What are your priorities as a writer? Do you have a firm sense of them? Knowing what comes first in your career and life can help you take hold of your time management.
I started thinking about this after reading an article in the May 2018 issue of the Romance Writers Report, the magazine of the Romance Writers of America. It was written by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who, as many of you may know, is a very prolific writer. Bear in mind that her priorities as a writer might be different than yours–but that’s the point. You need to figure out what works for you. (Also note that these priorities are for indie writers. She seems to take a somewhat dim view of traditionally published writers.)
Here are her priorities:
#1–Self-Care (getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well)
#2–Spend Time With Loved Ones
#3–Writing New Words
#4–Publish New Words
#5–Whatever Keep You Healthy and Happy
So…she lumps marketing, if it makes you happy, into #5. I should think a traditionally published author might want to substitute marketing for publishing new words in #4. And then, of course, there are those of us who teach and coach or, gasp, have a day job. That has to fit in there somewhere, too. Right?
But I feel like these guidelines are an excellent starting point for a discussion you might want to have with yourself, your spouse, or your family. Think about it. Roll it around in your mind, talk about it. You don’t have to figure it all out at once. But I do think it is good to have a firm grasp of your priorities so you can pull yourself back when you deviate from them.
Don’t cringe at the words self-care. It is just about eating right, exercising, and sleeping enough, which are baseline activities that will do more for your writing than just about anything. And maybe you are an extreme introvert who doesn’t give a rip about any damned loved ones, in which case you can knock that priority out. But I do try my best to take care of myself, and I do love my loved ones, so I am pretty good with her outline up to #3, but after that I’d diverge, adding:
#6–Things that Make Me Happy and Healthy
In truth, I’m pretty good about the latter, given that much of what makes me happy is spending time with loved ones. And going to France every year, from where I just returned. Honestly, what tends to get shoved aside when things get overwhelming is my own personal writing–and I know I am not alone in that.
How about you? Do you have priorities firmly planted in your mind, or maybe even written down somewhere? Care to share them? I’d love to hear what they are in the comments.
(If you want to read more about this topic from Kristine, go to her site and search for “burnout” or “sustainability.”)