It’s not so easy to put first things first. It’s not even easy to decide what should be first!
I want to write first in my day because so many writer bios of famous successful authors say that’s what they do. They stumble to their offices first thing, in their slippers and carrying coffee, to pound the keys for a couple of hours before breakfast.
I’ve always wanted to write first. I’m even doing a 28-day accountability exercise right now with two other writers. I only manage to make it first about half the time.
Not Always Possible
Writing first thing in the day isn’t always possible. It depends on your season of life sometimes. So many things vie for first place in your day!
- For many years, early rising babies and children clamored for my attention first thing every morning, and let’s face it, hungry kids and soaked diapers won’t wait a couple of hours.
- Even after the kids were older and there was just the dog, he had to go outside very quickly every morning. Waiting two hours for that “first” would have also been disastrous.
- Some health gurus say exercise first because you’ll never do it later, and it’s critical to your stamina. Others say eat a healthy breakfast first.
- Still others say you must journal first and dump whatever is bothering you where no one will ever see. (I used to do this using Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” when going through a traumatic time.)
- If you’re an e-mail or Facebook junkie, you may feel checking online must be first since something there might affect the course of your day.
- Your pastor will suggest that devotional time needs to be first or it will be pushed aside when you get busy. (I do find that to be true, so that is my “first first” of the day.)
There are calls to make and showers to take. They all “need” to be first in your day before you lose control of your time.
Calgon, Take Me Away!
Enter Decidophopia. It’s a term I read in Carol Rottman’s writers in the Spirit. Here’s how she describes it:
Every morning from those early stirrings in bed of sluggish body and scattered mind, I must make some choices. What first? What next?…As I face my desk each day, I know I’ve got [Decidophopia]. I must decide, but I am afraid. To make one thing first pushes everything else lower on the list. My desk is usually covered with notebooks and loose paper in stacks–each one a ‘should.’
Do You Have Decidophopia?
When my children were small, I didn’t have decidophopia. There simply were few choices! The kids’ needs came first. The writing stuff came later–often much later when they were down for afternoon naps.
Years down the road, when the kids were in school and then grown, Decidophopia set in. Suddenly I had some choices. Even with teaching part-time, I could schedule most of my days however I wanted.
I learned fairly quickly that I love structure. “Going with the flow” every day actually fed my Decidophopia and made it worse. Making that “what next?” decision every hour or so resulted too many times in cruising on out to the kitchen for a snack or reading e-mail. As boring as it may sound to many people, I now have a written list for my important daily stuff. I like order.
My devotional time comes first. My exercise comes next if the weather is decent enough–otherwise it comes at noon. My healthy breakfast is next. And the writing comes next. It’s my first work of the day, but it’s not the first thing I do.
But unless you live on an island alone, you have to be flexible when you can’t write first. For example, I got up early to write today before my little granddaughter came. Now I’m blogging while she is down for a nap. Since she staying overnight, I can almost guarantee we’ll take a trip to the pond in the early morning to see turtles before I get any writing done.
No One Right Way
What’s your routine like? Or do you have one? Are there so many “important firsts” vying for your attention each day that it’s hard to get started? Are you able to be flexible and “go with the flow,” or do you need more structure?
I love hearing how other writers work. We’re all so different and there’s certainly no “one right way.” If you have a day job, a spouse, a home, and/or children, you must decide to write. It won’t just happen.
Leave a comment about how you handle decidophopia!