Every writer -- every human being, for that matter -- must have boundaries. If we didn't, people would walk all over us. Most of the time, they wouldn't mean to hurt us, but in looking out for their own needs, they'd simply forget that we had a set of our own. And it's not up to others to remember we need the time and space and support to be creative. If it's not important enough for us to politely but firmly insist upon, why should it be important to anybody else?
I like to keep my boundaries clear and visible but permeable, not a razor-wire security fence, but something permeable and friendly, more of a visible reminder than a real deterrent. I want to be able to reach through or over, to offer a helping hand when I so choose. But I don't want to feel encroached upon or obligated.
So what can you do to make writing boundaries work for you?
1. Carve out a given number of hours, pages, or words to produce nearly every day for writing. Insist upon the sanctity of this time, but be flexible enough to rearrange for an emergency or important family event.
2. Check your writing schedule before agreeing to other obligations. Make writing a real priority, and others will respect its place in your life.
3. When you're interrupted while writing, tell the person you'll get back to them (unless the house is on fire) once you're finished with the day's work.
4. Plan for necessary chores/social time/family obligations so you don't feel guilty every second you're not writing.
5. Occasionally make an except for someone determined and appreciative. If this feels like giving a gift rather than being forced into an obligation, you're doing something positive for yourself as well.
So how do you define your writing boundaries? How do you convince others to respect them?