In my busy work- and child-filled life, writing gets squeezed into the available blocks of time. And with only so many hours set aside, I have to prioritize the tasks on my writing to-do list.

What’s on my list right now?

  • Blog. I try to preload posts a week in advance. Emphasis on “try.”
  • Critiques. The four other writers in my group give me feedback … in exchange for my doing the same.
  • Polish and update an older manuscript. I’ve grown as a writer. And if I can get an agent, this project has potential. Assuming I find time to dust it off.
  • Write the rough draft of the new work-in-progress.
  • Write the synopsis and polish the first three chapters.
  • More research to make the setting come alive and get into the male character’s point of view.
  • Prepare a powerpoint presentation for a speaking engagement at a national conference next year. Plan the talk. Learn how to do powerpoint. Put it all together. Practice.
  • Seek out other speaking opportunities. Follow up on those expressing interest.
  • Write a few articles to supplement the writing income … and promote non-fiction books already in print.
  • Study the craft of writing. Read books. Listen to conference mp3s. Read more.

Someday in the future, I may get to do this writing thing full time. But until then, I’ve got to pick what’s first on the list for today. All are important in the long term. Some have deadlines (like the conference next year). But I can only do a few small things every day. So, I set goals for the month and break those down into weekly projects to check off the list.

Oh, and rewards help. Like watching a chick-flick or getting to read the next novel on my teetering to-be-read pile! (Not to mention a few scheduled days off just to recharge my batteries.)

What about you? How do you decide what to do first? Do you find the length of your list overwhelming? Do you reward yourself?

What’s First?
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