Distractions vs. Priorities

I am currently working on two short stories at once. One is for a Kickstarter anthology open call, and the other is a wonderful shared worlds anthology I have had a request to submit to. I am now working to two deadlines, and at a time when my dearest friend, confidant and sister is facing her own most horrible and inexorable deadline with brain cancer. So, of course here I am up-dating my blog. Why? Don’t writers need to be diligent? Nose to grindstone? Stay on track, butt to chair and all that? My answer is yes, of course.

All that, but I do believe we are complex beings as well. We need to understand ourselves and what is blocking us.

Sometimes we just feel lazy (it’s summer I want to go lie in the sun) sometimes defeated (what makes you think you stand a hedgehog’s chance against a mallet you can make it into this amazing anthology? With these incredibly successful and diligent authors?) We can meet most distractions like this with force and determination. (Butt in chair first, you slacker. Don’t think, just do.) But at other times it’s our failure to look up from our thwarted, anguished page and see that what we’re facing is our own physical and emotional torment. Ignoring our reasons for procrastination is as bad as hitting ourselves over the head with a hammer because it feels good when we stop.

Sometimes we must seem to let go in order to hold on.

So I have. I have put the longer WIP on hold 40K short of completion. A hard choice. It is a project very dear to my soul and I have an editorial request for it. Setting it aside might be fatal. But not an error. Not now. Career vs Family? No contest. I have looked my guilt straight in its mean little face and seen her for the varmint she is. My first priority is family and my own emotional health.

There are times I let the ebb and flow of the ocean take me. It’s healing just to watch it and not think at all. At others I re-finish furniture, draw silly cartoons, work in my garden, write poetry, talk to friends on Facebook. I have allowed myself to cut back while keeping up my morning pages, this blog, and a few short fiction subs. Rawness, dear reader, is not the same as distraction. Nor is it a reason to stop living either. As author Graham Joyce put it in own final blog post: “Just cherish it all.” And raw as it is, I intend to.

I would love to hear what you think.

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