Okay. Time for a deep, cleansing breath. Time for a cup of nettle tea...but there’s no time for boiling water, my mind says! I’d continue to argue with my mind, but really I’ve no time to digress.
What happened to the day that is now cloaked in rainy nightfall? Muddled priorities, that’s what happened.
I’m a writer. Your a writer. We know this happens. A million moments a day we are confronted with distractions and decisions. I’ll write, but first…and those firsts seem to never end. Sure, I can justify that my husband was going out of town for ten days and that caused at least a dozen “but firsts.” Also, I have an important client meeting tomorrow and since I’m not taking new clients I must first keep this one satisfied. Dinner? Oh, yeah, the spouse with a paying job left for said job so I have to feed the dogs first. Then me second.
So when do we put our writing first? And is it ever really that simple? No, and don’t expect it to be. If you think prioritizing is simple, you live in a different century (and how did you get here, by the way?).
But let’s discuss prioritizing our priorities so we can swath writing time as if we were farmers of words. When priorities clash, I call them muddled. We might want to harvest our words but to do so successfully we need to have a balanced life. We need to simplify. And that’s a process.
In order to simplify, we have to un-muddle those priorities and make decisions. And it’s the decisions that cause us the angst. Let me give you an example: my spouse has a new job eight hours away. One priority is to make enough money to live in a house; the other is to live in a house in the mountains with horses and pond. But the money to live in the house that fulfills us is on the opposite end of Idaho. So which priority do we follow?
Well, it comes down to need verses want. Not a happy decision, but we foresee a future move. Or a future miracle. I’ll pray for the latter until the Uhaul of reality arrives to move my desk and stuff.
How does this equate to writing? I want to write literature but I need to write for clients so I can write all words from home. Do I give up the fulfilling writing? No way! I rearrange my weeks, days and hours to make sure the field of growing lit gets enough attention to provide a harvest.
Between this moment and the first of August I have revisions to make to my first novel. I’ve committed to getting up earlier and I’m giving up my garden–a tough decision for me. My gut aches, but if I try to do it all, then priorities will clash. It’s much simpler to not have a garden this year.
And, by committing to mornings I’ll make sure my revisions get finished before other priorities come up in the day. I’ll feel less rushed writing first than I would if I put those other but firsts, first.
Write first, but in balance. Don’t run around like I was today trying to do more tasks than hours would allow. Take time to plan; to review potential priority clashes; and always make time to boil water. There are many tasks involved in writing–building your platform, portfolio, marketing, sales, editing, revising, reading, discoursing, fixing dinner. But always write first. That’s your seed from which all else grows.
A hearty “thank you” to the writers and readers of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction. You are an important part of my writing vitality. Here, you allow me to plant new seeds, to experiment with future growth and rub elbows with other word farmers. I learn from you and my watering well of creativity stays full as your writing, comments and reflective blog posts inspire me. I hope you are all feeling the benefits of actively participating in a dynamic literary group weekly.
If you feel ready to submit your flash for possible publication, be sure to check out the submission guidelines at Flash Fiction Magazine. Contests are also a great way to build your portfolio and writer’s platform. Anne Goodwin shares these two nuggets with us: Creative Industries Trafford and The Bridport Prize.
If you haven’t already guessed, this week’s prompt will tackle muddled priorities. What happens to a story when a character has to make a decision? How is the story altered? How is the character altered? What are the consequences of the decision…or consequences for refusing the decision? Does choosing a priority make life easier or more complicated?
May 28, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a decision between two clashing priorities. It could be a relationship where each person has a different priority or an individual who has to decide which priority is tops. It could also be a story about an organization or an institution. This could make for an interesting compilation! Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, June 3 to be included in the compilation.
Cobb’s Dilema by Charli Mills
Leroy twirled the rawhide rommel from the back of his buckskin gelding. He watched his brother standing along Rock Creek. Muddy waters slithered through the plains where two hundred head of red, shaggy shorthorns grazed.
“Cobb, you’ve got to decide,” Leroy said to his brother’s back.
Finally Cobb turned around. Leroy saw the war waging in his brother’s mind although a stranger might think Cobb was contemplating cows.
“Bring her to the ranch,” Cobb said.
“What about Sarah?”
“Cobb, a man can’t have two women.”
“I asked you to bring the damn cattle, Leroy, not my wife.”
Rules of Play:
- New Flash Fiction challenge issued at Carrot Ranch each Wednesday by noon (PST).
- Response is to be 99 words. Exactly. No more. No less.
- Response is to include the challenge prompt of the week.
- Post your response on your blog before the following Tuesday by noon (PST) and share your link in the comments section of the challenge that you are responding to.
- If you don’t have a blog or you don’t want to post your flash fiction response on your blog, you may post your response in the comments of the current challenge post.
- Keep it is business-rated if you do post it here, meaning don’t post anything directly on my blog that you wouldn’t want your boss to read.
- Create community among writers: read and comment as your time permits, keeping it fun-spirited.
- Each Tuesday I will post a compilation of the responses for readers.
- You can also follow on Carrot Ranch Communications by “liking” the Facebook page.
- First-time comments are filtered by Word Press and not posted immediately. I’ll find it (it goes to my email) and make sure it gets posted! After you have commented once, the filter will recognize you for future commenting. Sorry for that inconvenience, but I do get frequent and strange SPAM comments, thus I filter.