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….

Tuesday, March 1, 2011