Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Getting Started

Geralt via Pixabay
As much as I love to write, some days, it's hard to get started. Other tasks swirl around in my head, insisting on their supreme importance. Some are necessary, others mere distractions, but both serve to throw up roadblocks, forcing me to assess my options and prioritize.

Take today, for example. I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which means that Wednesday planning is important. Wednesday, however, is also my writing accountability day -- the day I meet a friend who is also a writer and we pull up a table at Starbucks and write. We also talk and waste time, of course, but we always get a lot accomplished.

In addition, I blog both here and on Organizing by STYLE on Wednesdays, so it's easy to use up all of my writing time just writing blogs.

It's a conundrum.

But, as anyone who has children knows, when they need attention, it's best for everyone if they are given that attention. They're happier (and emotionally healthier) when their needs are met and everyone around them benefits as well.

So, I opted to look at those pesky thoughts in the same way. A little attention here, a little attention there and a lot of attention to the main event. I set the timer on my phone, tackle each small task for a designated amount of time, and then dig into my writing with a clear conscience.

I still love my sprints, too, but some days, I just can't start there. When my focus is elsewhere, my writing goes nowhere except astray. Instead of starting off my day with a feeling of accomplishment, I start off feeling scattered and frustrated.

The longer I do this, the more I discover that every writer needs to have more than one tool in her toolbox. The thing that holds my toolbox together is accountability. Whether it's to myself, to my characters or to my writing peers, accountability keeps me on track, and helps me decide which tool to use on which day.

And for that, I am grateful.

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