You have this great idea for a book and you’ve even started writing it. But somewhere, somehow, you lost steam and it just doesn’t feel like it’s a priority right now. A family member is ill. Your job is demanding overtime. You said yes to organizing the church potluck. You volunteer at your kid’s school, or scouts, or the local food bank. Maybe your house flooded and you’ve got to deal with that. Something always happens that tends to take precedence over your writing dreams. Let me ask you a question. How important is your writing to you?
How important is staying alive? You eat, right? Go to sleep at night, right? Make sure the bills are paid? The kids have food, clothing, and a house to live in, and you make them go to school, right? So beyond the basics, things get a little muddled. Priority means “the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important” or “a thing that is regarded as more important than another”. Is your writing more important than your health or your family? Probably not. I ask you again: how important is your writing to you?
As a multi-passionate individual (hello, writing and running!), we have a tendency to take on a lot. We say YES to things at work, to book recommendations, to friends who want to go out, to family members who need help. Most humans feel bad about turning these offers down. Not to mention, every idea that crosses our mind, and every race we feel compelled to participate in. You might sometimes feel that you can’t do it all. But you can!
When you prioritize your passions, others will finally know that you don’t just enjoy them, but that they’re actually important to you. When something is important to you, you make it a priority. And that’s how you can have your cake and eat it too. You can’t really write and run at the same time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue both of your passions and have a life too.
Every time I’ve trained to run a marathon, half marathon, or a 10k race, I’ve made my running a priority. Finishing the race is important to me. Not finishing dead last is important to me. For those who want to make a new PR or place in their age division, then finishing the race within a certain time is an important goal.
When I was looking for a literary agent, it was important that I had several manuscripts ready to submit. If they liked the one I submitted, I needed to have another one ready in case they asked, “Do you have anything else?” or “What else are you working on?” My writing was always a priority to learn more about the craft, to practice my craft, and to learn more about the industry.
But when I got my first agent, I got lazy. I stopped writing. It wasn’t a priority. It was about a year later when we parted ways - due to many factors. But that’s when I realized I hadn’t continued making my writing a priority. It didn’t take long to find another agent, but this time, my writing remained a priority.
Most beginning writers are trapped in the tug-and-pull of getting the writing done. They’re stressed, discouraged, and not confident in their plan to finish their manuscript.
If you’re not making the progress you want with your book, you’ll never get to experience the writing life you hoped for when you decided you wanted to write your story.
Here are three ways to rethink your priorities so you can stop drowning in discouragement and procrastination and spend more time doing what you truly love - writing the story that made you want to write a book to begin with.
Why Your Passions Should Be a Priority
It’s easy to tell what someone’s priorities are. Just look at where their focus is.
What they do with their time. Are they watching TV for 2, 3, 4, 5 hours a day? They say the yard is important and it needs to be mowed, because they care about how their house looks in the neighborhood, but when they don’t DO it, it’s clearly not a priority at that moment.
Here are three reasons why your passions should be a priority:
5 Critical Questions to Ask Yourself About Prioritizing Your Passions
If you’re struggling with making time for your writing and running, ask yourself these five critical questions about prioritizing your passions. Rate them on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the most. If you score less than 30, then your writing and running will probably never be a priority for you.
5 Reasons Why It’s Hard to Prioritize Your Writing (or Running)
Do you feel like you never have the time to spend on your writing? Like you keep pushing your runs to the back burner? Do you find that everything else in life bubbles up around you and buries your passions to the bottom of your to-do list? If so, it’s likely because you haven’t learned how to prioritize them yet.
Here are five reasons why it’s hard to prioritize your writing (or running):
How Do You Prioritize Your Writing and Running?
Now that you understand why your passions should be a priority in your life, you’ve confirmed that writing and running are indeed passions you’re willing to pursue, and you know why it’s sometimes hard to prioritize them, what can you do about it? Here are 20 things that can help your running and writing become more of a priority in your life. When you focus on what’s important, it becomes a priority. A lot of these items will help you focus.
Keep writing, keep running.
Christie Wright Wild
Founder, Writers Who Run
Creator, Plot Like a Novelist
My Dandelion Wish Journal: A 5-Year Guided Nature Journal
101 Fun Creative Writing Exercises: Become a Better Writer in 14 Minutes a Day