This weekend I was gifted with two full days of not needing to be anywhere—a gift because I not only had time to catch up on housework and some writing assignments, but I also had an open window to dive into my manuscript and spend hours editing.
I slept in until 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (yes, that’s sleeping in), and went downstairs to enjoy my few hours of quiet time. My morning routine includes journaling, devotionals, and reading inspirational books. So I started with that. But I also included my usual social media and email checks, which ended up taking a lot of time. Then I chatted with my sister on the phone. Before I knew it, it was 9 a.m. and time to start cleaning. I started with the kitchen, and then the shower. After that, I made a few meals for my mom who just got home from the hospital. Then I delivered these meals and visited for a while. By the time I came home, it was time to eat dinner, and I still hadn’t cracked open my manuscript PLUS I had homework to do. I figured that was fine, though. I still had all of Sunday, especially if I finished my homework Saturday night.
Well, I didn’t finish. But I promised myself I’d be better about my time on Sunday because, damn it, I was going to edit.
Sunday came and I stayed away from social media for the most part. I finished my morning routine, then went to church. When I came back, I remembered a few writing jobs I still needed to do, so I whipped those out. Then I finished my homework, which took longer than I planned. I spent the whole day in my room, working to get these “must-do’s” out of the way so I could work on my manuscript, but I didn’t finish until 9:30 p.m., and by then I was absolutely burnt. So I closed my computer and called it a night.
Instead of treating my writing as a priority, I treated it like a hobby, placing it much lower than everything else just because it was something I wanted to do vs. something I had to do. Two full days home, and I didn’t even spend a minute editing because I was just too busy.
Tell me something, why do we believe things we love doing are worth less than those things we’d rather not be doing?
My mistake this weekend was pushing my manuscript down the list, doing it only when everything else was done. Thing is, with a rule like that, I’ll never write because everything will never be done! There will alwaysbe stuff on the list.
This weekend I had a huge weight of resentment on my shoulders as I did everything else, feeling completely chained to my busy work while I longed to be writing. The better system would have been to block out certain hours of the day and protect those hours. I mean, I don’t say I can’t go to work because there’s laundry to be done or the shower needs to be scrubbed. I should be able to block out two hours of my day and write, then get my chores and other stuff done around that time.
But along with treating my writing as a priority, it’s important to recognize why I’m allowing it to fall to the wayside. I realized my busyness was just another form of procrastination. Sure, I was busy with other things. But it was also too easy to use my housecleaning, writing assignments, and other tasks as an excuse to not edit my manuscript. Why? Probably fear of failure. I mean, if I can’t edit this book, then I can’t finish it, then release it. I won’t have to worry about whether it’s good enough or not because it won’t be done.
Do you find yourself doing the same thing? Do you push the things you love to do way down on the list in favor of things you’d rather not do? Are you treating this passion of yours like a hobby instead of a priority? Or are you just using your to-do list as a way to avoid fear around this passion of yours?
Let’s make a pact, all right? Let’s promise to recognize how worthy this passion project is of ours, and how worthy we are to be master of its creation. Your writing, your art, your thing that makes you excited for life is more important than the dishes in the sink, the farm-to-table meal for your family, the clean clothes in the drawers, and the pile of junk growing on your countertop. Do me a favor right now and pull out your calendar. Now look for an empty space and make an appointment with your passion project. You may be able to create for an hour a day, or maybe you’ll only find one free hour in the whole week. Take that chunk of time and protect it. This is your creating time, and it’s sacred. Do not let anything get in the way of it. Do not allow for any interruptions. This time belongs to you and your passion project, end of story.
Now, let’s get to creating, all right?
If you’d like a little more kick in the pants about making time for your craft, check out my book Reclaim Your Creative Soul.