Last February, I blogged about a nice metaphor my friend Susan Blakeney uses when it comes to organizing her life. Life is a jar, and you have a bunch of things that you want to fit in it. Sand and seashells, and maybe a few golf balls.
Yeah, the golf balls still seem weird to me too. Big rocks might work better with the sand and seashells. But Sue said golf balls, and I trust Sue, so I go with it.
The point is that if you put the little things in first, the golf balls won’t fit. So the golf balls, the things that are important in your life, are the things you have to put in first. The other stuff can fit in around them.
I’m having one of those months where time is low and stress is high. It happens, right? Anyhow, I let my writing slide. I had met my deadlines and had no others looming, so the only person I was accountable to on the writing front was… me.
And there was a course to plan, and volunteer work to do, and all the rush of back-to-school with my daughter. Trips to take. Appointments and plans and favours for friends and… well, you know how it goes.
Writing can be an addiction. When I go too long without it, my skin feels itchy and too small. I snap at people. I’m distracted. There’s this sweaty-palmed anxious feeling that I just can’t shake.
And I think it’ll get better if I clear my to-do list, so I work away at the little stuff — the sand and the shells and all the things that are keeping me from writing. Some of them are even writing related, like blogging and doing critiques for other people. I figure that once I’ve got that stuff out of the way, I’ll be able to write again. I’ll be able to breathe.
But it doesn’t work that way, because the thing about to-do lists is, they don’t go away. Stuff comes off, stuff goes on. It’s a cycle. I don’t know why I keep forgetting that.
I need to write. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a writer, and chances are you need to write too. (Do you get that sweaty-palmed feeling, too, if it’s been too long? Never mind. Don’t answer that.)
So here’s my advice to you, and to me as well. Write. Write anyhow, write no matter what. Do it first. Because even if the only person you’re answerable to is yourself, you still count.
Writing is a golf ball. Don’t let it get away.