I’m joining with the online discussion group that Kate Motaung is hosting on her blog Heading Home, based on the book On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Krocker & Charity Singleton Craig. Today’s chapter is “Limit – Because I write, I let some things go.”
Limits are something I’m very familiar with, since chronic diseases have forced me to accept many limitations for my own safety. I no longer drive, there are many household responsibilities I need help with, even getting out of most chairs requires my husband’s assistance. But writing is one thing I can do in spite of my physical limitations. I may need to skip a planned writing time occasionally because of a doctor’s appointment or a need to rest when my symptoms are worse than normal, but usually writing is something I CAN do in spite of my limitations.
For several years, I was the primary caregiver for my mother-in-law who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Other responsibilities still needed to be done, but for a season my writing had to be put “on the shelf.” Sitting with Mom, especially when she was at the stage where she was constantly jabbering, made it impossible to work on anything that required focus. But when that season ended a year ago, I slowly began picking up writing again. At first, it was intermittent, but then a few months ago I made a commitment to spend two afternoons per week working on writing. Soon, that became three afternoons per week. The only thing I can honestly say I’ve had to let go to write are spending daytime hours reading emails, checking social media, and playing online games. I’ve allowed for some time in the evenings for these things, but they are no longer a part of my daytime “work” hours.
Life is often about priorities: to do one thing well, we need to give up something else. In the years of homeschooling my daughter, my focus was on doing that job the best I could. When my special-needs son was in a home-bound school program, with a teacher and several therapists coming to the house every week, this became my focal point. And more recently, my efforts were centered on caregiving. It’s up to each of us to determine what assignment God has given us for the current season, and then do our best to fulfill that assignment. I strongly believe that my current assignment is primarily writing, so I am now making it a priority.