This Writer's Life · Writing Process

Setting Boundaries for Your Writing.

Recently I’ve been re-working the novel I had written for NaNoWriMo back in 2015. There have been times when I had been so frustrated with it that I wanted to throw it in. It was also around this time that some personal issues had occurred, forcing me to really put my foot down on setting particular boundaries when it comes to writing.

For some years now I have been the stay at home mum, raising my children, doing the occasional bit of casual work in a ‘real’ job, spending several years studying for a University degree, as well as writing and blogging. Despite all this though, because I’m mainly at home, family members see me as a ‘woman of leisure’ and think that I can be called upon whenever it suits them. I had managed to stave off friends in order to get some writing done, but somehow family had become a lot more difficult (after all, they are family). This time around, however, I had reached my limit and asserted some authority. It didn’t go down well with others, but for me it felt something like this (minus the socks of-course 😉 ):-

This has always been the problem. If you work from home, some believe that this makes it a bit of a free for all. People believe that you can be contacted at any time or go out at any time. Of-course the other problem can be we allow all that to happen because we are people pleasers; we find it difficult to just say ‘no’ (hence the ‘woman of leisure’ tag). Other people’s problems can then become ours; their needs and wants overtake our own. We can eventually reach the point where nothing gets accomplished as we can become both physically and emotionally drained.

Of-course, these people do not see you being at home all day long as actually ‘working’ or doing anything significant. When I finally completed several years of University study I was told by a family member that ‘maybe now you can get yourself a little job’ (yeah, I’ll never forget that statement). Not having a ‘real’ job and earning a traditional salary can be unimaginable to some and yet more and more people are becoming self-employed, which includes writers. Putting up boundaries to people with such thoughts may seem at times a bit selfish, but it is completely necessary if we want to be successful. A line needs to be drawn.

The same can also be said for social media. We may just want to hop on for a couple of minutes, only to find half an hour or more has flown by. It’s a great distraction that can control our lives if we let it. After reading a helpful blog post about what to put on my ‘not to do’ list, I have changed some of my old habits and have managed to get more things done.

By putting up some much needed boundaries, for the first time in a long time, I am actually enjoying my current writing process. We may end up putting some noses out of joint in our efforts to focus on our goals, but those who truly support our efforts will understand in the long run.

Have you found it difficult to set boundaries in your life? Do you find it hard to say ‘no’, especially to family members? How do you avoid distractions, such as social media?

Side Note: Just a reminder that in 2018, I’ll be spending less time on social media and more time writing. I will continue to blog, although there may be times when my posts may become somewhat erratic, it’s all in a good cause. 😉

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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9 thoughts on “Setting Boundaries for Your Writing.

  1. Love the Dr Seuss quote 🙂 I recently got good advice: we get what we focus on. If we focus on our writing, it will happen. If we focus on others… well, you know what happens to your writing then. Also: sometimes the nasty things people say to us is all a reflection of their own fears and insecurities (we challenge their traditional thinking about work and money). That last bit helped me to make sense of a few things 😉 Happy writing!

    1. Hi Ronel. Sounds like some good advice there. 😉 Life’s too short to put up with other people’s emotional baggage; I just want to be happy and enjoy it. I really do need to put that Dr Seuss quote in a prominent place though to remind me on a daily basis. Happy writing to you too! Hope all is going well. 🙂

    1. Hi Anna. That is a special circumstance, but it’s good to know that you have managed to find time for yourself and your writing. 🙂

  2. I make it a priority to write every Sunday afternoon. But, as you know, other things and people try to creep in and usurp that time. Sometimes I am good about insisting on the writing time, but other times I give in to other things. I’m getting better about it, though!

    1. Yeah, it’s easy to let other things intrude into our writing time, isn’t it? 😉 It’s good that you’ve put some time aside every week to get some writing done. I’ve just started giving myself a writing quota every day and it feels good to know that when it’s done I have accomplished something. I hope you stick with it and I wish you the very best of luck! 🙂

  3. I tend to seek out the most removed room, whether it’s a basement or a corner room that has only one door, and few reasons for others to come in. I also tend to put in foam earplugs, then headphones, with music, to make it harder for others to get my attention.
    And I am fond of working at hours when others are either away, or engrossed in a TV show, or asleep.

    Facebook can be trickier, but I try to limit myself to brief spurts of social media, only 2-3 minutes, and only once in a while (not for 15 minutes at the very least). I think there’s a balancing act there, a certain point where resisting the urge itself becomes a distraction. At a certain point it may also pose the question “Is there something else that I want to do right now instead of writing, and is that something really ‘important enough’ to warrant taking a ‘real’ break?” Sometimes I just recognize that “right now”, my heart isn’t in writing, and I step away, hoping that after a more focused and extended “break” I’ll return refreshed and ready.

    1. Hi Adam. You’re lucky to have a room to write in and have ways to make sure no-one distracts you. My desk is in the dining room, between living room and kitchen, so I really have to work at it. 😉 I agree that Facebook and other social media really is a balancing act, one that I’m getting better at and like you, go on it in brief spurts. Sometimes we really need that break from writing and I usually find that by doing so, my ideas tend to get better and my writing faster. 🙂

      1. Mmm. At a certain point it becomes “I’m working on not doing X” instead of “I’m writing”.

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