Right now, I am working to finish the third book in the Brady Boe series, S’mores. The story is going just fine. Brady Boe is still finding her voice and doing some pretty brave things. Sasha, her younger sister, is sharing some of her sassiness. Marcus, their little brother just wants to be a part of whatever’s going on. Petunia and Mike, the parents, still want to protect their adopted daughter Brady Boe from a birth mother who keeps resurfacing from time to time, yet at the same time give her room to be independent. So, you see things are going fine. But, I had to ask myself one day, “Why is this book not done yet?” I would have liked to have had this book done yesterday, or more realistically last year. So, what is my hold up you might ask? After I give you a bunch of excuses like, writers have to live too. We eat, take care of kids, spend time with our spouses, watch movies, etc… But, I also realize those excuses will not get S’mores done. I gave it some more thought and I came up with something that will not only help me with finishing S’mores but other future projects. Hopefully, the following advice will be helpful to other writers working to finish that never ending novel or those who just have a lot to do.
Prioritizing the List
My writing mentor gave me this one. Prioritizing the list. For those who know me my lists are long and I’m forever adding things to them. For some reason I think there are more than twenty-four hours in a day. I get a new idea for a new book or project and then my focus is on that for the moment. Another thing I do is give bits of time to everything and nothing actually gets done. I hate to feel like I’m limiting myself on something I really want to do. My mentor had me ask myself a couple questions. Which project would give the most reward if it was done right now and which one is closer to being done at this moment? After thinking that over its apparent what needs to be at the top of the list. I had to also understand that having something as priority doesn’t mean I can’t work on other projects. The main point is to get projects competed which to me is much more rewarding than having ten things worked on in a day. I have already implemented prioritizing my list and it is working! I assessed which writing project was most near completion, and placed it at the top of my list. Until it’s completed, it will get the most attention each day.
I actually said this out loud to myself, “If you don’t set aside time to write Taunya, then you can’t be disappointed when it’s not getting done.” It makes sense, right. Though I know this, I have to remind myself of it sometimes. The rule is to always schedule time for the item on your project list that is priority. Time can be a challenge sometimes, but most of the time it’s just about placing it into your daily routine. I like to think about time like you would think about change you would find under your couch cushion or in one of your jacket pockets. You might say, “Wow, I didn’t know I had money there.” If you have a hard time finding time then you may have to find your time in different spots just like the change was found in different locations.
I like to exercise first thing in the morning. If I ride the stationary bike, this is also a good time to write. This allows me to have my hands free to write with pencil or paper or on my phone. There are other times where I have squeezed in some writing time waiting at dentist appointments when it takes forever for them to call you back. Most of the time I set aside some time during the day, even if it’s just an hour or two. Time is something that never changes, but we can choose what we want to do with it. Just like me, take control of the time that you can and make it work for you.
I might be the only one but, sometimes I am not encouraged to write and I love write. Those moments are called, “Self-pity moments.” Those times when you feel like no one is reading your material, or you haven’t sold a book in a while. You just feel like this is not going like it supposed to. Well, don’t linger there too long, it’s not healthy for your creative mind. Times like those I have to re-focus on why I write in the first place. The danger with self-pity moods is, your focus is off. So, please don’t make any harsh decisions about your writing or craft during those times. There are times when it seems lonely or too quiet from all your supporters but you must continue to create and thrive in your craft. If there is something you need to learn to make yourself a better writer, take the time to do it. When you find joy in something and you’re good at it, cherish it. The truth of the whole matter is some people will not support you the way you need it. While mining your craft negative energy will try to invade your space, don’t accept it in any shape or form. Stay true to yourself and your mission and write ANYWAYS.
Life offers its own set of challenges for each of us. But, don’t get stuck there find a way that works for you to make progress. You can do it! I hope I gave you something to get you started and feel encouraged to complete your goals. Happy writing and in the meantime, Mine Your Craft!