I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about priorities.
Being able to prioritize is an amazingly useful skill. Most people have to prioritize in their work so they can be efficient and juggle competing demands. You have to be able to prioritize in your personal life to balance work, friends, family, and solo pursuits. You have to prioritize in your budget for the necessary things (like rent, utilities, and food) and the things that are important to you.
When there’s enough time and money to go around for everything on your priority list, the act of prioritizing doesn’t seem that important. It’s when you’re short on something, or your list of priorities has grown while your resources haven’t that it can get hard to balance everything.
While I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about priorities in my life in general, I’ve also been thinking about my priorities in relation to writing. There can be a huge number of demands on a writer, some internal and some external, and just like any other work, you need to be able to prioritize them.
It’s important to know what you value the most as a writer. Is it the act of writing itself? Is posting or publishing the work secondary to the actual writing of it? Is writing a career or job goal, or just a hobby? How important is the amount of money you might make? All of these concerns can affect your writing based on how you prioritize them.
For me, the writing itself is often the primary goal. I love telling a good story. I love getting to know my characters and building my worlds. I love rereading my own work. I also love to share it, and know that others are enjoying the story too. So publishing is a priority for me, but it’s not at the top of the list and it’s not about the money. The publishing world is fiercely competitive and getting your name and your book out there takes a lot of marketing work that I’m not sure I’ve quite figured out.
Priorities can change over time, and I know that mine will shift as my situation changes and I continue to grow and a writer and a person. I used to think that getting published was the most important thing to me as a writer, but the older I get, the less I worry about that and the more I enjoy the act of writing itself. It’s become about the craft rather than the end result.
How have your priorities changed over the years? And what’s the most important thing to you in relation to your writing?