Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Are You Willing to Give Up?

A young mother of two-year-old twins wanted to start a home-based business. She decided to put everything aside for a season, except for the responsibilities of caring for her young family. Having toddler twins, she'd already given up hobbies. What else could be cut from an already full schedule in order to give her business room to grow? She examined her daily and weekly schedule, then made changes to her lifestyle. She whittled down meal preparation to a minimum by rotating two weekly menus. Her husband didn't mind because she'd chosen some easy favorites. She completely stopped entertaining and didn't accept invitations. She literally didn't do anything more than take care of her family and concentrate on her career. In time, her children thrived and so did the business. Once she made a decent profit, she hired help. With a little more free time, she began finding balance and adding back into her life some of the things she'd given up, like entertaining.

For our large family, dining out was a rare luxury. My husband would eat cheaply on his business trips, then treat us to pizza with the money he'd saved. Today, with half the family working and attending college, I don't feed as many kiddos. So pizza has become standard fare for the younger boys. But I don't mind giving up preparing a home-cooked meal once a week. Not at all. That's one sacrifice I make gladly.

I don't enjoy cleaning my house but I really appreciate a neat environment. In the past, friends would look around my home and say, "Wow. You've got seven kids, yet it's so clean." I really liked the "wow." Prided myself on it, in fact. But think of all the books that might have been written, if I'd cleaned a little less, written a bit more. Well, no one says "wow" about the house today. And that's okay by me. I'm holding out for the potential some day to hear a "wow" about a book I've written.

Now, my youngest child attends preschool a few hours each day. Like nearly everyone in our fast-paced society, a long list of demands could easily fill those hours. But I refuse to use that premium writing time to de-clutter or organize my home. My motto of "work before play" meant I'd always cleaned house, then if I had time to spare, I'd write. Writing was merely a hobby I hoped would become my vocation. I must view writing as my work. So I need to take my job seriously and cut out the things--besides taking care of my family or my relationship with God--that prevent me from reaching my dream of publication.

No one reaches success in sports or business without great sacrifices of time, money, or even relationships. These decisions aren't made lightly. Yet, every day, we decide how dedicated we are about writing when we choose how to spend our time.

What hinders your writing? What changes can you to make? What are you willing sacrifice to make your dreams come true?

~Roxanne Sherwood


Beth K. Vogt said...

What have I given up so I can pursue writing? Crafts--not too much of a challenge, since I'm craft-challenged.
Cleaning my house--but I do have someone come in to clean the house for me. And, yes, I realize not everyone can afford the luxury! She doesn't come every day, but it's nice to know the house isn't completely neglected.
Television. We have a TV, but I don't watch it much. An occasional movie.
Anybody else want to chime in?

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Jeanne T said...

I enjoyed this post! What have I given up? Well, a clean house (this, for me, isn't saying much!), some crafting and friend time. I am also taking a step back from some activities I've been involved in. Thanks for the exhortation to look at writing as my work, and not just as a hobby. It will be a much higher priority in my thinking when I do this consistently. Thanks for the good thoughts and questions, Roxanne!

Teri Dawn Smith said...

During the last 6 weeks, I gave up almost all "outings" to keep at the computer and finish my manuscript. I didn't even read very much. It felt like I crawled into a cave for a while, but it does feel wonderful now to have it done.

Now for the edits!

Melissa Tagg said...

Sometimes I would like to give up my day-job in order to write...hehe. :) But while I might like it, my bank account probably wouldn't. (Besides, both of my post-college jobs - first reporting, now working in homeless ministry - have given me soooo much fodder for story-telling!)I also could not bear - and have zero desire - to give up family time and a daily dose of fiction reading.

But what I *have* given up? Um, my once-rigid cleaning and laundry schedule...well thought-out meals...and about 75% of my social life. (Clinging firmly to that last 25%, though.)

Fun post, Roxanne!!

Roxanne Sherwood said...

Beth, I've given up television too, except the occasional NCIS fix.

Mr. Lonely, I hope that's only a pen name. Thanks for stopping by. How did you find The Writing Road. It's great that you're blogging in another language. I only speak one.

Jeanne, realizing writing is my job now instead of some day is new for me too. I hope it helps both of us.

Teri, Congratulations! You may have crawled into a cave, but you finished. Yay! I'm cyber celebrating with you!

Melissa, I'm glad you're keeping family relationships into perspective while pursuing your dreams. I'm with you--there's no room for rigid laundry schedules in a writer's life. :-)

I enjoyed everyone's comments. Thanks for stopping by.

dtopliff said...

I'm with you, Roxanne, writing happily. When visitors come, if there's a little dust on things, I'll just transfix them with a brilliant smile, and maybe they won't notice the furniture. My family is happy that I'm writing, though. Keep it up!

Roxanne Sherwood said...

Delores, I agree with your family I'm happy you're writing too! Just hearing you speak about your trips and adventures makes me want to read your books.