I’ve learned something horrible about myself in the past couple of weeks. Something that actually shocked me because I consider myself a strong-willed, no-one-pushes-me-around person. Here is my awful secret….. I am run by guilt and I can’t say no.
Let me explain. I assumed that when my youngest hit grade one this year (YAY!), I would have all day to write and by mid-November I’d have my novel queried, my next one plotted and started. But for some reason that hasn’t happened. Instead, I’m still perfecting my query and I’ve barely chosen my next novel idea (a whole other blog post on that).
It seems that when a friend asks for a favour, whether it’s reading a screenplay, editing a story, helping move house, helping clean house, etc… I’m there. I also can’t seem to turn down my friends when asked to go for coffee, or meet for a drink. I definitely can’t turn down my family whether for meals or snacks, clothing for skiing, sewing a button on, christmas present shopping, coming for visits or especially their requests for time spent with me, to read stories, play badminton, go tobogganing, or cuddling on a couch while we watch TV. I also can’t turn down my husband’s requests to do the extra stuff around the house now that the kids are in school (I can’t believe I washed my walls this past weekend instead of writing).
I think to myself that life is short, I need to help out and I should do whatever with whoever because if I don’t then I might lose a friend or psychologically damage my kids or hurt my husband’s feelings or just create too much chaos.
Now, I logically know this isn’t true, but I think this is why I don’t say no, because I’m too busy trying to be super mom, super wife and super friend, and sadly I feel like I’m failing at all three. Not only that, but I’m failing myself. I’m not putting myself even close to the top of the priority list. And that’s got to change. In short it’s easy to say that we’ll put writing as our priority, but it’s so much harder to do. So I’ve decided to have some rules.
5 Rules to Create Change
1. Control my time. 7-9 am and 3-9 pm are family time where I’m on. From 9-3 it’s my time. (Except for one errand day a week.)
2. Borrow some of Leanne’s attitude. Kids can handle and prosper from being on their own. (Check out her blog Ironic Mom If you can’t laugh at yourself, then laugh at your kids.)
3. For each thing that I do that takes away from writing time, I will have to make up the time elsewhere (like on evenings or weekends). This will be super tough for me, but it might cut down on my ‘errands’ during writing time.
4. Limit internet and phone access during the day. Respond to email at night. Must control my blog reading!
5. I will try not to feel selfish or guilty for guarding my time.
I’m hoping admitting I have a problem is the first step, but I’m going to need help to kick this. Does anyone have any other suggestions or advice? Does anyone else have a similar problem? And if so, how have you dealt with it?