When Obligations Get in the Way

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
I have a confession to make. Last night, I realized I forgot to write my blog post, which was due today.

I know. I know. Shame. But you know how life is.

Maybe you’re a parent, like me. I have two children who participate in activities almost every day after school. I cook dinner so they can eat healthy foods, and I clean up afterwards for my own sanity. I help the kids with homework, remind them to clean up after themselves, and interfere when their fights get physical. I cuddle with them at night so they remember that I love them.

Maybe you work in a stressful job, like me. I’m a teacher, and I work all day, and then I keep working when I’m at home. Always a glutton for punishment, I have a second teaching job teaching AP Language and Composition sessions to super-eager juniors (sense my sarcasm) on weekends for extra income.

And, like everyone else on the planet, I have other obligations, like doctor appointments, and grocery shopping. I know I need to keep up with friends so I don’t lose them, keep up with my parents so they don’t worry, and throw my poodle’s favorite toy so she doesn’t drive me crazy with her barking.

The list goes on, and on, and on, and on.

You’re with me, right? You know what it’s like. So, when life gets in the way of writing, try some of these strategies:

1. Take a deep breath - Sometimes, writing seems like a chore, and we never want our passion to be something we have negative feelings towards. Taking a deep breath helps expel the negativity.

2. Make a list – By making a list of the obligations from which we can’t immediately escape, and completing them as quickly as possible, we'll feel less harried. This leaves room in our schedules to write.

3. Find a quiet place – With distractions everywhere, excuse yourself for an hour. You’ll be amazed at how productive you can be when there is nothing to stop you.

4. Just say “no” – Over-obligation is a problem. Explain to your friends and family that you need a little time to regain your sanity, and say “no” to invitations for a week or two.

5. Remind yourself you aren’t alone - We all write, and we’re all in this crazy rat-race together. It’s okay to give yourself a break.

I can vouch for these ideas. I used each of them this morning and, voila! Blog post! Even if you don’t make all your deadlines, it’s important to regroup and keep writing a positive element in your life. Hopefully trying some of the tips above will help keep you on track.

Have any great tips for keeping your sanity? I’d love to hear them!

Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here and her website here.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Beth ~ You totally rock! Two kids, two jobs, blogging and authoring...um...you definitely got a handle on it! :)

Lately, I've been keeping my sanity by running every day. Before I go for that run, I make sure I have all my work completed and some words on the page. It's my reward since I cut out wine (wah!), and I want it so bad that I make sure I've done all I can do before that 4:30pm deadline. lol

Sioux Roslawski said...

Beth--When I got into writing with more gusto, my kids were grown. Teens don't want you to spend time with them.

I try to squeeze some writing into small timeframes. Perhaps I have only 15 minutes until I have to leave for work. If that's the case, I try to make as much progress as possible in 15 minutes. Often, that sense of urgency makes me more productive...

Marcia Peterson said...

I love how you're both "keeping it real" and staying positive. Your strategies are really helpful. My daughter's taking AP Lang right now, btw. :)

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