Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's Writing Time

How many times have you heard fellow writers say, "I just can't find the time to write" or how many times have you, yourself, said or thought, "my writing is suffering, I can't get time to do it?" How frustrated are you in trying to carve out the time to write what you want to write? 

Unless you're living on a trust fund and never have to hold down a job and don't have a family to distract you, you're in the same boat as most writers. Trying to work writing into a life you already have.

Now I don't want to get trite or sarcastic, well maybe a little sarcastic, but it's really is one of those life situations where you either will or you won't - that simple.

Now don't whine at me, "you don't understand" because I do. I've held full time jobs and published novels, I've been just married, taken care of an ailing mother and held a full time job AND optioned a screenplay - more than one. So I've been there. I know all the distractions and excuses.

So, what is the solution? It's pretty basic. First, do you want to write? I mean do you REALLY want to write? Is there a story inside burning, bumping and nagging to get out? Are you desperate to get it out? Do you want to write so badly you can hardly think of anything else?

Okay, if that's true, then there are ways to work writing in and admittedly there are some sacrifices you'll probably have to make to achieve your writing goals. No, not probably. There ARE sacrifices. If you're not up to that, then go back to the paragraph above and reevaluate.

There was a period of several years when I watched no TV at all. Each evening after work (where lunch hours were dedicated to errands or reading writing publications) I went straight home, ate dinner, did what had to be done, then locked myself away for about two or three hours of writing. Oh, I spent time Saturday morning writing as well. Then I spent some quality time with friends and relatives on weekends. Now I'm not saying that schedule was never broken, at times it was, but it was what I expected of myself and I published my writing over the years with Doubleday, Harlequin, Five Star, Pinnacle Books and others.

At other times in my life my writing was done on lunch hours and breaks... and evenings. I wrote during entire vacations from my day job, read writing publications when I minded a cash register at a book store between customers.

You can find jobs that fit in with your writing. You can work things out with your family. Perhaps after you publish and generate some income from your writing you can change to a part time job which is another thing I did; and then jealously guard those precious hours for your writing. You'll discover as you carve out more time for your writing, more people will think you're not working at all and it's okay to interrupt or suggest an outing for that time or want to call you and chat or constantly text you. Do what you must to guard against intrusion with firmness and diplomacy or you'll find that writing income drying up and soon you'll be back at square one.

Other writing friends have told me how they write on buses or trains on the way to work, on lunch hours tucked away in a corner somewhere, long into the night or if a stay at home parent, when the kids are at school or watching Sesame Street. Dinner becomes an adventure in tracking down 15 minute recipes that are actually good for you and taste good.

Be creative, search your life for those bits of time when you can put them to good use writing what you want to get out. One person's way may not be yours, but with some thought and planning you can carve out some writing time in your life. It's a matter of priority. There's no right or wrong answer, no write (right) or wrong way to strive for your goals. If writing isn't a high priority then give yourself a break, let it go. If it is important to you, explore your life and realistically find the way to work the amount of writing time in that is comfortable for you.

As Yoda would say - "Do or do not, there is no try."

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