Why Write?

Did you ever get tired of apologizing for not getting stuff done that you were supposed to?

I know I do. But if I consider how to avoid this situation, the answer comes down to selecting a more manageable to-do list.

I remember a manager at work long ago telling me, “You’ve got a new baby. You’re a wife and you’re an employee. On some level you are doomed to fail at all three. If you prioritize your kids, which you do, then you’ve got to accept occasional failures. You are like one of those guys balancing spinning plates on top of poles. As you get more and more going, occasionally some are going to crash to the ground. The trick is to ignore the crashes and make everyone pay attention to all the plates still in the air.”

I’ve often thought of that analogy. I’ve got my writing plate, my critique-group plate, my publish-new-books plate, pay-the-bills, walk-the-dog, spend-time-with-family plate, help-son-with-college-applications plate, Boy-Scout-committee plate. Oops, my clean-the-house plate just went crashing to the ground (again), shovel-snow, grocery-shopping, day-job, making-dinner. Oops, washing-clothes plate crashed to the ground.

We’re all busy. I don’t have any friends who talk about having an excess of free time. The easiest thing is just to admit defeat and say, “I’m too busy.” No one could blame you. Why not?

Why not indeed.

Sometimes I think I don’t quit just because I’m too ornery to admit defeat. Saying I’m too busy to write and publish, when I’ve set up my own publishing company would pretty much mean I’m admitting I’m wrong. Bleck, how distasteful would that be.

But it goes beyond that. If I say I have no time to write, then it is easy to resent the other things in my life that take time, primarily family obligations. And when I succeed at writing and publishing, then I am happier and therefore achieve more in every area of my life. Mostly, you have to REALLY want those ‘extra goals’, the ones where no one is going to ask you why you stopped. I know I do.

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