Dear Fellow Writers…May Message

cmkwritermama.gifRe: Prioritizing On the Fly

On any given weekday, my home and office swirl with activities and to-dos.

Take this morning, for instance. I’m just sitting down “to work;” however I’ve been busy since 6:00 a.m. I cleared my desk, drank coffee, sorted papers generated yesterday, collected money and checks to deposit, drank more coffee, sorted personal mail, read work e-mail, hugged Samantha and got her in the tub, asked my husband to take the puppies to the park in my stead (it’s a teacher workday—yes!), drafted a blog entry, asked my husband to get Samantha out of the tub and take her to childcare, and made my to-do list for the rest of the day and next week.

Keep in mind that I am taking full advantage of my husband’s availability this morning. Normally, I would do all of these things just mentioned AND take the puppies to the dog park (a half hour), drop Jason at school and my daughter at childcare (fifteen minutes), and then be back to pick her up for lunch (an hour), walk her to school (fifteen minutes), take the puppies out for a short walk (twenty minutes), and pick Samantha up at 2:40 from preschool (fifteen minutes).

And this just gets us to the afternoon…but you get the idea.

It is now 9:00 a.m. and I’m just sitting down at my desk to tackle what’s on my list and start my official workday.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I consider myself one of the luckiest people on the planet to have such a rich personal and work life, often intermingled as they are. HOWEVER, it is a lot to manage on any given day, especially since I’ve made the switch from journalist/writing instructor/speaker to author/writing instructor/speaker.

Don’t even get me started on that. Suffice it to say that my days are suddenly full of unforeseen demands like planning appearances and promoting myself prior to those appearances; and let’s not forget that I have to care for my puppies and daughter so that I can show up at various venues scattered around two rather large states.

No problem, right?

Well, the reality is that it’s all a pretty big adjustment. If I weren’t living a lot of the principles that I talk about in “Writer Mama” (producing myself, trusting my instincts, and grabbing any little measly scrap of time I can find), I would be sunk, for sure.

Another word for this is prioritizing. I prioritize by gut. I make lists, sketch plans, run whatever’s on my mind by sympathetic listeners, and then I just jump in there and get it all done as best I can. I’m not going to lie to you–I’m not going to win any Martha Stewart live-alike contests. But you know what? Once you get used to this prioritizing on-the-fly stuff, you can get pretty good at it. And that’s what writers need to do. Because the writing career you have today will not be the same writing career you have tomorrow. And if you want change and growth, you’re going to have to become willing to prioritize: either on the fly, as I do, or in your own unique way.

Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids teaches, speaks, coaches, and inspires writers to new career heights. She is publisher and editor of two e-mail newsletters, Writers on the Rise and The Writer Mama. Christina strives to balance her roles as a wife, mother, and multiple pet-owner with her calling as a writer and writing career synergizer. She cherishes the reflective moments cultivated in the corners of an otherwise busy life, preferably with a cup of tea, pen and pad of paper handy.

3 Responses to “Dear Fellow Writers…May Message”

  1. 1 Karen M. Lynch May 10, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Seems I prioritize on the fly as well … I was the one working on my laptop in bed this morning while my husband showered, my dog slept in (had I left the bed, this might not have been the case), my kids played in their rooms (miraculous) and I sipped my first cup of coffee.

    But I got my own daily blog post done before I started making breakfasts, school lunches and to do lists!

  2. 2 Mia King May 11, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Great post, Christina! Execution is my biggest problem at the moment – I am too easily distracted and, when faced with a deadline, GREAT at procrastinating even though every free moment counts. I’m more of a late night person than morning person, which doesn’t really work with my kids. I’m still nursing my youngest, which means I get sleepy when he does, but then I stay awake to get things done. Only problem is, my kids are then up at the crack of dawn and I’ve had a few hours’ of sleep and I’m beat! My husband helps a lot (good husband!) but I need to work on sticking with the game plan a little more. I’m juggling a lot (who isn’t?) so I need to just hunker down and focus, at least for these next few months as we have so much going on.


  1. 1 Prioritizing on the Fly (from the May Writers on the Rise) « Writer Mama Riffs on Raising A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids Trackback on May 10, 2007 at 3:49 am
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