Is it gauche to frame a paycheck and hang it on one’s wall? Possibly — but I’m doing it anyways.
My hope is that putting this check up on the wall next to my desk will help combat the impostor syndrome that plagues me at times. If nothing else, it serves as a visual reminder that I am a decent enough writer that someone once paid me a not insignificant amount of money for my fiction. And that if I was able to do it once, I can probably make it happen a second time — if I’m willing to put in the work.
This is why I have made Put In the Work and Be Intentional With My Time my personal themes this year, especially when it comes to writing. Writing is a very easy thing to put off until some later, fabled “perfect time” to do it. The perfect time looks different for everyone; for me it, might be three or four uninterrupted hours in a coffee shop. But what do you do if and when the perfect time never seems to quite materialize? Waiting for the perfect time to appear can feel a bit like waiting for King Arthur to return and save England — i.e. impossible, especially when one has a dayjob, children and dogs to care of, meals to make, a house to be maintained, going to the gym, and spending time with one’s partner. All are important and necessary to, you know, functioning and live one’s life. But they can certainly throw up obstacles in trying to find the perfect time to write. So, for me, it’s less about finding the perfect time to write, and more about finding a good enough time to do it. Grabbing thirty minutes here, squeezing in an hour there. Doing it during my lunchbreak or for a bit before bed. Just put in the work, whenever and wherever I can.
Of course, once I do finally sit down at the computer with an intention to write, I am ridiculously good at using that time to do anything but write. Not when I can endlessly revise the in-progress thing I’m currently working on instead of writing more of it. Or catch up on the growing army of newsletters in my email box.
Write? Sorry friend, I need to go doomscroll Twitter right now.
This is where being intentional with my time comes into play. For me it means when I catch myself not writing, it’s pausing and acknowledging the fact that, yes, I am procrastinating, and asking myself, “Would I rather be doing the thing I am currently doing, or would I rather be writing?” And then hopefully convincing myself that, yes, really, we should probably be writing.
None of this comes easily or naturally to me. I am a professional procrastinator. I am going to have to actively and mindfully work on this stuff and will no doubt fall short many times. But hopefully I will also become a little bit better at it.
And speaking of being intentional with one’s time, I am going to hit publish on this post now and go work on that other thing for a while.