For instance, last week I made plans to physically leave my house for 2 hours on two different days so I could write. I should have turned off my phone. But I didn't. I ended up using half of my writing time to work on preparedness fair stuff because of incoming phone calls. Now, this is something else important in my life right now, and it has to be done, but other professionals know how to block out their time and stick to a plan. I need to learn how to do this.
Then there is my family and friends. I love them. So when one of them says, "Hey, let's go do (fill in the blank)" I drop everything and that's what we do. Most of my family now lives near me so my week can fill up quickly with different invitations. I don't want anyone to feel like my writing is more important than them, but I need to learn to say "sure, but can we do it after 11:00" or maybe a different day, or something.
My need for everyone to be happy with me is killing my writing time and putting me farther behind on my goals. Eleena's story should have been finished a month ago and handed to beta readers by now. It still needs an ending. I made some progress, but it isn't finished. It NEEDS to be finished now if I have any hope of publishing it by Christmas.
Pray for me? I'm starting to think that's my only hope. The good news is school starts in two weeks and that will mean less running around during the day. That should give me time to sit and get my two hours of writing in EVERY DAY. With that, I should be able to finish quickly. Then I'll have to hope my beta readers are availble to read and comment quickly so I can start revisions.
Everything just takes so much time!
I'm sorry to vent so much this month. When I don't get good writing time in, and when I feel like my goals are being thwarted, I get cranky and negative. Here's hoping I'm in a much better mood by September.
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The August question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?
Don't worry about following all the rules or trying to make everyone happy. I did that. In the early days, I tried to shape my story to make every critique partner happy. It took a while to learn that as a writer, you will never be able to make every reader happy. When people read your story they will get different things out of it because we all have different experiences that shape our perspective.
The fix for this is to make yourself happy with the story. Look at the comments from your early readers and ask, "will a change here make MY story better?" If not, move on and throw that comment away. Sometimes a comment can show you where a weakness lies in your plot that needs to be fixed even if it isn't in the way suggested by the critiquer. Be willing to see that and take the steps necessary. So, keep an open mind, but keep your story and goals your own as you sift through each piece of advice.
Try to make everyone happy and you'll be unhappy. Your screen savor and main phone photo should say 'Just say no.' That will prompt you!ReplyDelete
I should try this! Thanks Alex.Delete
I'm sorry. I know how easy it is for things to get in the way of best laid plans. The question is, did the other plans make you happy? If they didn't, that should make it easier to say no in the future.ReplyDelete
And now you know to turn off your phone when you're blocking out writing time ;)
I think if I followed my plans and completed my writing time, some of these other things would bring happiness too. Serving others does bring joy, but you have to have something to give first. I'll definitely be turning off the phone!Delete
While you're trying to make everyone happy, remember you're part of everyone too. People who love you will understand if you want to sit down to write. Or they should.ReplyDelete
I think this is the core of why I get so cranky. They SHOULD understand and respect this. However, writing has been a part of my life for ten years now. If they don't get it now, they never will. Or is it really my fault because I haven't been loud enough in speaking up about what I need? I go back and forth on this one.Delete
It's super hard to write without disruption. At the moment, all I have at home is one little dog. When she wants something which is all the time, I will tell her to wait and she does while staring me down and whining. :) Will be praying for you to find the right schedule in which to write by.ReplyDelete
This made me laugh. We have two little dogs as well, and one of them will climb in my lap (on top of the laptop) every time I sit down to write. It's like she can't stand that I'm not paying attention to her. I coax her to sit beside me and she will keep tossing her head to the side so it gets up on the keyboard. We call her the Diva.Delete
I feel your pain! I started out with two pre-schoolers and ended up with a full time job. My answer - find the path of least resistance to get those hours in. I get up at 4:30 a.m. because I'm a morning person and who the heck else is going to do that to interrupt me - other than the cats. Pick a time where no one is likely to demand your time (my lunch hour is another one - phones on mute!). MAKE yourself unavailable. Go where there's no phone or friends or distractions as a reward to yourself so you can meet your goals. A coffee shop, a library, the basement, where ever the world can't find you for an hour or two. Think of it as a mental health prescription! I used to tell my boys "Mom needs 20 more minutes then you have my undivided attention." And then make sure they get it. Even adult friends can learn. (Wink!)ReplyDelete
This is what I'm trying to do. Last week I "ran away" from home twice for two hours each time. I was able to get something done which helped. However I did have to take two scheduled phone calls during that time for my job with the preparedness fair. It was bad scheduling on my part, so I have to do better about that. Mostly, I have to run and then make sure I turn the phone completely off so I won't be tempted to accept the call when I know it's a participant I needed to talk to. We have voice mail for a reason, right?!Delete
I have the problem of letting everything and everybody distract me also. Goals? Yeah, something I left behind months ago! But we can just pick up with willpower.ReplyDelete
Here's hoping we both can pick them back up!Delete
I think it would be great is you could block out your writing day just like a work day. Tell your family and friends your busy from x-time to y-time, but you'd love to see them after. Good luck. And don't forget, you are human. We all struggle with these things.ReplyDelete
I used to do this, but sadly it doesn't seem to matter because I give in and answer the phone. I have to learn to stick to my game plan. Thanks, Lisa!Delete
Definitely time to unplug and block out the time, eh? Wishing you epic writing and the determination to tell people no when you need to.ReplyDelete
Thanks Crystal. I'm trying!Delete
It's easy to- Look! Squirrel!ReplyDelete
Kidding. It's easy, in this age of smartphones and busier lives, to get distracted. I get more work done when the kids are in school. You will, too.