Making Writing a Priority

Saturday, May 06, 2017
Photo Courtesy of Oh! Photography
"Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other." ~Anton Chekhov

This quote from Anton Chekhov got me thinking about priorities. Chekhov is recognized as a master of the modern short story and a leading playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Part of me wonders how many more stories he could have written had literature been his lawful wife instead of his mistress, but as a wife maybe I'm just wishful about the lawful wife holding a higher position than a mistress. Either way, there is something to be learned here. For the purpose of this article, I am going to use the word lover instead of mistress. When we think about the fire and passion one has for their lover, it is very different than the passion one might have about their career or a job. When writing becomes a job instead of a lover, that's when we begin to struggle. The picture above is one of my favorites, it's of my husband and myself way back when we became engaged. There was nothing "have to" about our relationship. You can see the sparks between us and feel the love.  Our relationship was our number one priority and the world could see it; you could even feel it when we entered a room together. Then life happened. When your lover is no longer a priority, the fire and passion will die down if you don't do little things and find the time to add wood to the fire. Similarly, neglecting our writing will smother those flames and we will find ourselves out of love.

When a lover is unhappy, we can help rekindle the relationship by making time for that person. It may not be quite as easy when writing has taken a back burner to life. Some simple steps can help us rekindle any relationship and make our lover a priority once again:

**Look at how your time is currently being spent.

**Recall how your time was spent at the beginning of the relationship.

**Remove distractions and shift back into the 'infatuation' phase of the relationship.

If we are thinking about a relationship with a lover, we can easily recall those early months when the sound of their voice made us smile. A fire came between us with every touch. We couldn't get enough. Over time, we find ourselves checking social media while having lunch with them instead of looking into those eyes that once set our soul on fire. If we can reduce the distractions of life (ie: kids, job, bills, friends, social media), we can put that lover back into place as our priority. If we are thinking about our writing as a lover, the distractions really aren't all that different, and neither is the solution. Not only do I suggest making time for writing, but make it a priority. Turn off your WIFI on your laptop so you don't see those emails, social media alerts, or other distractions. When you are with your lover, give her your complete and undivided attention. Make her see that she is a priority in your life. As she becomes once again a priority you will see her bloom and grow and that fire will be rekindled and build back into an unstoppable raging fire.

We cannot make more time, but we certainly can reallocate our time and make our lovers our priorities.

Where does writing currently fit on your list of priorities?

Where would you like your writing relationship to be?

What steps have you already taken to get your writing relationship on track?

Please feel free to leave your comments and ideas; we love hearing from you!

Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 8, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby E due in fall 2017), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog.


Anonymous said...

I'm a medical student and I was literally just escaping to my darker side (writing) as I am preparing for my my final exam week. My distraction was distracted by the quote you posted and it spoke to me literally and obviously sparked some creative thoughts. So I wanted to say thank you.

madeline40 said...

I totally agree with you Crystal. I've made my novel's draft eight revision my highest writing priority and it's working. Although I have other writing projects, the novel is the most important to me now. I sit down with it almost every day for several hours (without any social media breaks). I've also given myself a deadline to be finished by the end of September. I'll let you know if I make it.
My latest blog post at: is about my novel progress.

Angela Mackintosh said...

This is a great approach and a apt metaphor! If I look back to when I first started seriously writing, there was a serious fire, and I've been wanting to reignite that fire for a while. Like any relationship, writing needs effort to rekindle those initial sparks. :)

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