So you want to be a writer. You’ve got a stupendous idea for a book. Maybe you’ve even jotted down some ideas, a scene or two, some character names. There’s just one teensy problem. Although your story is constantly nudging around in your mind, you never have time to sit down and WRITE. After a day of carpools, email, meetings, phone calls, housework and a thousand other tasks, you’re toast.
Ever start a comprehensive new exercise regimen and find yourself dumping it after a week? Decide to lose twenty pounds on an all-grapefruit diet? Odds are the only thing you lost was any desire to eat another grapefruit. These endeavors fail for one simple reason: they are too ambitious. We bite off more than we can chew. We try to do too much, too soon. Then when we are forced to skip a day, or we have to attend the Little League banquet and there’s cake, we decide we’ve failed and we scrap the entire enterprise.
My solution: reject the all-or-nothing mentality that the writing gurus keep shoveling as the only way to be a writer. You need to STOP. Breathe. There’s a better, more realistic way. Here are six easy steps to taking your nutso life and adding in the one element that missing and that, ironically, you most want to have in there: the time to write.
It takes practice to tune out everything else during writing time, but it’s a habit worth cultivating. If you backslide and take a call, or maybe run downstairs to check on the meatloaf, don’t beat yourself up. Remember that this is a journey without a finish line.
And there you have it. Each week you’ll take a few minutes to analyze your time and carve out your writing life. If you only get two sessions in a week, take them and run. Maybe you can get four sessions the next. Just keep your goals realistic.
What, you may well ask, can you possibly accomplish in 15 minutes? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Remember that no one sits down and produces a polished chapter in one sitting, or maybe even three. In future blogs we’ll be chatting about breaking down various aspects of the process to preserve sanity. For now, just focus on finding those precious minutes and getting words on the page, even if they’re not your very best. Because whatever else they may be, they are YOURS.
I am a writer and teacher of writing. After a lifetime of attempting to squeeze writing into my busy life as wife, mother, Scout leader, teacher, and far too many additional hats to list here, I have achieved my dream of being published and becoming a 'real writer'. How did I find the time? In this blog I'll share some of my strategies for having it all--and still getting dinner on the table by six.