Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday's Children: The Time is Now

Something I hear from a lot of people is "I'd like to write a book, but I just don't have time."
The sad thing is, this is true. If you operate on the belief that you don't have the time to write, you won't. If you don't make the time to write, to carve it out of the chaos of everyday life, it won't happen. You won't write that book that's lurking inside you. 

It's not that writers are less busy than other people. To the contrary, writers are probably the busiest people I've ever met. Not only are they managing their own lives and often the lives of their families, they're also creating and keeping track of the lives, and sometimes deaths, of a whole host of fictional characters.

If writing a book is important to you, you'll find the time to do it. You'll stay up late, get up early, give up things that are less important that your story. Take a look at your life - what can you get rid of. Obviously the kids have to stay. :)  The day job probably does too - at least for now. But there are probably things you can let go of. Like excessive TV watching or internet surfing.

In addition to cutting things, you can also more effectively use the small pockets of time you do have. Instead of being cranky that you don't have time to write, keep a notebook with you, write while your kid is getting his braces adjusted. Make notes while you're getting your oil changed. Work on character studies while your kid is at practice or you're making supper.

Are these ideal situations in which to write? Nope. But they're usable. Would we all rather sit uninterrupted for hours at a time and focus only on our stories? Absolutely. But those aren't the lives most of us have. We have to take the opportunities we have, even if they don't look like much. Those found opportunities will add up the story you've always wanted to write.

When I start feeling overwhelmed by life and my perceived lack of time, I remind myself of this quote by E.B. White: “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.”

I don't want to be the person who never writes the stories she wants to tell, so I'll keep finding time even it's not perfect. There are too many stories not to.

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  1. So true! I'm very fortunate (see an earlier Thursday's Children post) that I was laid off which gave me a big enough chunk of time to figure out that I really wanted to write AND to actually do it. But I still have kids, pets, and a bunch of other stuff that trumps writing. I have pretty much completely given up TV. The internet, not so much ;)

  2. You make a great point. When I worked 9-5, I could only ever find the time to write short stories... and I'd often pump those out during long weekends!

    Writing takes so much discipline and self-motivation — there's no one really telling us to do this except for ourselves. Carving out time or cutting out things that are less important are definitely part of the gig.

    I wonder if those times — the dentist, the oil change, the pick-up — provide opportunities for inspiration themselves?

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Excellent point. It's much more about motivation than time or lack thereof. It DOES make it harder--like, I've gotten WAY less done during the holidays than I normally would--but I know I'll go back to it in January with a fresh start and sometimes taking a break to be with family is a good thing. :)

    But yeah, I know SO many people who claim that they'd write a book if they had the time, but I know they never will.

  4. Oops, didn't mean to publish. Not sure what happened. haha...I was just saying I know they wont', because if they REALLY wanted to write, they'd already be doing it. Real writers tend to find the time, no matter what...

  5. I love that quote by E.B. White. It's so true. We make time for what matters to us most. Hope you're having a lovely Christmas! Kristina x

  6. The next time someone says he'd like to write a book, but he doesn't have time, I'm going to look at him, wide-eyed and sincere, and say, "I know *exactly* what you mean! I don't have time to write a book, either!"

    Then I'll just quietly point to my three published books, and wait for the message to sink in.

  7. Thoughtful blog thanks for sharing.