutes in order to write productively.   Figure out what helps you work best.  Discover what helps you work with the fewest distractions.

I know that at this moment, half of my office is filled with wrapping paper, gifts, and CWC Young Writers Contest stuff.  The other half is my book project.  If I don’t organize my book project half-of-the-room first, I’ll never be able to settle down and write.   It’s how I work best. 

How do you work best?

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