Thursday, April 03, 2008

On Shirking Obligations

I have made a decision. I have decided that the time for writing is now. I have decided that now is when I begin to build the writing life I have dreamed of.

I know. Good for me, but you can’t do this. You have obligations. You have reasons you cannot write right now. And if you believe you have things that keep you from being able to write, you are correct. You do. I can't fault you for that. I had things for years that kept me from being able to do more than scribble parts of stories and lists of story ideas.

But then I realized, just recently, that I only thought I had things keeping me from writing. I discovered that they weren’t actually there. They were figments of my imagination, phantoms born of my fears. And I turned away from them, and I saw that now is the time to write.

And someday—really, it will happen; don’t worry—the time will be right for you to turn away from your stumbling blocks and begin to write.

How do I know? Been there, done that. You’re thinking, “What does she know? She doesn’t know my life.” True. But I know about stumbling blocks. I know about writing. And I know a lot about not writing. And lately I’m starting to learn a lot about priorities.

What’s important to you? I always say “writing” and “stories." When I finally, really looked at my answers, I had to ask myself some hard questions. What am I filling my life with? Am I giving top priority to the things I love? If I die tomorrow, will anyone be able to say that I followed my passions? I want good answers to these questions. I do not want someone to write “she always did the dishes” on my tombstone!

Yes, dishes are important. I’m trying to learn that and balance it with my dreams. My beloved and I are creative people. We love to make things. We do not love to clean things or put things away. Right now, I’m living in a disaster area, and it does negatively affect my outlook and sometimes my output. So I’m not saying keeping house isn’t important. It’s just not that important.

If you go home and work at chores for several hours, cooking and cleaning and laundering and so on, and you don’t get any writing done, and this happens day after day…It’s time to take a step back. Ask yourself how important those dishes really are. Anyone can do the dishes. No one else can write or create what you can.

Make yourself a deal. Pursue your passions first, but set yourself a time limit. Get home, eat something, work on your dreams. Then, give yourself 15 minutes or 30 minutes or an hour, whatever you need, and take that time for the housework. Give yourself a longer time for this once or twice a week to make sure things get/stay in good shape. But do not make busy work, even useful busy work, your priority. Your passions must be your priority. You must get those creative dreams out into the world. Because no one else can do what you can do, and no one else can give us the things your dreams can build.

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