Weekend Writer: What are You Doing Today and Why Are You Doing It? oh yeah, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads Out There

Posted by in Louise Behiel, writing | 29 comments

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.  You know who you are and why you deserve recognition. And for those of you who struggle on this day because your dad wasn’t wonderful, please know you are  not alone.  Do something today to make it special for you – something you wish your father had done with and for you.

I was going to post the following yesterday but time slipped away on me, which seems fitting, doesn’t it?

Urgency Matrix, with thanks to Dr Stephen Covey

Dr Stephen Covey made popular the matrix plotting how we spend our time: on urgent matters or important ones.  As writers, it is easy to let life lead you away from the time we need to spend writing. After all, no one is dying for you to publish or sell your next book.  And it is important to:

  • fertilize the lawn
  • pick up the puppy ‘presents’ in the back yard
  • kill the dust bunnies under the bed
  • dust the far reaches of the crystal chandelier you’ve always hated
  • read one more blog or follow Facebook for a few more minutes. (I am not playing games, really.)

The matrix asks us to consider all potential activities in terms of our long term goals.

Of course, this implies you know what your long term goals are.  Do you know? What are they?  (That’s a rhetorical question, but if you can’t make a list of them right now, they’re not clear enough.)

One of my long term goals is to be a multi-published, best selling author of both fiction and non-fiction. Hmmm.  How am I doing at that?  How about you?  Where are you on the path to your dreams?

With all the focus on social media and promotion, I’ve spent a lot of time blogging and building a blogging community.  I’ve loved every minute of it and every minute of getting to know so many of you.  I’m honored at the details you’ve shared in comments, emails and phone calls.  I’ve learned so much reading your blogs.

Ditto for all the other shiny social media tools out there.

But I’m not writing as much as I need to.

So I’ve made a decision to make my writing both Urgent and Important on the Covey matrix. That means I need to start paying more attention to the time I spend with my hands on the keyboard writing fiction.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but those ‘para-writing’ activities can take a lot of time.  I need to accept my realities:

  1. I have a full time job that keeps me from being homeless
  2. I have family commitments I’m not willing to short change
  3. I need to walk and move this aging body regularly.
  4. I need to write
  5. I need to edit
  6. I need to focus on my direction and goals

I haven’t been doing a particularly good job on any of those, except the second one.  And I’m publicly committing right here and right now that this is going to change.  I don’t feel great if I’m not creating. I don’t work as well if my creativity is clogged.  I don’t rest as well when the words are jammed in my brain.

If I don’t get as many words on the page as I need to, my life seems to fall apart rather quickly.  Hmmmm.  I guess that makes me a writer. Go figure.

By the way, since I wrote this on Friday evening, I’ve edited 30 pages of my next novella and put down some notes about my  next book, so public admissions and commitments seem to work.

What about you?  Where are you on the matrix with your writing? What do you need to change to make sure you are in the quadrant that best serves you?


  1. Hi Louise. I really enjoyed the book “The Artist’s Way”. Very good for dealing with procrastination and getting on with living creatively whilst still living reality. 🙂

  2. “I don’t feel great if I’m not creating. I don’t work as well if my creativity is clogged.” I had to smile. You are so right. You could be speaking for me, but you’re speaking to me as well. I’ve been asking God ‘what now’? I don’t know yet. But I know ‘what not’. That’s a beginning, isn’t it? Excellent post to spur my thoughts.

    • Heidi, what a treat to ‘see’ you here. ‘What not’ is important to know – for it eliminates so many potential paths to the wrong direction. Living a full and rich life takes time and commitment to separate the wheat from the chaff. I have every confidence you’re on your way.

  3. Thank you for sharing this important matrix. The tool will definately help me to put things into priority order better. Blogging and reading blogs are activities that have to take a backseat spot for me so I can write more.

    • that’s exactly my truth as well Reetta. thanks

  4. My goals are very murky at the moment. You visit my other blog so you know what my highest priority is right now…and until I can overcome that issue, it’s hard to think about anything else. LOL, sometimes it’s hard to think at all. But when the improvements are consistent, writing will be the think I most look forward to doing more of. 🙂

  5. This is such a timely post for me, Louise. I’m trying to balance the writing and social media, family, house, gym … um, you get it, and it’s been very hard to find the balance. Want I notice is that I do all the things where others are counting on me and leave the thing that’s ‘for me’ (my fiction writing) last. I need to force myself to move that up the priority list.

    • You took the words right out of my mouth, Ginger. That’s why I wrote the post – to remind me to move MY priorities up the list. Boy that’s a hard lesson to learn.

  6. Wow! It sounds like you tapped into my brain. I didn’t say it nearly as eloquently. You may or may have noticed that I am on FB less lately. I started moving into this plan in the last week or so. I haven’t quite gotten there yet, but it’s starting to fall into place and it’s a wonderful feeling. I still get sidetracked by the kids, but at least I am getting some writing in now where before there was none. I plan to up the amount I get done considerably in the weeks to come. I {heart} this post!

    • Thx Debra. I’m in the same boat – I have to get back to writing otherwise there’s no point in anything else. So I intend to be less visible online in the future as well. I love my online friends but I have to get the words on paper. be well and good luck.

  7. Great reminders and a nice kick in the arse, Louise 🙂 For me, social media eats into my writing time more than any other task I’m involved in. Unfortunately, there isn’t another option if I want to be published, seeing as how the face of publishing has changed and authors are responsible for building platforms and marketing themselves/their books.

    I have accepted that reality and so then my choice has become how often do I need to work on social media. That seems to be the key. Balance. Every day I have a general routine that doesn’t change and then I have responsibilities that fluctuate from one day to the next. As long as I know every morning what needs to be done in the next 24-48 hours then I usually can stay on top of everything I need to do.

    This means I have to be on the ball, focused, ready for last-minute change in plans. But overall it works for me. Now with summer here and the kids out of school, things are going to be much different. I have a plan outlined for the next 2 1/2 months. So, we’ll see how it goes…

    • sounds like you have a solid plan and are working it. I think that was my problem, I neglected to plan carefully enough. But I’m with you – if I have a plan, I’m fine.

  8. Louise, it is so very easy to put everything else first because those tasks are important to the people who are important to us. And it’s so very easy to put the writing last, because of course, our writing is important to only ourselves. I keep trying to break that habit. Maybe we need a 12 step program for putting the writing first?

    Great post, as always, and really makes me think about the struggle between writing versus all those other things that are important to me, but mainly they’re important because they’re important to the people I love.

    • great observation, Sheila. as a mother, daughter and wife, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in other people’s preferences. and yes, we enjoy them, but they don’t forward our goals. Well said.

  9. Recently, I had to cut back on my typing time in my online time. I didn’t realize I could read 3 books in a week until I reallocated the time. I think the most important thing a writer can do is write. 🙂

    • totally agree. and we have to make time for reading as well.

  10. I have to write a priority list, otherwise I find myself getting up close and personal with dust bunnies and the chandelier! 🙂 Great post Louise (as always!!).

    • that’s such a good idea, Coleen. It’s something I need to start doing – on Sunday nights, make up a list of priorities for the week. then i’ll stay in the important side of the graph.

  11. Love that 4-quadrant thingy by Dr. Covey. It really makes you prioritize and discover that some things you thought were important, actually aren’t. Within that, I also try to get a few quick jobs done as a warm-up. If I can accomplish something in fifteen minutes and mark it as complete, it makes me feel like I’m moving forward and clearing something off my plate. It energizes me to tackle the big stuff.

    And hugs to people who are missing their fathers this day, as I am. My dad was a wonderful guy, my best buddy. He passed away in 2044 and I miss him every day.

    • I’m sorry for your loss Roxy. I’ve heard you speak very highly of your father, so I know today must be difficult.

  12. How often do we need to be reminded of this? As creative types, I’m thinking more or less daily! 😉 Thanks, Louise!

    • I need this reminder very frequently, that’s for sure.

  13. First time comment. Loved the matrix. I am a conflicted Monkey child, a cusp gal on Libra and Virgo. Left handed, pigeoned toed, obsessive/compulsive talker. Love the social media. Don’t love the “need” for it to promote. It’s like I love to learn but hated sitting in a classroom. No more jobs. Kids are gone. Grandkids taken care of. I don’t have the time to do anything but put the writing first. Let’s see how well that goes 🙂

    • how lovely for you that you know who you are and how you are and what your priorities are. well done.

  14. Awesome post, Louise! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve moved writing up on the totem pole. 🙂

    Thanks also for encouraging people for which Father’s Day is hard. I’m lucky in this regard, but my heart goes out to those who aren’t.

    • Thanks August. and yes, today is not always a good day for remembering. It is important we acknowledge that in the midst of the gratitude and delight

  15. thx, for including this post on th elink feast


  1. Link Feast For Writers, vol. 13 | Reetta Raitanen's Blog - [...] What Are You Doing Today And Why Are You Doing It by Louise Behiel [...]

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