When you make time for your writing, you are not just making time for the words on the page--you're making time for you. Whether you reach those publishing goals or not (and you will if you stick to your schedule...), is not the most important part of the equation. Sure, it's a bonus, like when you begin a new health and fitness routine; at first, you begin reducing your calories and upping your cardio to look good in a bathing suit by summer BUT the unexpected bonus of working toward that particular goal is that along the way, you begin to feel better, not just look better. It almost doesn't matter that your arms are more toned, your belly fat is flat, because you FEEL good: Physically, mentally and emotionally. Ironically, the bonus then becomes looking good in that bathing suit come summer. It's will be the same with your writing, too.
Start with writing more. Sit down and write creatively for an hour a day. Maybe you'll find, just like that new health and fitness routine, that you need to write creatively three days a week for an hour, spend two researching publishers and agents, and a sixth day writing/sending queries--if you can pull that off, you'll be published within the year. However you work your schedule, try to make it so you don't get bored. Just like a fitness routine, you will find repetition boring after a while, giving you an easy excuse to stop, even if you think it will be temporary until this, that, or the other is finished--it will be time lost. Valuable time, whether you're like me and are intimately familiar with your own mortality, or just an average person trying to accomplish a life-long dream of writing and publishing a book.
Bringing more balance to our lives is a good thing. Want to know what's even better? Using that sense of balance to feel more in control, more motivated, more effective, and ultimately, more productive. You can do this!
And while you are working on your magnum opus, be sure to take time out to volunteer. The tragedy in Haiti is a wake up call; unfortunately, we've had many in these last years. But just think of how good you'll feel knowing you helped people--learn to read, learn to write, learn to do something totally new that will benefit their lives for the rest of their lives. That was what drew me to teaching--everyday, I had opportunity to help at least one person. It's an amazing feeling. I became addicted. While I love my writing career and know that I'm living "the dream" in many ways, I dearly miss having that daily opportunity to help individuals. One way I help myself to find that same sense of purpose is by helping others. When the news about the devastation in Haiti broke, I wanted to help those people more than anything. The Red Cross has set up a great way to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti--just go to www.redcross.org and hit the "Donate" icon; you can also hit the "Volunteer" icon while you're at it and look for local opportunities to donate your time. Donating life is another great way to help--look up locations in your area where you can donate blood. Doctors Without Borders is another great way to help: www.DoctorsWithoutBorders.org
By helping yourself acheive whatever goals you have for 2010, you'll be balancing out your life. Once you've made this committment, you will feel more positive overall and can then begin helping others. Nothing is impossible in your life if you can do this. And I know you can....