Eschewing Urgency: One Writer's Wisdom

I have been awake for two and a half hours now. It’s 8:06am, and 156 minutes have passed when I’m conscious.  If I’m not careful, I can let myself think I have done nothing. 

But as I wrote for Modern Creative Life yesterday, mornings are busy times for me. . . today, I have read 25 pages of Buechner’s Telling Secrets, spent time trying to puzzle through Pilate’s choice in John 19, prepped a lunch, and fed 33 creatures.  I also made our bed, answered emails, and lit a candle on my desk.

What I didn’t do this morning was write my 1,000 words. The reason is simple – Daylight Savings Time screws up my schedule with the animals here. I feel this adjustment I have not yet made pressing on me.  Just now, my words are aching against the back of my teeth.


At this moment, 5 messages about building my business, selling books, and increasing my profits as a writer are waiting in my in-box.  3 podcasts on my phone shout with their purple exclamation-point icon. A tab on my screen even now opens onto a class about profitability.

I am craning my neck to read all of these, to delve into their lessons, to try them out.

But I have client projects to work on and books to read and my DVR is loaded with 6 episodes of Castle (Season 3, if you’re wondering.)

Plus, I really need to hoe the garden and file my research papers and write those emails . . .

And book marketing, for the love of book marketing.

Every single one of these things feels urgent.  Absolutely urgent.  

I know all about the boxes with important not urgent, urgent not important, and I could grid all these things and place them properly.

I could bullet journal.

I could create a color-coded calendar of tasks.

I could . . . I could . . . I could. . .


But I won’t.  Not because those things don’t work – I expect they do. But because doing more, even to make what I already have ahead more manageable, is not my way to health.

The beautiful, cracked-open laughing irony is that to manage this hay-bail weighted urgency inside my chest I have to do less.  

Two weeks ago today, I wrote about the need for emptiness, and already, I have forgotten what I sat so surely in then.

All these things – the courses and lessons, the emails and projects – they will get done.  I am nothing if not committed to completion.  But they won’t all get done now, or today, or this week, or this month even.  I will get to them, though . . . as will you.

You know how I’m sure when I’m carrying the weight of urgency like a wide-winged bird around my neck?  I start evaluating other people by how much they do, not who they are.  As soon as I think, “Well, if he wants to sell books, he’s going to have to hustle,” I know.  I’m sure there’s some psychological term – projection comes to mind – for this habit of mine, but for me, I just know it as burden and the absence of grace.


As soon as this blog post goes up – these are some of my favorite things to write every week, you know – I’m tucking into my novel, the sequel to Steele Secrets.  (Did I just say that out loud?)

There, I’m going to let Mary and Micah, Isaiah and Darren speak for a while because their voices, their stories, they aren’t urgent at all.  Nope, they’re just steady as the rise of a new day.  They come when I listen, when I slow down to hear.

When I write, it’s like my arms rise up on their own and push everything else back, gently but firmly, behind the line that gives me space to breath, to hear, to create.

How do you battle off the list of urgent things that burdens you?  How do you settle around to writing when so much presses in?