On prioritization

Aug 14

Well friends, I’ve officially passed the 40,000 word mark on my novel. It’s kind of crazy to think about how that many words have already spilled out of this brain (though, granted, a lot of them are the same words, just used in different ways, hahaha). I’d say at this point I’m almost two-thirds of the way through the story, which is exciting… and terrifying. I’ve been putting a lot of time into writing lately, which is obviously good, but it’s also taking a bit of a toll on some of my other responsibilities.

As most of you already know, writing is not my full-time job (yet?). I have a day job, I write a freelance column for a local newspaper, and I also maintain another blog. Between juggling my writing, my other blog, my actual pays-the-bills job, my relationship, seeing my friends, spending time with my family, and other things, it can be a challenge to prioritize myself properly. I’ve already written about finding the time to write, but this is a little bit different. It’s about figuring out what things to devote myself to at what point.

So far, I think I’m doing okay. I’ve managed to go from 3,000 words at the beginning of June to over 10x that simply by buckling down. And my current word count doesn’t even include additional scenes I’ve already written but won’t be added in until later in the book. But other things are definitely suffering. The content of my other blog is hurting. It is (or was?) a weight loss-focused blog, and I’m not really focusing on my weight loss right now, since that is something I fully acknowledge I am NOT prioritizing right now. Beyond that, though, there are also friends I haven’t seen in months. Things I need to do, that I keep putting off. And I can’t say that my stress-level is at an all time low right now.

Of course, some of you might be thinking that if I’m stressed, it’s my own fault since this is an undertaking I’ve chosen to pursue. That, if writing this book is stretching me too thin, I should take a break, or devote just a little less time to it. You may have a point, but (and this is going to sound incredibly cheesy, but I’m rolling with it anyway) to me, continuing to write  doesn’t really feel like a choice anymore. I’ve already got 14 chapters of setting, character development, excitement, and intrigue going on. Slowing down at this point doesn’t really seem like an option.

I’m not writing this to complain. Life is pretty good right now, actually. It’s just also very… crowded. I understand now better than ever why being an author really is a full-time job (though I never really supported the idea that it wasn’t, I know a lot of people who unfortunately do). Not only does it take time to crank out story elements and characters that are engaging and compelling, but it’s also exhausting. Here’s hoping I continue being able to find a good balance, eh?

Of note: my college friend, Lena, just recently self-published her first novel! We actually were in the same creative writing classes together our senior year, so it’s incredibly inspiring to see her going through the process that I, too, hope to undertake. She’s sending me a copy of her book to read, and I can’t wait for it to arrive!

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