Pay Yourself First

There's this philosophy in the world of personal finance/budgeting that says your best chance of saving money is to "pay yourself first." In other words, when you're putting together your monthly budget, you start by setting aside the money you'll put in savings (to make sure you actually save some!).

Much like money, time also benefits from a budget. We only have so many hours in the day, and those hours can slip away if you're not careful. And while I don't subscribe to the theory that everyone must write every day (for many, that's simply not what they want or can do!), for the days we do want to write, we have to budget that time. 

If you find yourself with multiple creative commitments (maybe you're writing your own work and also critiquing for a friend or editing for a client), it can be easy to let your person work slide in favor of doing other work. I used to get stuck in a pattern of helping other writers--whether CPs or mentees or friends--and saving no time for my own work. 

Now? I pay myself first.

In order to keep forward momentum and prioritize my work without neglecting other responsibilities, I set reasonable personal goals and make sure I hit that goal before I move on to anything else. Once I've "paid myself" (taken care of my personal writing/revising work), I can work on other projects without any guilt.

Another way to "pay yourself first" is to try writing before work/classes/other life responsibilities. While this may not work for everyone, I find it really helpful. The days I hit my writing goals in the morning before work are in turn some of the most productive days at the Day Job as well. 


Now you tell me! Do you have a way to "pay yourself first" when it comes to your creativity? Leave me a comment and let me know.