Write It Sideways

Getting Your Life & Writing Priorities in Order

Earlier this week, I took a long walk and thought a lot about my writing, and what my main goals are.

Why do I really want to get my writing published some day?

What are you writing for?

While my first son was young, I was busy building a teaching career because I didn’t have the option of staying at home. But as much as I enjoyed teaching, my son needed me more than I was able to be with him while I was working.

I also found I was so busy with work, I had no time for the personal things I loved to do—reading and writing.

Nearly four years ago, when we had the means, I gave up work (other than private tutoring and substitute teaching), so I could be a stay-at-home mom. Last year, I had another baby. Now I’m very busy all the time, and the thought of going back to work while my children are young is pretty much out of the question.

My main goal in writing is for the self-satisfaction it brings. But, my main goal in getting published (and completing the occasional freelance assignment) is to earn a little extra income from home so I can focus on motherhood as long as my children need me full-time.

What Are Your Life Priorities?

All this thinking about my ultimate goal of publication got me onto the idea of life’s priorities.

My personal top three priorities are as follows:

  1. God: Worship of, and service to, God.
  2. Family: Love, care, and responsibility toward husband, children, extended family.
  3. Self: Personal goals, including writing.

Of course, those are the order on paper only. In reality, sometimes it’s more like family–self–God, or even self–family–God. But, this is the order of priorities I’d like to strive toward.

Other life priorities might include:

Your Priorities Affect Your Writing Life

As you can see from my personal list, my writing goals come after my responsibilities toward God and family, which means that my reasons for writing must fall in line with what I want to achieve in my most important priorities.

For example, I need to learn to weave my writing life into my service to God and family, rather than weaving God and family into my writing life. Sometimes that means I only get to write before the children are awake or after they go to bed. It also means I don’t write on Sundays, even though it’s one of the days my husband is home to help watch the kids.

Perhaps your life is very different to mine. Maybe you’re single or have no children, or you have a very successful career to look after. Let’s say your top three life priorities included:

  1. Relationships (relatives, friends, romantic relationships)
  2. Success (career and/or writing)
  3. Health (physical and mental)

In this example, relationships are a greater priority than writing, which means you should not sacrifice quality time with your friends, family, or romantic partner for your writing. But, because health is below writing in this list, a writing session needs to hold more importance than a workout session.

Remember, just because other things come before writing doesn’t mean it isn’t still a priority. You still need to carve out time in your day for your writing, no matter where it appears on your list.

Define Your Life Priorities to Define Your Writing Priorities

Go ahead. Make a list of your own top three life priorities, ranging from the most important to the least important.

Are you treating your top priorities right by devoting enough time to them?

Sometimes our priorities get mixed up. We spend more time on the things that are less important than on the things that are most important. We’re probably all guilty of doing that once in a while, or even frequently.

But putting down in writing the things that are most important to you will help you identify where you need to focus your time and energy.

I realize now that my publishing goals do fall in line with my life’s goals. My reasons for wanting to be published—that is, to earn money from home doing something I love—support my desires for my family and God.

How about you?

What are your life priorities? What are your writing priorities? How does each one affect the others? Are your writing goals in line with your life goals?