Friday Funnies and Writing Tip #3: Know Your Priorities

(cringing)

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to. 

I also haven’t been writing as much as I used to, which is why I just BARELY finished Augustina this weekwhen I hoped to finish it months/years ago. 

Here’s why:

  1. I have five kids.
  2. I love my five kids.
  3. I’m a stay at home mom to my five kids, so technically it’s my job to take care of them. 

.

My oldest is 16 and the youngest, Jacob, is almost 5. Jacob does not attend preschool, so we’re together ALL THE TIME.

This sometimes causes issues. :)

Jacob is a pretty smart kid.

His entire motivation in life is to be seen as an equal to his older siblings and their million friends. He hates being the littlest in everything, and often he forgets that he’s not, in fact, a teenager.

Because of this desire to be ‘old’, he’s been learning to read for awhile. He has most of the smaller words down. He loves to type new words he’s learned on the computer. He’ll even ask me to open Microsoft Word for him so he can type what he knows. (Future author in the making.) If he gets stuck on a word, he’ll ask me to help him spell it so he can type it “All by myself.” 

This is what I found him typing this week:

  • Now…I need to preface this with: I was extremely sick this weeklike flat in bed with the stomach flu. It was awful. I haven’t been that sick in a long time. Because I was sick, he may have spent a little extra time on the Wii. Don’t judge me too harshly.
  • (However, if I’m being truly honest here, he was obsessed before the week started.)

As I’m helping the other kids get ready for school, he says to me,

“Mom, how do you spell FRIEND?”

I help him spell it, and then I steal a peek at his project. This is what I see on my computer:Capture

With an inward sigh—I love that kid—I smile and let him keep typing. From across the kitchen, I help with a few more words, hard ones like WORLD and THOSE.

When I check back, this is what I see:

Capture2Picture my smile fading here.

If you don’t know who Bowser is, thank your lucky stars. He has taken over our household lately. He is one of the characters on Super Mario Brothers, a stupidly addicting Wii game. I personally HATE Bowser right now. This didn’t help the relationship.

Me to Jacob: “Um, who else is your friend, buddy?”

Here’s what he added:

Capture

Me really starting to panic: “What about your friends in the neighborhood? At church? You have lots of other friends!” Doesn’t he?

Jacob: “Oh yeah. I forgot.”

Capturea

He named quite a few others. (If your kid is his friend and wasn’t on the list, please don’t disown us; he honestly said their names!) But by then he was sick of typing and wanted to go play the Wii

Haha. 

Guess what he’s not playing today.

So here’s writing tip #3.

#3

KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES.

I love to write. It’s my escape. It’s my joy. But it’s my hobby, and I love my kids MORE.

I guess this was a little reminder that perhaps I need to spend even less time in my imagination and more time in Jacob’s.

This is our last year together before he starts school full time. I’ve had a kid at home with me for sixteen straight years and it’s going to end in nine months. Instead of wishing it away, cringing that my book STILL isn’t done, I should be enjoying these last few months with my youngest.

Right?

I thought I was doing that, but obviously I could use a little improvement. My mom reminds me that someday I will miss these days. 

Maybe your writing schedule could use some tweaking as well.

What are your priorities? If writing isn’t your job, then it probably isn’t your first priority. So how do you fit writing into your life? Or even if writing is your job, it still probably shouldn’t be FIRST on your list. So…

  1. Know your priorities.
  2. Set your priorities.
  3. Live your priorities.
  4. And don’t let anything come in your way. Not even a great story.

.

“BUT MY BOOK IS GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD!” you cry.

No. It won’t.

At best, your story will entertain someone for a depressingly short amount of time. I think one of the most powerful lessons for authors comes at the end of the Truman Show, when the whole world seems to be on the edge of their seats waiting to see if Truman will choose freedom. But the second he makes his choice, the whole world sits for two seconds contemplating his decision, and then they flip the channel to see what else is on TV. 

0_Truman_door_thumb[4]

Our stories are great, but really, they’re not that great. They’re just entertainment, so don’t lose your priorities over it.

I have to remind myself of this often.

So if you don’t see me as much as you used to–or maybe as much as I sometimes want–it’s because I’m trying to keep my youngest from having a Wii addiction.

Right now I’m off to play dinosaurs in a different kind of pretend world. As of right now, all his dinosaurs are namedcare to guess?Bowser. My goal is to change that. :)

Have a great weekend.

How do you set priorities when it comes to writing? Do you schedule time or squeeze it in? How has your writing time changed with your life? Comment here.

Other writing tips:

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Author: Rebecca Belliston @rlbelliston

Hopeless romantic and author of CITIZENS OF LOGAN POND, SADIE and AUGUSTINA. Music nerd and composer of RELIGIOUS and CLASSICAL-STYLE music. I live in Michigan with my husband and five kids.

5 thoughts on “Friday Funnies and Writing Tip #3: Know Your Priorities”

  1. I don’t know Bowser…but I’m sure my 12 year old son does. The youngest is hard when they are home and their siblings are at school. Mine was always bored and did watch more TV than his older brothers and sisters (and play more WII). But I don’t feel he’s addicted. If I tell him to get off and do something else, he jumps and obeys immediately. Like you said, its the Mom that has to have her priorities set for their kids. If I LET them watch TV or play WII all the time, they will. But if I guide them to different activities, they’re pretty gung ho to do them. Thanks for the good reminder!

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    1. Yeah, I’m sure your 12yo will know Bowser. :) It makes me feel so much better to hear your youngest was hard, too. Jacob is so used to having chaos around–it’s not atypical to have 10 kids around here when there’s no school–that when it’s just him and me, he’s bored to tears. Like you, I’ve definitely let him watch more TV and play Wii, I just think I let it go a bit too far. At least your youngest still likes to do other things. I seriously have to drag Jacob away right now. We had a lot of fun today, though. I think I wore him out because he fell asleep IN the shopping cart at the grocery store. It was awesome. His head was propped up with a bag of pretzels. :) I wish I had a phone on my camera. This parenting thing is something else. Thanks for the reassurance.

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  2. That’s a funny story – I hope he can break that Wii addiction! :) I end up doing both with writing – I try to schedule it but if that doesn’t work, I’ll have to squeeze it in somehow. I don’t have kids but it’s still hard to find the time between working a regular job, freelancing, and blogging. Blogging does take away a lot of writing time even though I usually only post about once a week. If something’s got to give, I agree it should be the blogging.

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    1. Every author I’ve talked to struggles with finding time to write. Because it’s not a 9-5 kind of job, it’s hard to justify–or schedule–the time. That’s why prioritizing works for me. When I get some spare time, I make sure I’m going down the list in the right order. Blogging definitely comes below writing. As much as I enjoy blogging, I just can’t devote the time I want to it. Thanks for the thoughts. It sounds like we think the same. :)

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