Priorities: According to the dictionary this means “a thing that is regarded as more important than another” or “the right to take precedence or to proceed before others.” I’d like to talk about this.
I have two kids. I work all week. When I’m home, they are both vying for my attention and the issue is, neither of them wants to share me because they want me for themselves. If I try to do a dinner together, they balk, try to go somewhere together, they complain. So, I’m stretched. I get it, I really do, but with time being so limited I wish I could be with both of them together and have them be happy about it, but they’re not. So what I try to do is carve out alone time with each of them, a few hours here and there with just one at a time. Neither of them is completely satisfied with this arrangement because as soon as I’m home and switch kids, the other one gets mad at me again. Sigh…
Today is a tough one. One kid just got braces and he’s been miserable for days. The other has a martial arts tournament today. This tournament is about 30 minutes away and I would be sitting most likely in a gym for 6 hours to watch one minute of performing. The fact is, I wanted to go to the tournament to support her and she wanted me to watch her, but the one miserable at home wanted me to stay with him. If I choose one kid over the other, the other child is most definitely going to feel slighted. One will feel that I don’t value them enough to take the time to watch them, and the other is upset because mommy is not there to make them feel better.
So, what do you do? After much grappling, I chose to stay with the kid that wasn’t feeling well and now I’m in the dog house with the other. Her dad went instead and she’s annoyed with me. I feel like I can never win. I truly believe illness trumps all. My son needs comfort today, meds given on time so he feels better, soft foods. Priority made, but I’m still upset that I can’t be in two places at once.
It’s like that with my writing life, too. What are my priorities? Building my Social Media platform? Tweeting, Facebooking, Google+ing, Blogging regularly? Finding an agent? Querying contests? Learning how to do a mailing list? Making a treatment for Hollywood? Advertising? Book Store appearances? Creating give-a-ways? Creating Pinterest boards for your books? Signing up for a Conference? Querying media? Getting reviews?
Do you see a problem with anything in this list above? Where is “writing?” It’s not even there because as indies we are required to do everything else to gain any modem of success. I can’t tell you how many writers feel like there is so much to do, that writing has not become the main priority any longer. And they’re pained by it. They miss it, but they’re trying so hard to be successful, there are simply not enough hours in the day to get it all done.
So I go back to the definition of priorities above and realize that what is most important in my writing life has to be the writing. I find I get mired in all the rest of the conversation and marketing minutia and have to step back to basics or I’ll never get projects out.
In life, in lieu of time, hard choices are going to have to be made. Decisions are going to have to be brought down to basic needs. For family it will be “which kid needs me most at this time” and in writing it has to be “getting the words down on paper.” No matter what I do, someone is going to be unhappy and some project is going to get put on the back burner. Both are important, but I have to make a decision. In these cases, it simply means that “for that moment in time” I had to make the priority to get what had to be done first.
Tonight I’ll take kid #2, who is unhappy I didn’t go to her tournament, out to dinner alone to celebrate, and maybe later today I’ll work on social media, but for now, I’m with my sick kid and after this blog, as my son is on the computer, I’ll work on Book #3 in my Kelsey Porter Series.
It’s all about priorities and nothing about them is ever easy. Love to hear your thoughts on this.