Friday, October 21, 2011

Priorities - Top and Otherwise

On Wednesday I said there was one compelling reason not to do NaNoWriMo - if it conflicts with another, higher priority.

We're writers, though - artistes. We're not supposed to have other priorities! We're meant to be dedicated. Over and over, we're told 'You have to want this.'

We do. But we can't want it at the expense of everything else.

In the last few years I've come to understand a lot more about priorities. Like most young people who are lucky with their health, it took me a long time to realise that health always had to be the top priority. Always.

I've been fortunate with my own health - apart from a terrible susceptibility to colds, and a tendancy towards anaemia and low pressure, I have had few health problems since I was a teen. But I do have anxiety, and my anxiety manifests as health anxiety or hypochondriasis. I have never lived with health problems, but I have lived with the fear of them, and that has given me the tiniest glimpse into what life may be like if you don't enjoy good health.

It looks tough.

Without my health, I couldn't work as easily, I couldn't write as easily and I may find it challenging to spend time with the people I love. So in spite of my enormous desire to be a writer, above all else I prioritise my health. If I need sleep, for example, writing has to wait.

And there are so many other things - day jobs, families, friends, hobbies, passions, charity, volunteering, exercise. You can fill in your own blanks.

It's wonderful to love writing, and to be dedicated to it. But it's also important to be able to step back say 'Guess what? Right now, this needs to come first.' Whatever 'this' turns out to be.

Have a fab weekend everyone!


  1. Good for you. You have to find the balance that works for you, not the writer next door.

  2. Absolutely. If we don't take care of ourselves first, we'll only end up failing at other responsibilities because we have nothing left of ourselves to give.

  3. taking children out of the picture, we really only have one thing to take care of. That one thing is ourselves... So take care of yourself first!

  4. Sarah, I totally agree. Everyone is on their own path.

    Paul, a great point - we're utterly useless if we aren't taking care of ourselves.

    Pat, very true that children are the exception :)

  5. Good advice, Ellen. It's easy to get obsessed with writing (or whatever) and miss out on the actual living. And I do agree about the health thing. Must exercise more ...


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