I've always believed in WHEN I am published, not IF I am published. Although it's taking me longer to get there than I had anticipated, I am determined to make it. But what drives me?
I am the oldest – the first born, the "boss cow" of my family. Responsibilities and expectations (both real and probably imagined) sit on my shoulders like two little devils, pushing and pulling me in different directions. It's no wonder I hear voices in my head, but writing provides an outlet for them.
A Google search of first born personality traits turned up characteristics like confident, determined, born leader, organized, eager to please, peace-keeper, law abiding and conservative. On the opposite side? First borns tend to be self critical and bad at delegating. Yep, that pretty much describes me.
I believe in my writing ability, but I acknowledge that reaching my goal will take hard work. I'm determined to be like a sponge and soak up all the knowledge I can about writing. I read for the enjoyment of reading, but I also read to absorb techniques, to study how authors build their stories. What works and doesn't work for me as a reader? I can apply those lessons to my own writing.
As a writer, I can be the peace-keeper that I sometimes struggle to be in my daily life. I can write people into my stories and fix them. If someone is driving me crazy, I can make them a villain and direct all my anger and frustrations at them. If someone is just mixed up and needing a little nudge, I can help them overcome their problems and see the way to their future as either heroes and heroines or as secondary characters. Writing through issues that bug me can be very satisfying!
One down-side to being a first born is living the with the self-critical and bad at delegating traits, two traits I haven't been able to outgrow. I am often critical of myself, although I think it's honest criticism. I procrastinate by reading books and magazines, and I take writing workshops. I follow other writers on social media, and surfing the internet under the guise of research. I'm not good at delegating, either. Who was it that said if you want it done right, do it yourself? I get so caught up in wanting to do it right that I don't always get around to just DOING it, and that could be my downfall.
I'm stubborn. I tend to think I can do it all, without help from anybody. Stupid, I know, but such is the mentality of this first born. I like being capable. I like being a go-to person. Well, most of the time... It's hard to put aside that mentality and focus on doing what I need to do in order to reach that goal of becoming published.
How can I use these first born traits to better juggle daily responsibilities and expectations, and still reconcile them with living my busy life? Stacy Wiebe (Tips for Women Who Juggle Too Much) writes that our real need is to learn to live more effectively within our busy lives. She offers suggestions for organizing your life, setting goals, and figuring out what you value most. Says Wiebe, "But we always have a choice. We can run frantically all day, every day, and end up with a bag of used kitty litter or a parcel of unmerited panic. Or we can enjoy our life's journey, realizing there's a place on the path to run, to walk, to play…and to stand still."
I want to choose to enjoy life's journey. How about you?