I dream of being a strong majestic eagle, flying through a beautiful mountain canyon, knowing exactly what I am looking for and going after it with determination and focus.

But, lately I have felt like a crazy bird, unsure where to build my nest and running into windows I didn’t see.

I decided to do something about it!

I began by asking myself a few easy questions (with not so easy answers)

How often do you think about the amount of time you spend on…

  • Twitter & other social media, blogging, reading & commenting?
  • time you spend with family & friends?
  • working on your highest priority projects?

We see posts about these topics almost on a daily basis. Time is of the essence, especially in the writer’s life. My kids are home for the summer and we have a busy schedule. And, I am getting ready to go back to work part-time (but it will probably become full-time very quickly). I can feel the walls of available time to write closing in on me. So, I have spent the last couple weeks examining how to squeeze in more productive writing time.

I have a long list of projects from non-fiction, memoir, short fiction, novel, poetry, blogs, educational/self-help and some that defy description. I wish I could write from my passion each day, but my passion is often a flame that comes up with many new ideas before finishing important ones. This can sometimes leaves me feeling scattered, jumping from project to project.

I started with my writing priorities and asked myself…

If I knew I only had a year to live (or write), and wanted to leave my mark in the world through my writing, what writing projects would I work on first?

Amazingly, my priorities did change based on my question. I categorized my writing projects into these groups (well, close enough – I can’t find my notes – that is an issue for another post). Those that:

  • I hold close to my heart and leave a legacy to my children.
  • may help others on their path in life.
  • help me break out of my habits and allow me to go wild with experimentation.
  • call for fascinating research – online, books and talking to people – also intellectually challenging to pull together and creatively challenging to merge it all into new worlds.

Ideally, every project I choose will meet all these criteria, and I hope that will be the case for long-term projects. But this exercise did help me put a few things into perspective.

Time with my family does come first, but I realized that writing projects with and for them were not prioritized high enough. That is going to change.

Long-term research projects for a novel were overwhelming to me, but I realized this book was a high priority. That will change, too.

I will never stop writing to help others on their path and experimenting with ways to break out of old habits and self-imposed restrictions. But, I will try to put more of these passions into all of my writing.

My biggest change will be only participating in FridayFlash on the occasion when I have something ready (I do have some Flash to complete) or posting an excerpt from a larger work. I love the FridayFlash community and will continue reading the Flash of my friends as much as possible.  In my perfect world, I would be able to work on all my projects simultaneously and still do FridayFlash every week.

My evil nemesis, Google Reader is another one of my greatest challenges. I desperately want to read more blogs and am determined to organize my Reader so I can make this process easier and more productive.

As for Twitter, I will always be there. I am very grateful for all the good friends I have met, I like the links & news and it is just plain fun.  The time management will need to tighten up as new demands in my life increase.

My blogging will be increasing, but in a way that I hope will provide something to help others with their lives and connect me to everyone more efficiently when my Twitter time is decreasing.

Now, with all my priorities in order, I can dance & groove like Snowball, the amazing dancing cockatoo. Now that is more my speed!

BTW – I heard on CBS Sunday Morning today that this bird is the only known creature of any kind that can respond spontaneously to music other than humans – WOW!

Others Blogging About Related Topics

How to Create More by Doing Less at Lateral Action. This is the post that stimulated ideas about my hierarchy of needs in my writing life (the categories above).

After I wrote this post, I found a others blogging about related topics this week:

Elizabeth Craig at Mystery Writing is Murder wrote Comments, about the time we spend on comments.

Betsy Canas Garmon at Wild Thyme Creative wrote, Confessions of a Right Brained Calendar Junkie.

52 Qualities of the Prosperous Writer: Number Twenty, Clarity, was written by Joe and Lydia Sharp at The Sharp Angle.

One More Thing for Fun

Speaking of birds, in our yard, we have been watching a mother robin on her nest and her baby birds for the last few weeks. Her name is Zelda, and the babies are Fred, Wilma, Barnie and Betty.

Look closely and you will see - Fred, Wilma, Barnie and Betty

Zelda madly chirping at me to get away from her nest

Let’s Talk About It

What are your writing priorities and how do you decide what deserves more time?

What are the best tips you can offer for time management, preserving your writing time, productive writing time and getting it all done!

Have you been shifting priorities lately to allow for more time with family and friends? Less time on Twitter? More time on Twitter? More writing time?