To be successful writers, we are encouraged to set goals, make writing a priority, establish a daily routine, stick to it, and we do. We set word goals, weekly goals, join challenges, write story prompts, and enter contests, all in an effort to improve our craft, establish a platform, and reach the ultimate goal – A completed novel, publications in a prestigious literary magazine, and validation.
However, life isn’t always that simple.
I attended my critique group for the first time in six months or so. It was like a breath of fresh air and a shot of energizing encouragement. Maybe, I would resume writing. I hadn’t stopped writing, I couldn’t write. It wasn’t desire, time, or writer’s block. I just couldn’t write. I have an autoimmune disease which I’ve lived with since 1983. Last June my disease became active and the last year has been a battle. In times like these, you choose your battles and rearrange priorities.
I’ve read a number of articles recently about finishing the things you start. I believe that is an admirable value and goal, one I do my best to live by. I have two novels and memoir I plan to finish, when is not as clear now as before. I realize diehard writers will say you can find five minutes a day to write. Hell, I think in one my last blogs, I said ten minutes. Sometimes, we have to eat our words.
The truth is it boils down to choices, sometimes you have one, sometimes you don’t, and sometimes you have to make one.
When I began writing, I wanted to leave a legacy to my children and grandchildren, something they could hand down. I thought completing my novel would be a wonderful accomplishment for them to remember me by. We all want to be remembered.
This year has been tough not just on me, but our entire family. I’m improving, but as I prepare to sit today with my forty-year-old, step-daughter for her first round of chemotherapy for stage three breast cancer, comfort the other step-daughter as she helps her forty-three year-old husband through his first heart attack, or babysit my grandchildren when my daughter is recovering from an acute Crohn’s attack, my priorities must change.
I’m not negating all the advice we receive as writers to work hard toward success. I embrace them, I too pass them on and encourage others to set those same goals and priorities. I love to write, I want to write, and hope one day to have books and stories for my children and grandchildren to pass down. But, the legacy I want most to leave is, Mom was always there when we needed her.
Do you choose your writing priorities or do they choose you?