Thursday, January 31, 2013

Balancing the Priorities

Daily Word count : 1,107
Total Word count on the WIP : 9,411

Sometimes I think the most difficult thing in life is setting priorities. Setting the direction you want to spend each moment of your life.  Balancing all the things we want.  I've figured out three things about the balance in my life.

1.) I require other people to keep me accountable. 

I tried going to the gym by myself for two years. I went sporadically, but  would often skip weeks at a time. When I made a commitment to go lift weights with a friend, I manage to go, even when she doesn't, because in my brain it is marked down in permanent marker as "Go to Gym with Friend Lizardface." 

(She doesn't look like a lizard. But she had a bad reaction one day to eating shellfish, and she called me to wail, "I have a face like a LIZARD. I have lizard-face!" The name has sort of stuck, but in my defense, she posted THIS picture of me to Facebook and is therefore not a good person.)

Seriously? I was trying to grab some lunch before I went back out to fight, and I was starving. Who takes a picture of a friend when they look like that?!  Lizardface. That's who.

That is the singularly most awful picture of me ever taken. Also, I leave the hyphen out of Lizardface because she is a librarian and it makes her nuts.

I didn't get much done on my novel until I joined a writer's group. We meet weekly, and take turns submitting. So every three weeks, I have to have SOMETHING done. And sadly, it usually gets done the day or so before I'm supposed to submit. 

But it gets DONE. That's the thing. The progress is slow, but there IS progress. And it's all due to other people keeping me honest.

2.) I admit that I only have room to prioritize four things at once.

The problem with this is I have about seven things I'd LIKE to prioritize.  Cleaning the house, making healthy meals and eating regularly, going to the gym, writing, armored combat, caring for the Buggit, and my calligraphy & illumination artwork. 

What do you mean we're out of bananas?!
Three of those slots are filled at the moment with baby care, cooking food, and the gym.  That means that writing fights with the other three for my time and attention. And the house does NOT get cleaned nearly enough. (Though cleaning a house with a 19 month old is sort of a Sisyphean task anyways.)  It means if I wanted to focus as completely on writing as I SHOULD, that the other things that make me happy (and keep my marriage functional) would suffer. So I've had to accept that even though I should be spending an hour or two a day on submissions, and at least two hours a day on writing, (about the time to get 700 words on an average day.), it's not going to happen, because SOMEONE has to do the dishes, and my husband works 12 hours a day so I can stay home with the Destroyer of Worlds.

When the baby is bigger perhaps I'll have more room for priorities, but right now, that is all there is.

3.) Trying to squeeze more time for extra priorities by sacrificing sleep, healthy meals, or regular exercise is REALLY STUPID counter-productive.

Turns out when I don't get enough sleep, my mood tanks, and I get more susceptible to fears, worries, beating myself up, depression, and other stupid stuff. The baby has had me on a regimen of sleep deprivation for the last 19 months, because she simply does NOT sleep through the night. Never has. At this point, I don't believe she ever will. Any further sacrifice of sleep is punitively painful the next day. If it happens two days in a row, I'm almost unable to function the third day. So staying up late to write until 2 a.m.? Can't happen for my own sanity. There are writers with kids who can do it, and I applaud their superhuman abilities. I can't. And I have reluctantly come to accept that.

Eating junk food? Affects my mood severely. I like cooking, and I'm an excellent cook. Sacrificing going grocery shopping and making dinner for time and Wendy's tends to send me into moody tailspins. I don't know why, but fast food with lots of grease and salt really screws with my emotional stability. Guilt over eating the fatty food? Neurotransmitter reactions? Don't know.  Had to accept that too.

Not exercising.  This was the newest epiphany, and it took me two years to really come around to believing, but when I make it to the gym regularly, I'm generally more productive over all for the rest of the day. Serotonin, endorphins, more neurotransmitters? Could be, but I've accepted that I get more done and am generally happier when I exercise regularly. Also, the gym has free daycare for 2 hours a day. So I get some non-baby sanity time. Also very good for me. :D

What hard lessons did you have to learn about priorities in your life?

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