Do you ever get those times when it seems like you want to do more than you ever
possibly could? I look at how many books there are in the world – those ones that I really want to read and those that I have never even heard of but that I will undoubtedly want to read – and my head spins with the enormity of it! I even get a tiny flip of panic in my stomach. I’ll never get through all those before I die, and then I’ll have failed. Of course I’ll never get through them all – even if I was immortal, I’d never be able to keep up with the pace at which great new books are released. And of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve failed – it means I’m human. Still, it’s a bit overwhelming, isn’t it?
The same principle applies to the books and the stories (and the blog posts, for that matter) that I want to write too. Ideas flip through my head – words, sentences, stories, characters, scenes – one after another after another. It goes without saying that half (if not more) of those ideas are poop but I’d definitely like the opportunity to explore them. In reality though, even if I had no other responsibilities and no other hobbies or things I wanted to try or learn and discover, I’d never get all those ideas down on paper (or rather, virtual paper). It’s impossible, in the same way that reading all the books is impossible (although perhaps immortality might help with this one, assuming that my well of creativity has a bottom – hard and cold and damp, though it may be).
It’s not just book related either. I want to be fluent in another language, I want to learn to swim and take up a team sport, I want to become a proficient sewer and hand-make all my own clothes, I want to visit country after country and discover different cultures, I want to do amateur dramatics, I want to join a social group, I want to go back to university and do a PhD in Creative Writing or a Masters in etymology or a course in English Literature or even all three (and maybe one or two more), I want to go clubbing again, I want to be a volunteer and help out the community, I want to spend more time with my husband and my family, I want to be a better dog owner and walk George much more often, I want to be a clean-freak and live in an immaculate house, I quite like the idea of taking up photography or art, and trying out roller derby sounds fun
I want to live to a grand old age and be a kooky old lady who tells so many tales that my family and friends think I’m lying. And all that’s not even half of it.
So yeah, overwhelming. All that’s never going to happen, unless I become so bad-ass at time management that I manage to invent a way to create more time! It saddens me sometimes, the knowledge that I’ll never complete my list of ‘to-do’s but its reality, its humanity – its life, and I’ve just got to learn to deal with it (unless any of you do know the secret to immortality and in which case, please let me know so that I can add ‘achieving everlasting life’ to my list).
So all that got me to thinking about priorities. How do you prioritise what you are going to do over the things that you are just going to dream about? With my writing, at least, I prioritise those ideas that won’t leave me alone, the sentences that stop me from going to sleep until I drag my butt out of bed to write it down, the characters that follow me to work and prod at my mind all day long. The other ideas, well, they’ll have to wait until the more boisterous of their kind have told their tales.
This blog post, actually, is the perfect example. I had intended to come here to write about the importance of editing and how typos seem to breed behind my back but this is what came out instead. ‘Editing’ will have to wait. Priorities, see?