A few weeks ago I laid out my writing priorities. My life felt disrupted, I hadn’t been writing, and I hoped hashing out what was most important would help jumpstart something. Since I plan on doing more freelance and blog writing in the future, I decided I wanted to prioritize blogging over my other projects. Armed with a clear idea of where I was headed, here’s what happened:
Let’s face it: this summer hasn’t been 100% kind to me. July was swallowed up in some weird health stuff and, though I vaguely remember the month happening, I was in no condition to get any writing done. Even though I’m feeling better now, recovery from a serious interruption like that is slow. It has taken a while to get my head back in the right place. I still get tired enough that I can’t go to work, keep myself clothed and fed, and be amazingly prolific with my creative work.
Despite all that, I’ve still gotten more or less back on track with blogging. I credit this to having put my priorities in writing. When I have a little extra time or energy to devote to writing, I’m not spending it all sitting at my desk trying to figure out what to work on next. I’m asking myself, “have I finished a new blog post this week? No? Okay, that’s what we’re doing right now.” With that burden lifted, I’m free to write as much as I’m able.
My priority list has impacted my time on a larger scale, too. When I sit down at my computer, I only play games if I’ve gotten my other work done first. Making my priorities explicit means I’ve made a commitment to myself. If I don’t at least brainstorm some post ideas for the day before firing up World of Warcraft, I’m not honoring that commitment.
I had more ideas
Taking a cue from the social media fasting article I posted last week, I decided to sit down and generate new ideas every day. Now, mind you, aforementioned personal situation made that a pretty unrealistic expectation. However, I now have a file with over 40 solid ideas for future posts. Creating new ideas is a skill, and it’s one you only hone through practice. The more I sit down and commit to writing at least 10 ideas on the page, the easier new things come to me and the more connections I make.
I created a Mix Tapes & Scribbles Facebook page
As I had more ideas, I realized some of them would benefit from putting a question out to a group of people. I had considered creating a Mix Tapes & Scribbles Facebook page before, and that tipped the scale. I am certainly not the biggest Facebook fan out there, but if I can get enough people to like the page, I can start some great conversations. With that said, you should definitely become a fan.
I submitted to another blog
Not only did I focus more on my own blog, I trimmed up an essay I am particularly proud of and submitted it to a blog I like. Then I created a special file folder just for pending submissions and decided I should put something new in it as often as I can. Once I have a few blog posts in the can, I may decide to dust off one of the many half-finished short stories and essays on my hard drive.
I felt satisfied and productive again
For some, an extended period of rest is a welcome respite from life’s demands. I can’t stand it. I get restless and irritable and eventually I’m just overwhelmed by self-loathing. I was definitely ready to get back into the swing of things, but I didn’t yet have the energy to set my own direction every time I had a few moments to write. Setting clear priorities took away the hemming and hawing over what project I felt most strongly about and kept me working consistently on the same thing. Consistency bred more finished products, which in turn made me feel like I was getting somewhere in life again. What a relief!