Life has a habit of interfering with our creative passions. Work gets in the way of writing, family gets in the way, even cleaning gets in the way.
But it's funny how a life-threatening situation focuses your priorities like nothing else.
As a martial artist, one of the most crucial things you must do is decide your priorities. Both BEFORE you ever get into a threatening situation, and WHILE you're in it. These are actually two different mindsets. Before you're bailed up by a badguy, you need to know what you're prepared to do - how far you're prepared to go to protect yourself or your loved ones. Will you only twist arms, or will you break them? What is your priority - survival or not doing serious damage? The two may be incompatible. If you haven't thought about your limits and what's most important to you in advance, you'll hesitate and lose the chance to choose.
During a situation, you need to also prioritise what actions will get you the optimal outcome. Running away is great. Failing that, talking your way out is good. Failing that, doing MINIMUM damage in order to escape is important for both legal and psychological reasons. Your last choice should (in our society) be causing serious injury or death. But again, if you haven't trained in understanding how to assess the situation and prioritise each choice, you'll fail to do so under stress and default to something useless or terrible.
The problem with writing (or anything creative) is that it's highly unlikely to be something you prioritise due to a sudden, life-threatening situation. Pen and sword metaphors aside.
We focus on the mundane parts of our lives over the creative ones because the mundane is (at its basic level) ABOUT survival. If we don't earn an income, we don't eat and eating equates to survival. If we don't care for our offspring they don't survive, and we are genetically programmed as a species to reproduce and nurture.
So we prioritise eating and care for offspring over pretty much everything else. And we view our lives as being fuzzily endless with an unlimited number of 'one days' during which there will magically be time to do the creative stuff our brains love.
As writers, we need to find the balance. Otherwise life becomes so much about caring for family and putting food on the table that we never get around to filling that black hole in our gut with the creativity light.
Until it's too late.
So my best suggestion, right now, is think ahead. Stop for a second an imagine you've just been told you have sharply limited time left. You now have to truly prioritise what you are passionate about. If it's writing, then decide exactly what you want to say. And put it on the top of your To Do list for once. So what if the bathroom isn't spotless, or your kids go to bed a bit late? So what if their clothes aren't ironed or they eat nothing but hotdogs and mac and cheese for a couple of days while you finish the story? They'll survive, I promise. They might even learn to cook and clean.
Think now about what legacy you want to leave behind. Family, yes, but you have something to say as well. Don't leave it too late to prioritise what makes you unique to the world. What's inside your head.
Your gift. Your words. Your voice.
I live in Australia - which tells you I have a sense of humour. We're a self-deprecating people, we Aussies. My aim is to, one day, vanish in a blinding flash of enlightenment. In the mean time, I'm doing my best to learn as many