It’s About Time
I have a confession to make.
Seems like I say that a lot lately. Not sure whether I’m subconsciously guilt-ridden or if it’s just a good jumping off point when I’m not sure what blog is gonna come out of me when I sit down to write. Or some combination of the two.
This particular blog is about making the time to write. Or finding the time to write.
If you have even a passing interest in the craft of writing (you obviously must or you wouldn’t read the blog), you have most likely come across 8,376,431,391 articles and YouTube videos that address this topic. There are schedules and methodologies and mnemonics and rationales and a bunch of step-by-step guides about making/finding time to release the story that’s trapped inside you and capture it on the page.
I’m not gonna do that. I mean, do you really need 8,376,431,392 of these things? In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that there are more tips on making time available than you have time to read or listen to. And every time you spend time with one of those things, it is time you’re NOT spending on your craft.
But first. The confession.
I hate this topic. I once quit a group because it seemed this topic was a big focus.
Got that off my chest.
Let’s face a few facts. Writing, or any art for that matter, isn’t always easy. Even the disciplined Stephen King in his book, On Writing, confesses that some days, it takes a lot longer to reach his daily writing goals than others.
Fact 2: Writing (read: all art) is intensely personal. It costs you something of yourself. In other words, there’s a piece or two of you on every page, lyric, or canvas.
Fact 3: Most people can be pretty selfish about giving of themselves. Obviously, this varies from person to person, but everyone I’ve ever met or read about reaches a point where they need “Me time.”
So how excited are you to make time for something that’s hard, costly, and leaves you less time to do the things you want to do? In an oversimplified nutshell, I give you the writer’s time dilemma. Many times, it’s not something you want to do. You want to have done it already. That’s why it can be hard to find time to sit down and do it.
So, some perspective. Let’s say your mom makes your very favorite dish, the one she hasn’t made in forever and your mouth is watering just thinking about it. Is your first inclination to respond, “You know, I’d like to eat it, but it’s hard to find the time.”? Or is it that you can’t get to the table fast enough?
I choose B.
Because we tend to find the time for the stuff that’s important.
I personally think the key to finding time varies from person to person. Some people get up really early in the morning. If I did that, all my chapter headings and sentences would all look like this: “Please, just let me sleep!”
Others set daily or weekly goals and keep diaries and checklists to make sure they adhere. And it works for them. For others, it might not. Say you keep falling behind in your goals and start feeling bad about yourself. The downward spiral begins—why would you do something hard that makes you feel bad? So you fall further behind and feel even worse. Who needs that?
I tend to write on the weekend and on evenings when my day job doesn’t suck too much of the life out of me. I’m looking forward to getting a lot done over the holidays.
So … my very long-winded point is: Don’t try to fit into someone else’s mold. Unless it actually feels comfortable on you.
Be flexible. If you hear an idea that sounds like it might be you, try it. If it doesn’t work out, jettison it.
Be true to yourself.
Be true to your craft.
I now descend from the soap box.