Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Hair Cuts, Family and Deadlines

Writing deadlines and goals demand time. So do chores, family and friends, and haircuts. How do we manage the push and pull of different aspects of our life?

It’s not unusual for my writing plans to get sidelined.  I try to take life’s interruptions in stride, but it happens so regularly that I get upset. I’m always waiting for the nonwriting stuff in my life to settle down, be done, stop interrupting my writing time so I can have a clean slate week of writing. It’s important to me.  I HAVE DEADLINES! I want to shout “Stop the madness!”

But that is never going to happen. There is not going to be a huge, weeks-long pause in my life. The things I call interruptions are not madness, they are just a part of living. For instance, last week I planned six solid days of writing. I actually wrote very little. My regular pay-the-bills job needed attention. Family needed my attention.  My beautiful, sweet cat begged for my attention…repeatedly. Add a trip or two to the grocery store and the six days of nonstop writing I’d planned melted away.

I struggle with mixed feelings. I want to be available to family. I understand my cat’s need for attention. I have to get haircuts, dental checkups, and  vision exams. These are as much a part of my normal life as writing. I am working on being able to contain a large life, one that includes writing and meeting deadlines.

How to do that? How to keep interruptions and obstacles to writing in their proper place? Here are some suggestions others have made:
·     Quit writing. It’s causing too much stress.
·     Take an extended break. This feels like  a shortened version of quitting.
·     Extend the hours in the day available. For me, that means getting up earlier. For others it means writing late into the night.
·     Optimize your time. That’s a tough one because for many authors, the process of publishing now also requires managing our own promotions. Enter time spent on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
·     Ignore, ignore, ignore. I like this suggestion my husband gave me in my early years of writing. He told me to write. The housecleaning would always wait.

According to many experts, including author and entrepreneur Kevin Daum, for those willing to face some hard truths, obstacles can be overcome and interruptions can be transformed.

“First, it helps to understand that obstacles come in three different flavors: internal, external, and habitual,” he wrote for Inc.

There are times that external obstacles are out of our control and prompt us to rethink our goals and strategies. While internal obstacles are varied, they are issues we have control over and include available time and skill level, as well as internal beliefs that warn us to stop what we’re doing. Like internal obstacles, habitual obstacles require reflection and awareness about what is truly preventing us from doing what we want to do. Is it the voices of people who used to give you the message as a child or young adult that you were incapable of creating the life you wanted?

So what are some ways these interruptions and obstacles can be put in their place? For me, self-reflection and increased awareness has made a difference in how I use my time and how I approach my goals. It’s kind of a secret, but only you are entitled to making the choices that are right for you. Do you really need to clean the house as frequently as you do? Can you pay attention to your family and still claim enough time to yourself to accomplish your dreams? Can you take an honest look at the time-wasters in your daily life? Whether those activities are time-wasters or not is only up to you, and making a choice that supports your goals is for you to find self-discipline for. It may feel like you’re taking a big risk by implementing needed changes. What will your family say? Who will keep the cupboards full? Granted, it takes courage to stand up for ourselves and work out compromises, but expect the best and you might get it.

If trying to carve time for serious writing is getting you down, remember you can go inward and assess what is the real problem, you can take a hard look at how you spend your time, and you can use discipline to avoid too many time-wasters.

Also, to fire up your self-determination and claim your time, infuse your life with useful phrases and inspirational sayings. Follow on Twitter one or two quote sites, such as Motivational Quotes and Quote Soup. I love a good quote and I have many favorite quotes. Today, this one from Manifestation Miracle is really ringing for me: “Whatever you love, you want to make sure to hold onto it tight and get ready to fight off anything that gets in your way.”

What do you rely on to overcome obstacles to your writing goals?


HiDee said...

Nice post, Lynn. The solutions to my obstacles definitely vary, depending on what is happening in the rest of my life.

Angela Adams said...

Interesting post, Lynn. Often the only way I can ignore what's going on around me when I'm writing is closing the door and not answering the phone.

Lynn said...

Thanks, HiDee!

Lynn said...

I turn off sounds in my laptop and phone. Thanks for your thot, Angela!