This blog probably isn’t what you thought it was going to be, because your mind went right to the gutter didn’t it? Ha — that’s why we all get along so well. I couldn’t resist the sexy pun either.
Basically, thinking today about schedules again — what gets put on the back burner or thrown in the backseat, as it were. The last week or so has been rife with To Do lists — personal and professional. This year I’m more determined to avoid the crazy. That takes some planning. Last year, for whatever reason, I found myself writing too much. Yes, there is such a thing. It doesn’t make me happy — I was exhausted and had ignored a lot of other things, or was trying to squeeze them into slivers of time. I think my writing suffered for it, and so did I.
For me, the one big thing that can take a backseat when I’m busy with writing or life are promotion — promo to me is the least necessary thing to spend my time on. That might surprise some folks who think writers must promote all the time. (I have thoughts of Dr. McCoy growling “I’m a writer, not a salesman, dammit, Jim!”). I do some promotion (I’ll be part of a relatively massive blog tour thingy set up for the Strangers on a Train series coming out in April, for instance), and I just ordered 200 personalized pens. I’ll have to give them away to someone, or I’ll just have a lot of pens around the house for a while, I guess. I’m usually on Twitter or Facebook as part of my normal day (though a lot less these days, purposefully). But promo is definitely in the backseat — not tossed out the window altogether, but not a priority.
I was supposed to have a newsletter coming out in March…well, I have two May deadlines, so no newsletter. Hopefully in June. But I’m not going to stress myself out over it. So you know, we make choices. My sense is that my readers (and certainly my editors ) would prefer I prioritize my writing over promo, so that’s what I do. Besides, as we all know, books on the shelf are the best promotion out there.
Another thing that takes a backseat or gets put on the back burner, like many of us, is housework — I do the basics, but if I go a week or so without vacuuming, so be it. It’s not a tragedy — the dust will be there later. And you know, there’s another person in the house who can pick that up, and he often does.
Unfortunately, diet and exercise sometimes end up in the back seat, and that’s NOT a good thing. However, these things tend to suffer more when I am overscheduled, and part of my plan for this year is to NOT let these things go. If I have to stop writing short of my word goal for the day in order to get yoga done, then that’s what I’ll do.
Everything is about setting priorities, and priorities are not only about what you want to get done, but also how you want to feel about it. I like to be happy, relaxed as possible, and enjoy life — life is too short to be manic all the time. So I reshuffle my priorities and activities to make that happen. This year, I may have a much smaller, manageable garden, so that that doesn’t become too much work. I can get things I don’t grow at the farmer’s market. We have some home reno that needs to be done, but we’ll hire out where we can. Some evenings, I won’t do anything but sit around and watch Property Brothers. Some days, I may skip writing so I can make progress on a quilt. And doing this, I still expect 3 more books out this year, and at least five new book releases in 2014.
I think this is, in the end, what makes not only a happier person, but a better writer, and both of those things are my aim. How about you? What are you putting in the backseat, and how are you setting up your priorities for the year?