Have you ever heard of the expression “going down the rabbit hole?” It’s when you start off on a quest towards a goal and then get sidetracked by something which causes you to change direction multiple times along the way. Eventually you end up somewhere you didn’t expect, typically without having satisfied the original purpose of the quest. A classic example is when you surf the Internet. You start off with something in mind but pretty soon it’s 2–3 hours later and you still haven’t found what you were originally looking for (nor, I might add, are you even still looking for it!).
This is something that I struggle with. Every day, every week, I have goals in mind. My primary goal, of course, is to figure out how to publish this book. But, I also want to get a weekly blog post out. Combine that with caring for my dogs, working out, getting chores done around the house and pretty soon, the day has gotten away from me and I have very little to show for it.
I’ve always thought that if I didn’t have a full time job, I would be able to get so much done. Yet, that just has not been the case. I’ve talked with other friends who do not have a full time job and they too experience the same problem.
Is it that we lack focus?
Is it that we lack discipline?
Truly, I start out with wonderful intentions and yet, something always preempts them.
How do I stay focused on the prize?
Part of my problem is the priorities I set for myself. Publishing my book and continuing to write other books should be my highest priorities but honestly, publishing my book doesn’t typically make the top 2 and writing new books isn’t even on the priority list!
Hmmm, for someone who wants to be a writer, I think there’s a problem with my priorities!
Because I have a goal of writing one post a week, this puts my blog at priority #1 or #2. Even though those of you who follow me would forgive a missed week, I still hold myself accountable to do this. My biggest issue with writing this blog is that it takes me too darn long. I’d like to be able to bang out a blog post in a few hours but the reality is it usually occupies a few hours across several days.
The next top priority at least for the last month has been my dog. Those of you who really know me and my spoiled dog, know that it is difficult to put him at a lower priority especially when he’s not feeling well.
Then, like all good rabbit holes, there is always something that comes up (or should I say “down”?) that needs my attention. Last week, it was tearing down the holiday decorations. This week, my dad fell and hit his head.
My point is I let a lot of life’s issues/things get in the way of my priorities. I need to stay focused and I need to treat being a writer like a job with tasks and priorities. Publishing my book and writing new material should be priorities #1 and #2.
Last year, I worked with a dietitian to learn how to make smart choices to lose weight and to be healthy. Her big thing is taking ownership of the process. I always had excuses for why I would eat something bad. Most of the time it revolved around emotions. I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m frustrated were all reasons for derailing myself. I would put the blame on something external to me when in reality, I had the ability to make a choice. I could choose to let my emotions dictate my actions or I could choose not to.
Likewise, I get to make the choice of whether or not I will let life preempt the things I want and need to do. Similar to the diet and eating healthfully, I need to own this career path if I hope to make it as a writer. I need to make better and smarter choices.
So, I am going to make publishing and writing a higher priority than blogging. Rather than posting weekly blogs, I am switching to every other week. This will give me more time to concentrate on how to get my book published, and it will give me more time to be creative. I can’t promise that my dog Bryce won’t preempt publishing and writing, but at least I think this is a step in the right direction.