Writing Notes: When Priorities Go AWOL

This is less of a craft post than normal – sorry. Not much writing going on here this week…

I’m sort of spinning in a giant whirlpool of chaos this week. And I have been for the last several weeks…not really due to any one specific thing, but it’s just the way things shook out this fall.

Those who know me also know that I hate chaos. I don’t “do” it well. You would think that as organized as I am, I could weather just about anything, but in truth, the organization just keeps me from going completely insane while I watch the things I *want* to do get usurped by the things I *need* to do. It makes me crabby. And that makes me anti-social (moreso than my normal introverted self, even).

What affects me the most is knowing that I’ve let people down. Even the two or three people who read my serial novels, which I’ve been unable to get to so far this week (though with any luck, I’ll be caught up tonight). It’s one thing for me to miss my personal goals – I do that consistently enough that it’s not a big deal. But to miss a public deadline is a pretty major screw-up to my mind (even if it isn’t to others), and while I could change my attitude towards that, I won’t. Honestly, I think it’s good to feel bad about missing a deadline that affects others. It’s called work ethic, and that’s what pushes us to do a good job and get things done in a timely manner.

In any case, I’ve been thinking a lot about priorities, and examining the choices I made this week with regards to what I’ve accomplished, and what’s gotten pushed back. In hindsight, would I do it differently? Would I make different choices in favor of getting my serial scenes done on time and spending more time writing?

For the most part, no. I think I made choices that affected the least amount of people negatively, and no irreparable harm was done. That doesn’t mean I feel good about it, but I feel like it was the best path to take. I also feel like I need to shuffle some things in the coming months to ensure that I have the ability to keep my writing a priority next time this sort of chaotic wind blows. Because we all know it will, right?

I always said I’d never be one of those workaholics who spent long hours at their job, at the expense of my personal life. And I’m not, but I have to say – writing/publishing is a job I could easily fall into that with, just because I love it so much. Right now, having to run my writing/publishing business alongside a full-time day job is pushing at those boundaries, and I need to keep that in perspective as well.

Things are calming down now, and with the exception of a day here and there, they should remain that way for the next several months. I’ll be catching up and re-prioritizing, and my stories will go back to where they belong – near the top of my priority list.

What’s at the top of your priorities list? What should be there?

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2 comments on “Writing Notes: When Priorities Go AWOL

  1. Dolly

    Good thing about being organised is that when there is chaos, once you get over the annoyance/depression of not getting things done, you can make sense of it. That’s what you are doing. And that’s great. Because as good planners as we are, life unfortunately (and other people) don’t always fit into our plans.

    I totally agree with you about not changing your attitude about deadlines. Certainly about public deadlines, because that’s the road to losing credibility.

    I’m a total workaholic (for writing), but at this time, with full-time day job, I don’t see how I could accomplish anything if I were to relax. Writing is not exactly certain business (especially traditional publishing, which I want) so who knows how many years it might take to be able to become a published author, let alone full time author – and the only way I feel that I can get there as quickly as possible is by doing more and more now. The time I “waste” relaxing, might end up adding years to my goal. It’s difficult I think because we love this job, and we want it so badly.

  2. Jamie D.

    You’re absolutely right, Dolly – thank goodness for my underlying organization. At least I can just sort of pick up and move on, rather than having to untangle a million things first.

    And I agree with you that when working towards writing as a career, there just isn’t a lot of slack to cut yourself. Really, the career part of it moves slow no matter how you publish, so yeah, we need to keep the writing front and center if we ever want to reach that full-time status. But if we didn’t love it, we wouldn’t want it so badly…and really, writing is the one thing I truly *want* to do, so it’s not a huge hardship to be “workaholic” about that. It’s all the other stuff that gets in the way that’s annoying.