I must need to hear a clear message about setting and keeping boundaries around my writing practice because posts on this topic appeared everywhere I looked this week! Three of these showed up in the RSS reader on the same day; the fourth showed up the next day. They don’t all specifically mention boundaries, but each of them are directly or indirectly about the impact of setting appropriate boundaries around our writing practice on our productivity.
Oddly enough, setting boundaries around my writing practice is one area that I find to be easier than most other boundary-setting endeavors, but boundary-setting is one area that I still need to improve in all around, so some of these apply for me in more than just writing situations. I’m getting so much better with this, but I am encouraged to keep up the work after reading these.
The string of posts started out with Writing With Boundaries from the Writing Sisters blog. This was a short post (with a humorous photo to go with) that reminded me of the importance of the ability to say no to those things that will take me away from my priorities (namely writing, in this case). Sometimes this even means saying no to good things.
The next post I came across was Kristen Lamb’s Good Fences—Setting Boundaries in a World with No Borders. In this post, her focus in on the information overload that all of us face today with the web and social media and the challenges that writers face in the social media world when we don’t set adequate boundaries. This not only affects our writing time, but it also has a stressful impact when people take advantage of our Facebook pages or other social media presences in ways that feel inappropriate. Her brief history of how media pressures have changed sets a useful context for how we’ve gotten to the place we are now. She is also offering a class on setting boundaries, if that appeals to you. (Details at the end of her post.)
Ken from the Ken and Paper blog touched on a similar theme in his post called My Inner Delete Button—7 Things I’m Trashing from My Life. While he doesn’t actually use the word “boundaries” in his post, he’s essentially exploring areas where he has set boundaries around what he is (and isn’t) willing to tolerate being a part of his life. This is really a great list of things that he discovered were draining his energy and his choice to eliminate those things from his life. His example left me feeling very empowered to make similar choices in my own life to stop tolerating things that I know aren’t serving me well. I may need to make my own life of things I’m going to trash from my life!
Finally, Steven Pressfield wrote a post on his blog this week called Mojo. He’s been covering topics about eliminating distractions, carving out times to focus on writing, and digging in to projects the last few weeks. This week his focus was on the benefits that setting (and keeping) those boundaries brings. He suggests that the whole point of setting those boundaries is to make it possible for us to find our mojo—that place of being in the flow or the zone where the work flows and becomes a place of positive attraction for more of the same. What a great reminder of why I need to keep doing the hard work of making those boundaries and sticking to them.
How do you set boundaries around your writing time? (Or whatever other priority activity matters to you personally or professionally.)
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