Let's get one thing straight at the outset: I know the subject of this post is not news to you. It is not news to me, either.
What it is, is a reminder.
A reminder I seem to need every so often, so I figure you might, too.
Because putting writing first in one's life is hard. These days, we all have so many other things pressing at us. There are the usual suspects of family, friends, beloved pets, and work. And nowadays writers, creative professionals, and entrepreneurs are required to write a blog, send out a newsletter, host teleseminars, tweet on Twitter, and keep up with everyone on Facebook.
Honestly, when are you supposed to write?
Before you do anything else, that's when, whether you take that literally or metaphorically. Because when you put your writing first, everything else falls into place. I used to think that this process was somewhat magical, and it is, but I've also realized why it works.
Because writing makes you fall in love. And when you fall in love you have tons of energy and when you have tons of energy you don't care if you have to stay up later at night to finish some of the other items on your to-do list. Because you are in love–with your writing, your life, and yourself.
And so herewith, 7 ways to fall in love and put your writing first:
1. Schedule time for it and then hold to that schedule. I know, duh. But how many times have you told yourself you were going to write and then not done it? Take personal responsibility for your need to write and do it when you say you are going to. You'll feel so good when you do.
2. Define what you're going to work on. Do this ahead of time so that you have an immediate place to go and you're not flailing about, thinking, hmmm, I wonder if I'd like to work on such-and-such today. Instead you can plunge right in.
3. Leave your phone charging in the other room. Where you can't hear it ring. God invented voice mail for writers, he told me so. If it's important, they'll leave a message. (The only possible exception to this is for parents of small, emphasis on the word small, children. In your case, keep the phone with you, but put it on vibrate.)
4. Close down your inboxes. This is the painful one for me. I don't really like talking on the phone, but give me an email to write or read and I'm a happy girl.
5. Close Twitter. Or Facebook. Or whatever your particular devil might be. Let the world know you're taking a break to go write. They'll respect you more in the morning for it.
6. Feed the cat. Or dog. If your pets are like mine, they will get very vocal when they are hungry. And a vocal cat is a very distracting thing. Feed them, so that they will go curl up in their furry bed and leave you alone.
7. Have confidence in yourself, your writing, and your contribution to the world. We need your voice. We want your voice. We're not going to get it if you keep procrastinating about your writing.
Now go forth and schedule your next writing session–for whenever putting your writing first makes sense. And do feel free to tell what your favorite tricks are for putting writing first.
Photo by chancaca, from Everystockphoto.