There are many writers who confuse negotiation with neglecting their family. They feel that when they sit down to write, their family will be neglected. However, there is nothing further from the truth. In order get some writing done, you can’t be at the beck and call of your family and friends. In other words, you can’t always be disturbed by their demands. Some family members may believe that you are neglecting them and asserting your own needs instead of theirs. Please don’t allow people to make you feel that way. Here are a few ways to ensure that you don’t feel like you are neglecting your family and friends while also successfully getting your writing goals completed:
- Determine your long-term and short-term writing goals and write them down.
- Determine your short-term goals from your long-term writing goals.
- Choose ONE writing goal. Try to prioritize your most important writing goal.
- Plan what part of your writing goal you would like to complete this month.
- Now plan what part of your writing goal you would like to complete this week.
- Determine how much time you need to complete each part of your writing goal. Then schedule this time into your weekly planner for this week.
- Sit down and have a chat with your family. Let them know what your writing goals are for this particular week or two week period and how much time you will need to write. Clearly state your writing hours for the week and when you will be writing each day. (Make sure you check your other appointments such as doctor, dentist, massage, physio, hairdresser, shopping, and date nights. Then schedule your writing time around these times by blocking out the times, and posting the blocked out times on the fridge so that your family can see it clearly.)
- Give your family some time to respond to your writing schedule. Once they agree to it, (this is where your negotiation comes in) your writing time should be golden other than for an emergency that is life threatening. (Cat crying at the door, dog barking, spouse walking in to chat, or a phone call is not considered an emergency!)
- When your writing time comes, go into your office and write. Your family should know when you are writing. Ask them to respect and honour your writing time. That is their part of their side of the bargain after all.
- If your family keeps barging in and disrupting, you will have take further steps to ensure that they don’t do that or you will have to write outside of your home.
So, as you can see from the above, once you talk to your family, you are not neglecting them. If they keep barging in, they are not honoring you much less respecting the fact that you are a writer. You need to be firm with them then. This can take some time. So, you have to be consistent! After you have established a time to write, one that will work with your family, you must follow-through. And then, if they give you space to write for a week or so, you should reward them by spending time with them watching a movie or having a glass of wine and dinner or a chat and a walk in the park. But don’t reward them if they don’t honour your time. Otherwise, you are rewarding them for dishonoring you. This is always a dicey topic and our families are sometimes demanding of our time. We need to find a balance not by caving in all the time but asserting our boundaries and honoring our writing. To your writing success! Irene S. Roth