Every day we tell ourselves no.
We tell ourselves that our writing must wait. We tell ourselves that we need more time and more money. We tell ourselves we’ll focus on our writing when we have fewer obligations, and less stress, and things calm down. We brainwash ourselves into believing it isn’t time.
And so our writing waits. It waits for us to find more time and slow down. It waits for our kids to grow up, and our bank accounts to be full, and the holidays to be over, and the summer to come, and then the summer to be over.
It waits. And waits.
Our writing waits patiently for its turn, knowing that someday you’ll back up those claims that you love it, and it makes you come alive, and it’s one of the most important things in your life. Someday, you’ll prove it.
You CAN make your writing your first priority. You can do it now. You can do it today. You simply have to stand up against all the resistance and the belief that other things are somehow more important. Break your patterns. Make a plan. It’s not about trying harder. It’s about getting your priorities straight and trying DIFFERENTLY!
This week I decided to put my money where my mouth is. I decided to put my writing first. I decided to do something different.
I had a long heart-to-heart conversation with my husband, then I adjusted my schedule and cancelled unnecessary commitments, and I bought a plane ticket. On Tuesday, I’m flying to Maine where I’m going to spend the next THREE WEEKS writing. That’s it. Three weeks of writing and nothing else. I’m sponsoring my own personal one-gal writing retreat. I’m getting away from my normal life and my normal patterns. I’m getting out of my comfort zone and the daily grind to give myself three weeks of uninterrupted writing time to dig in and focus.
I don’t just preach all this “put-writing-first-mumbo-jumbo.” I choose to live it.
And trust me, this isn’t easy. It’s a BIG financial burden for me to take three weeks away from my day job … unpaid. But what I gain by giving myself this space … is priceless. This time is going to mean far more to me than whatever I might churn out during my normal daily grind. And it’s ONLY three weeks. It’s amazing that such a small amount of time can seem like such a burden, but in reality it’s so little in the larger scheme of things. We should be giving ourselves gifts like this all the time.
Three weeks in Maine also means three weeks away from social media and the internet. I make no guarantees that I’ll film videos, write blog posts, send out newsletters, tweet, or post on Facebook and Instagram. It’s possible I will, but guess what … it’s not my first priority! So, if you don’t hear from me for the next month, take that silence as a reminder there is space in this big, loud, noisy, and constantly busy-busy-busy world for YOU and your writing. There absolutely is! You just have to take it.
Don’t believe me? Well, the first thing you have to do is call out that voice in your head. Yup, I’m talking about the one that RIGHT NOW is saying: “Well, good for you Ingrid, that’s nice that YOU can take a hiatus from your life. But…”
But what? What?
Seriously, tell the truth. You were 100% making excuses for why this is something that works for my life but not yours. Weren’t you?
THAT’s whats holding us back! That unquestioned instinct to say no, without ever thinking about the possibility of yes.
What if you said YES instead?
What if you asked: Why not? What’s holding me back? What if I can?
What if you CAN!!!!
Or try this: Make a list of all the things you think are holding you back. Take stock of how many items are mental blocks that you think you must do, but really you can choose not to do (Aka: I have to take care of XYZ. I promised so-and-so XYZ. It would be so selfish of me to…). Of course, other items on your list will need planning (childcare, time off, etc.). But none of these are impossible.
Now make a second list outlining concrete ways you can overcome these road blocks. Stop telling yourself you can’t have it, and start asking yourself how you CAN have it.
Make a plan that fills your heart and fuels your creativity. Stop telling your writing you love it and you want to make it a priority. Show it instead. That’s the classic writing lesson after all: show, not tell.
Show yourself you can.
Happy writing everyone! I’ll see you in a month.