Over the last few weeks I was starting to feel a little less than my sunny, optimistic self when it came to my writing career. But how could this be? I absolutely LOVED everything I was doing —teaching writing, developing online writing classes, providing manuscript critiques, blogging, maintaining my e-newsletter—oh wait.

I wasn’t writing

Well, I was a little, but not as much as I wanted and it was affecting my mood and general outlook on life. I had snuck in some picture book writing here and there because I knew I could get a sense of accomplishment and that was fun and lifted me. And I also committed to re-visioning the novel and made good progress. But in both cases, the time was too sporadic to provide the soul expansion I wanted. Hello? A writing career should include writing!

Breaking It Down

I took some time to break down each area of my career that was not actual writing and came up with the following list, some of which I mentioned above:

  • Teaching (classes and workshops – either one day or multi-day/week)
  • Presentations/speeches
  • Online course development
  • Blab-o-Denise blog
  • Wild Writers blog
  • E-newsletter (Jumpstart Monday, Picture Books, Novels, Market News, random news)
  • Critiques and consultations (not included in classes)
  • BELIEVE scholarship for writers of picture books and novels
  • E-mail (writing-related)
  • Social media
  • Admin tasks (financials, mailing, filing)

That’s a lot! Some of these require more time than others (The first two require significant preparation in addition to driving to/from and in-class time) and some, like the online courses I’m developing, require ongoing student contact.

Letting It Go

Clearly some things had to change so I created more writing time. So what’s a committed, I-love-it-all writer to do?

Teaching Hiatus. I thought long and hard before deciding to let go of most of the formal teaching for now. I absolutely love it and learn as much as I teach, but I spend a lot of time with manuscripts and I knew I needed to let it go for awhile, especially because I begin my role on faculty for the Regis University Mile High MFA program in January and want to make sure I give that the time it deserves. But I do have plans to come back to it as things ebb and flow.

Social Media Limits. I already do social media in spurts. Sometimes I’m really into it and sometimes I’m not. I’ve decided to check in three times a week for 15 minutes.

E-mail Limits. Email is important, but I find myself checking too often. Like social media, I’ve decided to set a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, I will finish whatever e-mail I’m working on and GET OFF until the next day.

I’m excited to make this shift and get back to a more regular writing routine. Woop!

Have you had to let go of things you love to make room for your writing? Share!