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Working for a living; Writing for my future

I am a writer – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and I’m delighted that this is who I am. It gives me great satisfaction and the buzz when someone reads my work and gets something from it is immense. At the moment, however, it is not something that pays the bills. I am working to build a business in writing but it is only recently that I understood how that might be possible – and the route to financial freedom isn’t the one I had anticipated at all. So, while I plan my future I also have to work for a living.

That is hardly an earth-shattering piece of news. Most of you reading this blog and millions of other ‘creative-types’ who are waiting for that ‘lucky break’ when they will be recognised, are doing the same. It is sometimes a challenge for us all to balance the job and the aspirations, plus all the home and family commitments we have and the irony of it all is the, in the hurly burly of it all, it is the one that matters most that often gets shoved to the back of the queue.mde

I’ve been working hard to address this over the last few months with varying degrees of success but last week I had a bit of a breakthrough, thanks to some really sound advice from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey.

The 7 Habits… is a fairly well know book in professional circles – it has been around for at least 20 years and is seen as one of the leading business development books. And yet, everything in it applies to life outside work as well. As the name suggests, there are seven habits to master to become truly effective in live – 3 introspective, 3 focussed on relationships and the final one to master the other 6. Of these, it is an aspect of Habit 2 that is helping me at the moment. Covey talks about a 4th generation of time management – where you plan your week starting with the things that are most important to you in your various roles in life. Simple? Yes, but not how most of us do things.

In the past I’ve been a ‘list fiend.’ I’m forgetful, so I write everything down on a list to be sure I do it. My #old way’ of managing life was then to apply some degree of priority and then tackle whatever on the list caught my attention. It was a licence to procrastinate and ignore things I wasn’t motivated towards and, inevitably, the things that didn’t get done were the things that weren’t really actions (like writing…).

Starting last week, however, I planned out my week, putting first things first. I made sure that, as well as spending time with family and friends and looking after my health, I also set time aside to write. I even decided which hour of every day I would spend doing this important-but-not-urgent thing.

And you know what? I’ve written more this week than ever! I’m ahead of where I planned to be and now in good shape to starting to write my next (okay, first) best-seller.

How brilliant is that?

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