Thursday, April 10, 2014

Setting boundaries

I'm not leaving the house today. Maybe tomorrow too. I'm dressed in gym shorts and a T-shirt. My bottle of water is nearby, on the table. My TV is off and my phone . . .well, my phone has caller ID so I will answer when my daughter calls me in about one hour.

But that's it.

What's wrong with me?

We moved here about a month ago. I'm unpacked, settled in this villa and made a few acquaintances. But I haven't gotten organized with my writer life. I scanned a few blogs this am and noticed many other writers struggling with the same problem.

We work at home and home calls us, friends call us, the beautiful weather calls us---all during the time we should be hard at work writing.

I'm in the middle of edits for a book I would love to see published some day. I finished it last fall and then all this move stuff happened. My plan is to send it off to a freelance editor by mid-summer. Maybe sooner if I can get my writing partner to critique it before then.

That's my goal. To accomplish this goal I have to make some major decisions--like treating my time at home more like work. (It isn't easy telling your one and only daughter who lives across the country in another time zone to not call me three times a day.)

I checked my time on Tuesday and noted that five hours had passed and all I had accomplished was a run to the grocery store, mopped one floor and prepared supper. Two hours of that times was spent on the phone with friends.

Sure we need that time with others. I need that time with others. But I also need to treat my writing with more commitment.

How about you? What takes you away from writing and the goals you've set?


Carol Garvin said...

Good for you, Terri! I've always believed that if we don't take our writing seriously, it's not logical to expect anyone else will either. If we hope to make a career of writing then we have to treat it as a commitment like any other job would be, and set a writing routine that we honour and require our friends and family to honour, too. But I know how hard it is.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Right now my writing is going super slow, thanks to a whole load of things. Terri, we all should set side strict timings for our writing because as we writers work from home we tend to take our writing time for granted.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Oh my yes. I am working on this. One thing I decided to do after reading your FB status on the subject was to follow the advice of one of your commenters to put God first and everything will fall into place. So first thing every morning instead of opening my laptop as I've been doing, now I open my Bible and my journal and have study, prayer and meditation time. I have faith that as I do this, everything else will fall into place. It's an act of faith I'm taking to rescue my organizational skills, or rather the lack of them!

Becky L. said...

I find myself reading blogs and not getting work done in my office space. Now that Easter is coming and I need to have small table cleared for 2 grandchildren to eat at, I must clear it off. Which means spend time doing it. Tomorrow, for sure, since I'm home for a good stretch of time, by myself. Hope your writing time improves and your book gets published soon! Hugs!

Susan said...

What takes me away from writing?

Same as you, Terri. Life!

So much to do and not enough time in which to do it. So it's good to set goals.

I write feature stories for a newspaper so when I get an assignment, I have to make an interview and spent time with the person who is the subject matter for a story.

This morning, a block of time is being set aside just for that. Then, the writing comes later.

Have a great day----writing! Susan

Lin Floyd said...

deadlines help even self imposed!

Karen Lange said...

I struggle with this daily. Working at home leaves much room for distraction and it takes a lot of discipline (at least for me) to keep moving forward in the writing department. You are right, when people know you are home, they think that means you are available anytime. With the exception of instances like your daughter calling (cause that is important:), this can be a challenge.

Writing works best for me when I screen calls and don't get online. I am working on setting better boundaries. Thanks for the inspiration! Hope you find the right balance. :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Following your lead, I purchased Cec Murphy's book on Kindle. Fabulous read. Let's see - I have an entire speaking session to finish before next Thursday and I've been working on the same 1000 words for several days now. Reading Cec's book has been an encouragement to me to just get at it, put something down and edit later ... and pray for those days when it flows out like water!

I guess my biggest excuse for not writing is my homeschooling. We have three more weeks; once we're done, I'm going to work diligently on this 3rd book I'm writing. I promise. Right now, I'm doing well to write one reflection per week.

I really do want to continue to write; this is when I feel most alive (and most stressed;)). Keep to it, friend. You'll find your rhythm soon.

Cheryl Wright said...

Facebook - not so much posting myself but reading status updates and following links my friends post. All day and inbetween cooking and cleaning and laundry.

Some days I ask myself, "When did you become such a Facebook junkie and when are you going to kick this bad (stalling, mind-numbing, writing-destroying ...) habit. I respond with an embarrassed, shame-faced look and a wash of guilt.

A few weeks ago, I decided that cold turkey was not the best way to go about it. I have some Facebook friends who keep we informed, inspired and supplied with that vital health-boosting element called laughter.

Instead, I began weaning myself off Facebook. I've got a ways to go stillbbefore I settle into a well-balanced routine of checking in for no longer than 30 minutes, reading and/posting and checking out to focus on my writing.

That's not to say that I'm on top of things. Hell no! I fall off the wagon every two or three days. The good news is that I recognize my failure when my butt begins to hurt and I have no writing to show for it.

So what do you say, we pray each other through our respective troubles, addictions and bad habits and into a healthy writing habit that yields the creative, productive and successful outcomes we dream of?

Thanks so much for sharing your story and struggles and inspiring me to share mine and to stop feeling alone and ashamed.

Sending you wishes for blissful writng sessions in the days, weeks and months ahead.

DDD said...

I love it. You expressed so well. Good luck on you book!!!

Margo Berendsen said...

I've been visiting your blog on and off for close to 4 years now and my goodness you have moved around a lot! (reading a few of your recent posts). After a big change I always give myself some time to settle in before getting back my usual writing schedule.

Cheryl Klarich said...

Oh my... I am the Queen of Excuses... so I'm not even going to start... :)

All I can say is, you've handled things in a jaw dropping, amazing, super-organized!!! way. Wow.

May God bless you and give you peace, joy, and the productivity you desire. But most of all, know that He loves you no matter what the word count!!!!

Happy Easter!

Carol Riggs said...

Ah yes, sometimes you have to force yourself for some more structure if you want to write. Hard to do! But I know you can do it. :) Start with an hour per day and work your way up. Put it on your list of thing to do!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Good for you, girl. If you keep regular hours, like you would with a "real" job, and let people know you are WORKING, it might help. But some people never get it, even when they see your name on books and articles.

My distractions are people--my husband, my mom, and my cats. Oh, yes, they are people--they just have fur suits!

Liza said...

I do the most of my writing between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning when no one bothers me. Anything I get done at other times I consider gravy, because life constantly tugs at us.