Prioritize! Prioritize! Prioritize!

Thanks to Glenda C. Beall for inspiring this post. In her latest blog entry, “What Defines Your Life? You Choose.” she talks about finding time to write in the midst of family and other obligations. 

Before I became a full time writer, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home. When I developed an interest in writing, people said, “Don’t quit your day job.” It was hard to find time to write when I wasn’t working.

When I got married, my husband Bill encouraged me to quit my job. He was also disabled and assured me that between his and my social security benefits, we could make ends meet without me having to work. Since I wanted to write full time, I jumped at the chance to do so.

However, I still had plenty of other obligations. After the wedding, I had to send a multitude of thank you letters to those who sent or brought gifts or money. Bill hired a friend to put up a Website for me, and I was busy putting together material for that. He also bought me a new computer, and since it was a PC, and I’d been using a Mac, I had to learn how to use the new computer and transfer my files from the old to the new system.

Three months later when things finally settled down, Bill suffered his first  stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side, and when I wasn’t traipsing back and forth to the nursing home while he was recovering, I was on the phone to doctors and other professionals in an attempt to manage his care and filling out paperwork for a loan to buy a different house that could more easily be made wheelchair accessible.

When he was discharged from the nursing  home eight months later, I became a full time family caregiver. This meant dressing him, helping him go to the bathroom, giving him his medications, not to mention preparing meals, and doing laundry and other chores.

To make a long story short, he’s gone now, and I have plenty of time on my hands, but I still have to prioritize. I’m still asked if I play my guitar and sing at the nursing home, but I always say I don’t have time. I do have time to work on my memoir, write an occasional poem or story, update my blog and Website, send material to publications, and do various chores associated with positions I hold in several writers’ organizations to which I belong. At the end of the day, I have time to stretch out in my husband’s recliner and read a good book written by someone else who is probably scrambling to find time to write.

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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6 thoughts on “Prioritize! Prioritize! Prioritize!

  1. Prioritizing is crucial for success, or at least doing what needs to be done. Though I’d like to surf Facebook and Twitter, I write blog posts to promote my books. Though I’d love to watch old videos, I search the web for book promotion opportunities. Though I’d love to listen to e-mail newsletters this evening, the lawn needs mowing before it becomes too difficult to cut. Though I’d love to groove to my favourite tunes on my MP3 player, I listen to The Writer magazine so I can find useful tips. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 says there’s a time for every purpose under heaven. The key is to know what time to do which activities.

  2. Hi Abbie, I’m glad my post provoked this post. No matter what we do, we should prioritize to do the most important things first. But, which are the most important? Is calling my brother or my sister more important than compiling my poetry book I want to publish this year? Is having lunch with a friend who cares for her husband with dementia more important than submitting this short story for a contest that ends tomorrow? Those are the things I struggle with these days. When my husband was ill, I knew he was my top priority and I’d like to make my writing top priority now, but sometimes it is hard to do.

    • Hi Glenda, I know how hard it is to decide what should be done first. When Bill was alive, obviously, his personal care and well-being were more important than anything else. Now, there are some days when I don’t know whether to write the next chapter in my memoir or update my blog. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I have always heard we have time for what is important to us. I write before work and at lunch each day. I made it a priority. The result? 300 pages of manuscript. I have friends that right better than I do, but they don’t have the motivation to make it the priority. It is a priority to me and in addition to the manuscript that I am now writing the proposal stuff and chapter synopsis for the agent, I managed to place 19 pieces in the last year ranging for book reviews to poems to short stories. Your story is motivational and encouraging. You help me to keep on keeping on.

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