Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Confessions: On Needing Appointments to Write

First confession: It is a daily struggle (for me and for many, many other writers out there) to fit everything in and have any downtime at all. Consider: sleeping, showering, day job, exercise, shopping, cleaning, writing, blogging, social networking (Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads), planning promotional efforts … oh, and reading to keep up with my mystery “industry.” And talking to my husband. And keeping up with my friends and family.

However, this is not a whine-blog. The above list is also not to fool anyone into thinking that I actually DO it all. I do three-quarters of it—and which three-quarters varies on any given day, though I’ll grant you that sleeping, showering, and the day job are non-negotiable. My point is that I have learned enough about myself to know that some things—even those most important to me—won’t get done with regularity unless I am accountable to someone else.

Second confession: I’m a Type-A, competitive, overachiever. If I’m given a goal, I need to beat it. If I know someone’s counting on me or expecting something from me, I am a failure if I don’t deliver. Given that, what’s a self-aware woman to do when she’s not getting her writing or exercising done as regularly as she really actually wants to?

You got it: set appointments.

I don’t mean schedule appointments in each day to write, because I’m a natural-scheduler, and I’m usually bogged down by the huge to-do list I carry around in my head. I mean appointments, and here’s the trick, with other people. Hire a personal trainer to make sure I show up and work out. Find a writing buddy and have a weekly meeting. Nothing motivates me like the shame of showing up and either wasting someone’s time or not having delivered what I said I would.

Hey, they’re my psychoses, and I like them. I say, whatever works, so long as I’m writing….

9 comments:

  1. Writing group challenges work for me too. Something about that public commitment, I hate losing face by coming up short.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great advice, Tammy. Too often we put everything else ahead of the most important task of all: writing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's really a constant struggle, isn't it, Sandy?!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Those are some great ways to make yourself accountable, Tammy! I too find that appointments I've set with myself don't seem to carry the same kind of importance as those I set with others...must figure out why that is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. morganalyx, I think it's because you and I believe our own excuses!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's a daily struggle, and sometimes it's overwhelming. But it's my choice of the way to live. I could drop writing, promotion, and many of the things associated with it, but I won't. Those are the fun things. As you said, a few are essential to the rest, so they stay. But I intend to keep running in circles till I drop.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Right there with you, Ellis! I probably won't stop wondering why I'm crazy enough to try to do it all, however.... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's a good tip because we *are* less willing sometimes to let others down compared to ourselves. Plus, it's motivating. And, it's nice to get dinner out of a meeting to trade pages.

    ReplyDelete