Okay, day five, the final P of the pack, and I’ve saved the most important one for last. By now, if you weren’t aware before, you know what type of pen and paper you favor, the pleasure of writing with other people, and how writing in different places can add adventure to your writing time. Today, we’re going to talk about the final P, priority.
Priority – This is the most important P of them all. Without it, you can have all the pens and paper, people and places you could ever want, and your pages may still remain blank, your book unwritten.
If we don’t make writing a priority, we won’t write. No matter how much you might love to write, want to write, need to write, prepare to write, real writers write; they don’t merely talk about writing. They sit down and put words onto the page. Period. And they have the stories and books to prove it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a daytime or nighttime writer, what’s critical is that you create a writing habit, carve out a bit of time in your routine and commit it to writing.
My business coach, Cheryle Touchton , suggested that I do my writing projects first thing in my day and save the emails, preparation for classes and talks, marketing tasks and what not for after I’ve written my allotted amount of time. She was so right! When I open my email before my writing is done that leads me off to do something else which requires that I complete another task first, and oh yes, I meant to take care of that yesterday, and on and on.
Suddenly, it is 4:00 p.m., and I have not yet written for the day. At that point, it’s easy to say, “Oh, it’s too late to do anything now. I’ll start first thing in the morning,” and the cycle repeats itself the next day. She told me that somehow I will find time to do those non-writing-tasks, that I won’t go to bed at night without preparing my class, but I will quickly let go of the writing if I put it behind all the other responsibilities that fill up my days and nights.
Find what motivates you. Reward yourself. I love the feeling I have when my writing is done for the day. I feel great! I know I’ve given myself and my clients the very best of both me and my day. If I could bottle that feeling, I’d make a fortune.
I often tell the story of Eunice, the woman who came to one of my writing classes years ago and latched onto my suggestion to write for ten minutes every day. She made a commitment to herself and faithfully followed it, and sometime later, I received a call from her inviting me to her book launch. Eunice made writing her book a priority, and she did it in increments of ten minutes each day. Way to go, Eunice; I am so proud of you.
Maybe you are like I am and need to do your writing first thing in the morning, which means getting up an hour or half hour earlier than you usually do. Maybe you turn off the TV an hour early, tape your favorite show, and spend a little time writing before you go to sleep. When he first began to write, a professor I had said he worked during the day, spend time with his family in the evening, and wrote from 10:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. every day. I couldn’t do it, but it worked for him. He is now a highly acclaimed, award winning writer and a professor at a prestigious university. He found what worked for him, and he did it.
Today’s challenge – Think about your typical schedule; consider what you usually do every week. Look for opportunities where you can cut back some time here, let go of something there, and carve out some consistent writing time. It’s great if you can write every day, but if your schedule doesn’t allow it, commit to what you can accomplish. Review your schedule like this each week and make a conscious decision about how much time you are going to spend writing and where that time is going to come from. Write your commitment on paper. Put it somewhere you can see it. Read it every day and write.
Share your thoughts – What writing schedule can you commit to this week? How much time will you spend with pen on paper? What do you need to do to free up time to write? What threatens your commitment to write? How can you combat the negative influences that tell you to write tomorrow?
So what did you take away from our discussion of the five Ps this week? What are your writing goals for 2013? Tell about us it.
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