Priorities – Picking the Most Important Ones Can be Difficult…

prioritiesPriorities: 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.

18 thoughts on “Priorities – Picking the Most Important Ones Can be Difficult…

  1. I believe you have prioritized quite well in both the cases. No one can soothe an ill kid better than the mother, and a writer should have nothing more important than to write.

  2. Priorities. Yup, that’s a snaggled mess to figure out but it seems you may have forgotten the most important aspect of it. The base of your priorities. YOU!! In all your lists, you never mention you and if you don’t take care of YOUR interests, nobody else is going to. I agree with having to take time for your daughter, your son, your husband, your job, your home, your social life, and the list continues… but you have to take time for YOU. In the long run, once you are a happy person, those around you will find happiness, too. Making everything around you a priority means that you are no longer a priority and if you’re not a priority to yourself, those around you won’t make you a priority. It is our human nature to take, and give – some take more than they give, while others give more than they take. Priorities begin with you.

    • I did forget me, didn’t I? I guess I figured the writing part was for me. I seldom think of me because then I feel guilty and I feel like if I carve any writing time in, that’s the “me” part.

  3. I think all parents struggle with this, I know I did as a single parent. We used to joke I needed to have a clone. Don’t second guess yourself Elyse! The most important thing is for your children to know they are loved.

  4. This is my daily struggle… even with grown kids. Relationships are still the most important thing, and it sounds like you are making wise choices. Hang in there. 😀

  5. You’ve got the right plan and be sure to carve out just a little “peaceful” time for yourself. After all your brain needs a break, too. I find it amazing how much we get done when we take a few minutes for each task (and person).

  6. I get the pull between two kids, having raise two mighty sons. And yes, indie authors are stretched. The best solution I have found is to join a group and share the responsibilities, so that we each have less work but enjoy greater benefits.

  7. So true. I tell my husband I need two of me. One that goes to work and runs the errands. The other me would be free to write all day with an hour or so of social media thrown in. If dreams came true… 😉

    • So true… I actually need three of me I think. The one that works, the one that wants to be a great mom and wife and the one that desperately has their own goals and has no time to do it. Sigh…

  8. I’m not writing books and I have an empty nest, but I still face trying to balance blogging and building my book review site with promotion and paying attention to my husband. It seems every day some new platform on which to market turns up that is the new place to be. I do take some time for myself to read and to exercise. Fortunately I have only one daily deadline and I can choose which activities other than that get priority each day.

  9. Elyse, this is very important and something I’ve thought of myself as regards writing. I also have a home based business which pays the bills, so that has to have priority, and I’ve given up trying to flog my books other than occasionally. Life takes priority, and you chose the better path with your sick child. You do say their dad went to the tournament. Perhaps your family has unrealistic expectations and you should draw boundaries for yourself? Just a thought, I don’t mean to be critical, but sometimes mom comes last, you know, and that isn’t right for the happiness and well being of the family altogether. Sort of like my mom considered herself a martyr, I think, I don’t say you do that, but it is kind of an old fashioned sense of we have to be everything to everybody. Good luck with it, and I do think the sick child needed a parent. There will be other tournaments.

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