I always start these posts thinking I’m going to be wise and insightful, but come off sounding whiny. I apologize in advance, but please know that I am using my very serious and very thoughtful voice and not my but life is so unfair! voice.
I want to do more. I want to create something fantastic and unbelievable and thought provoking. Here’s my biggest problem: I cannot focus on one goal. I believe it’s because I can’t seem to sort through the sand and find my biggest priorities. Where do I want to focus?
This is where the P in INFP comes in. I’m a prospector – it’s what I do. I am full of great ideas and can head down a rabbit hole in lickity split. It’s what makes me spend hundreds of dollars on sewing equipment, certain that I can start my own business making covers for planners. Or see every cute idea on Pinterest and think, “that’s my next business!” This can be a ton of fun but makes it next to impossible for me to actually follow through on anything.
Here’s what I know: I want to read as far and as wide as I can — that’s been the case nearly my entire life. So there is priority #1.***
But I also crave a life in which my creative endeavors are center stage and can actually pay my way through the world – not all of the way, but help. Sadly, I’m not sure that reading books alone can do that, so I need to look for supporting priorities. That’s where this blog comes in. Some people live off of the income they earn from their blog – I have never been a person that draws others in easily so I know that I’m not likely to receive that kind of traffic. But I have had the grand idea that this blog could help buy me time: time to write something that matters and be able to finish that manuscript that I have lurking in the background. Of course, there is no guarantee that it would ever get published, but finishing is my first step. So I end up in this circular argument: spend a ton of time on my blog because it will pay off and buy me time on my manuscript. But it’s not “paying off” in the general sense of the term and I’m spending so much time on this that I’m not working on a manuscript!
That’s not to say that this blog isn’t paying off — I love having a blog. I love the ritual of writing every day, even if it’s actually shallow work, and not the deep work that I think I’d rather be doing. I think this is why so many successful authors don’t have blogs or post infrequently – it takes away writing time. But there is also my worry that without this blog, I wouldn’t spend any time writing because I’d be frozen in fear and in way over my head.
See what a pickle this is for me?
I know that if I’m going to get any writing done then it’s going to have to be a big picture goal and I’m going to have to work it into my daily tasks. But look what I did when I wrote out my daily tasks for September (above). I didn’t include writing. I should be taking out the 10,000 step goal because I hardly ever hit that sucker! But instead, I decided that logging my food was more important to me this month than writing.
And I know that I did the same thing when I set my yearly goals at the New Year — I made a plan for nearly everything else in my life, but not for writing. I made a conscious decision to not make it a priority. Because we can’t prioritize every single whim in our life, right?
In July and August, I allowed myself to use blog writing time to count towards the goal of writing one hour a day. That wasn’t the original purpose of that goal – the original purpose was to work on something other than my blog. But in September I started setting weekly goals (left) and try to write and schedule 3 blog posts a week. Which, by the way, is enjoyable and time consuming at the same time.
I wrote about this a little when I published the post on What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast — I’m not sure where I can fit anything else in. I don’t say that to make myself look busy and important, because I’ve been trying really hard not to buy into the culture of busy-ness. I value quiet time and time just to think. I don’t want to feel crazy busy because I don’t thrive off of that. But this blog is something that I love and is priority #2 (ha! I found my second priority, I think), so if I’m going to also prioritize more intense writing, then I’m going to have to figure out how to structure my day to make that possible. Because there’s just not much give left!
And look – we haven’t even gotten to my love of knitting, sewing, and quilting, which are also competing priorities in my creative life!
*** These priorities all fall after my children and my husband, of course. And sometimes housework. I’m talking creative priorities here, not my relationship priorities. But if I thought about my relationship priorities AS creative priorities, this could shift my whole way of thinking. Hoo boy, one post at a time, Katie!
“This is where the P in INFP comes in. I’m a prospector – it’s what I do. I am full of great ideas and can head down a rabbit hole in lickity split.” AMEN INFP-Sister! This is so me! My blog is where I keep to the ritual of writing. My old blog, where I wrote on a popular tv show, got thousands of hits per day. I no longer write on that by choice. If I went solely on numbers I’d cry. It’s the discipline that I so badly need. My manuscripts need to be FINISHED, but at least I’m writing–right? lol
I love finding other INFPs!! You’re totally right – it’s the ritual of writing that’s important, not the numbers. I just struggle to find my priorities, obviously! Which makes more sense to devote my time to? My naïveté tells me to devote time on the blog now, and that will buy me time to write more later. But I’m not sure if that’s really the case!