To Prioritize Or Not

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Are you an organized writer? Or do you just hope that article gets done, that blog gets written, those edits do themselves?

My creative process is often at odds with my organizing angel who sprawls on my right shoulder prodding me to make a list. Sometimes I do. Other times I just know what the number one priority in my day has to be and I do it. (Writing my 3-4 pages.)

Post-It notes, lists on the frig, and reminder stickies all help to keep me on track. I’ve even experimented with using an electronic list for groceries and my writing duties. All of this is to try to get more done and to finish in a timely manner the tasks I set for myself.

Does it work?

Usually. For you see I’ve learned that the rest of my day is so much better if I just get some things off my list (translate-write my pages) before I do the easier things. That’s my secret. I prioritize. Just now after a tough go with shingles that really wiped out my writing energy–actually all of my energy–I am working hard to get caught up with my rough draft.

That’s what makes my prioritizing system even more important, for if I don’t get the books written all the rest is just not going to mean a thing. Who wants to hire a speaker who can’t get her books written? Or read a blog post from someone who has failed to finish her books? Or watch a YouTube video of someone whose main job is to play video games or watch TV?

You get the picture. If you look at my note above you’ll see several items that can be ignored if necessary. What is the one thing which cannot be ignored? You guessed it–rewriting chapter one. The writing has to get done. Number 5 and number 8 are pretty high on my list, too.

So you can see that prioritizing your list to match your goals is probably the most important job you can do. Get someone else to sew on the buttons. I mean, what’s a safety pin for??? If you’re a writer you’ll understand.

How do you structure your day? I am at my best first thing in the morning. I can tackle the world then and frequently do. Just this week I’ve decided to forgo most of my email/social media stuff and jump right into book three. I’m not even dressed yet! That can all wait.

First and foremost I open my Word file, check the pages from the previous day, correct anything that just doesn’t read right, reread the notes floating along below my work in progress to remind myself of where the story might be going and, before I know it, my brain has logged on and words tap onto my keyboard. My peeps are back on stage and I must move them along.

And once those pages are written I take all the time I like to shower, make myself as lovely as I can (?) and get on with the rest of my day, secure that I am really a writer and that book will get done.

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On the day I received my first printed copy of The Loyalist’s Wife.

Elaine Cougler’s website:



6 thoughts on “To Prioritize Or Not

  1. Elaine, I like making lists and then ticking things off! Sew on buttons – good one! I’ll make sure to put things like that on as well; ones that can wait. I too have been working like made on finishing my first draft – came across one major obstacle, editing-wise which is adding hours and hours of extra work. Grr… Yesterday like you I got straight on with it, didn’t even brush my hair! Then of course th postman rang; must be wondering who this mad woman was! I do hope you are better and your energy soon back to full strength.😀


    • Oh, Annika, that happens to me, too! Someone surprises me at 10 in the morning and I look like I just got up. Of course I’ve been up for probably four hours. Thanks for your good wishes. It’s been a tough go but I’m so much livelier now. Energy is everything!

      Liked by 1 person

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