Add Triage to your To Do List

In an emergency room, the most urgent cases are treated first.  I apply the same triage system when I have too much dirty laundry for one load.  Underwear and socks always make the cut, while my pillowcase has to wait it out until next Sunday.  But when my to do lists get too long and overwhelming, I tend to the easiest – and often least important – tasks first.  Writing is rarely the first to be tackled.


Check that story for a pulse!

I’ve decided to determine a line of triage for my writing related to do’s.  I plan to print it and post it above my desk and tell myself that every time I attend to a facebook post first, a neglected little poem dies in the waiting room.

This list is meant for myself, but maybe it will inspire your own triage system:

1. Write.  I hear it’s hard to become a writer if you don’t.

2. Submit. Research agents and publishers and send out results from step 1.

3. Critique.  There have been times when I’ve spent so much time critiquing others’ work that I had no time left over to spend on my own.  If that’s the case for you, join a smaller critique group.  But because my critique groups are invaluable to my writing process and because I’ve made time sensitive commitments to them, this remains a high priority on my list.

4. Study the craft.  This gets its own triage system, with ‘reading books in my genre’ as the priority, followed by book, SCBWI bulletin, and blog reading.

5. Blog.  They say that having a blog is important to publishers.  Actually, having a blog has helped me better understand my writing process and develop a sense of community around writing.  So, THANK YOU!

6. Financially support my writing.  Work involved in the jobs that I already have get their own list, but I spend a significant chunk of time looking for and applying to opportunities to teach writing, freelance, or pick up other part-time gigs to support my writing.  The point of my working piecemeal jobs is to leave time for writing, so when I occasionally spend more time job researching than writing, I have to check my priorities.

7. Clean the entire house. Why is that on my writing to-do list?  Because when it’s time to write, I suddenly feel a need to-do it.

8. Check Facebook.



Filed under Thoughts and Insights

6 responses to “Add Triage to your To Do List

  1. I love it! Every time I leave a comment on someone’s blog, do I get another rejection in the publishing world? I certainly hope not! Lists definitely help me, too. Prioritizing is often the hardest part. Especially with homework. Right now, I’m even procrastinating THAT.

    • Haha, I definitely don’t mean to say that a blog comment = a rejection! Blogging is still on the list, I just personally need to learn to put it off until AFTER the writing part.
      Homework’s nice because it has a deadline, so even when you procrastinate, you know you’re going to actually get around to it at some point!

  2. This is gold – I am scarred by the harsh and horrid reality that facebook kills poems – and will try to remember that the next time I open this machine to write…

  3. So I actually have to write in order to be a writer. Well, that makes it harder! Great list!

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