52 Qualities of Prosperous Writers | Boundaries

On May 12, 2010 by Aimee

Ah the topic of boundaries. As always, Christina Katz has great things to say in her weekly newsletter. This week’s 52 Qualities of Prosperous Writers focuses on boundaries. As soon as I read the newsletter, it reminded me of a little scene I wrote in Mystic Therapy.

Aaron, the guy in the romance, has walked away from his potential love interest in a fit of misinterpreted jealousy. He’s driving along, having picked up his sister and they are chatting. She’s chastising him for jumping to conclusions. At this point, Deena (his sister) knows a WHOLE lot more about what’s going on than Aaron does. He left Morgan (love interest) because someone else was at her house. He didn’t give her time to explain, simply reacted … he’s been blowing off steam in his car for a while and Deena, in an effort to ‘fix’ things, makes a phone call to ensure Morgan’s safety. Morgan, by the way, is a therapist and works from her home.

He’d simply reacted. Aaron slammed his palm onto the steering wheel. His mind had run to jealous, and he’d lost all ability to analyze.
“Hey Morgan.” Deena’s voice reverted to sweet. “Just wanted to make sure you’re okay, my stupid brother thought he saw someone at your house, and I got —.”
Deena paused as if to listen. “Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Have a good night.” She clicked off. “That was a client.”
“At ten o’clock at night?” Aaron continued on toward home.
“Yup.” Deena’s smiled grew. “That’s what you do when you have a certain clientele.”
“That’s ridiculous. Office hours are there for a purpose. To give someone a chance for a life outside of their work.”
“And for some, the only chance they have to meet with their support system is in the middle of the night.”
Aaron huffed out a breath and chuckled. “Sure, if you’re a [snip]…”

So, boundaries. Does Morgan have them? Actually yes. 🙂 This particular incident shows that sometimes, others don’t understand where yours might lay. And once they do, their entire perspective can be changed.

Not to say that Morgan’s are good. I mean, c’mon. A client meeting at nearly 11pm at night? Hmmmmm….. but I digress. She didn’t though, make the decision to hold that meeting out of desperation. She already “deals” with out of the ordinary client issues as it is.

Now, as for me … my boundaries have firmed over the last couple of years. Being a small business owner, the more 80 hours weeks I work, the less I got done. The more dedicated time I spent on pieces and parts of what I enjoyed, the MORE I felt accomplished.

There were times when I looked to my competition and wondered why I wasn’t getting everything they were. Why I wasn’t shooting 10x a week, getting book deals, getting my name out there, etc. It took a long time for me to figure out that I’m not in this life to compete with everyone else, I’m here for me. What do I want to get out of photography, writing, family, relationships, etc?

I want to enjoy them and the moment I start in the competitive cycle of ‘catch up with the Jones” then I start failing … terribly.

So for me, it’s about internal boundaries. Not setting them per se, but realizing what happens when I go beyond them. Now, that’s not to say my competitive nature isn’t there, but I stop it when I know I’m not going to be happy … or as I start to reach that point. I look back and take stock in my work effort.

Am I doing what I’m doing because I enjoy it?
Or am I doing what I’m doing because everyone else thinks I should?
Or am I doing what I’m doing because someone else is and so I should be to?

I want to find myself in the first of those questions … and the only way to do that is to set goals, establish boundaries and stick to them. Not as easy as it sounds, but like Christina says … the key is not to let them take you to places outside of yourself. It’s ‘your’ responsibility to stick to them, no one else’s.

Got some boundaries of your own you need to reign in?