Prioritise your priorities. Not my words, but the words of Rachelle Gardner over at her blog about her life as a literary agent. But they could be my words, because that's pretty much what I do when it comes to my writing. As you may already know, I've had to do some writerly juggling over the past few years. I've written a novel (as part of a Masters course) while working full-time as a copywriter, with lots of side projects in between (you're reading one now). And there have been times when it's felt like I've had rather a lot on my plate.
But somehow, I've always got things done. And that's because, over time, I've learnt to prioritise my priorities.
What not to do
Rachelle's post really struck me. In particular, it was the line about the big secret to her time management being the list of things she doesn't do. Sounds odd doesn't it? But it makes sense, when you think about it.
In case you don't want to head over and read the full article (and you should), here's what she says:
I've dispensed with a lot of non-necessary things in life... things I'd like to do if I could! But the path I've chosen means I've had to let go of some things.
Now, she goes on to list 'things' like keeping a scrapbook and growing a garden. Personally, I'd like to hang on to those parts of my life if possible (the courgettes are looking particularly good this summer), but in terms of my writing and related projects, there are things I'm prepared to let go.
For example, when I decided to set up Write for Your Life, I knew that I would probably have to give up Words Aloud, a project I'd been tied to and loved to bits for two years. I hadn't the time for both, so one of them had to go.
Similarly, when it came to the crunch for completing my novel, I realised the only way was to pass up the chance of editing a second edition of Matter, a literary magazine I was involved with at the time.
And now, I find myself in the same position again.
After some exciting and Summer-changing news, I'm spending the next couple of months returning to my novel for a little editing and plenty of graft. And that means I have to prioritise my priorities and draw up a new list of things that I don't do.
And why? Because when it comes down to it, my novel and my creative writing is what means the most to me. That's my number one priority. Everyone should have one.
Panic ye not
Of course, you might be wondering if this is the end of Write for Your Life. Well, I'm pleased to say that no, it's certainly not! I've enjoyed my blogging experience so far and have really, really appreciated all your kind thoughts and feedback.
No, instead there will be a new strategy in place to keep the blog going with plenty of new posts (possibly more!) being published while I'm beavering away. It's going to be great, so don't go anywhere!
More on that at a later date, but for now I implore you to read Rachelle's post and have a think about your own writing priorities. And don't just think about what you do do (feel free to snigger), but also the things that you don't. Or the things that you're prepared to give up when the time comes.