“The Hardest Part is Getting Started.”
A reader recently asked me several questions about how I got started and how I got where I am today, with a finished manuscript, an agent, and a publisher. This blog is partly my own ramblings about my writing journey, but it’s also meant to be a helpful resource to those who love to write and want to share their writing with others, perhaps through traditional publishing.
As I started writing this post, it quickly turned into a monster with eight heads and writhing tentacles. Sheesh, it’s not as simple as I thought. So I’ve decided to break this down into more digestible chunks and we’ll continue as long as necessary. Today we’re going to talk about time.
How do you find the time?
You don’t. You steal it from other places. I’ve written a little about that here, but I’ll expound a little more now. I do not have a job outside my writing, so I can’t fully empathize with those who do. I do however have a husband and three young children and a house and church and community responsibilities, all of which could usurp 30+ hours of my time and energy in a 24 hour period. Everyone is busy. Everyone is busy for the next 100 years. Do not delude yourself into thinking that other writers somehow have more time than you, or that you will be able to write when a certain event takes place (i.e. all the kids are in school, or you win the lottery so you can quit your day job.)
Writing is something that can always be put on the back burner. You want to do it, the idea feels big and important, and yet it seems that other things are always calling for your immediate attention, whether it’s job, family, friends, community, church, or entertainment, or social media. Let me teach you a word that will help you out a lot.
Feel the magic there? There’s a load of laundry to fold and a sink full of dishes. No. Boom. One our of writing time. There’s this awesome TV show on that I love. No. Boom. An hour of writing time every week. There’s a party this weekend. I need to catch up on FB, Twitter, Pinterest… There’s yard work, family dinners, window washing, and sleep.
No. No. No.
If writing is important to you, then it will have to take the place of other things that are seemingly or actually important. I can’t decide what that looks like for you. It’s a balancing act and I always seem to be teetering on one side or the other. I’m never totally balanced, and sometimes I regret the things I’m not doing in the name of my writing goals, but I haven’t plummeted to an untimely death yet, and my family seems to be in tact and relatively healthy and happy.
Start small. Give yourself a chunk of time, maybe two hours a week, that is solely for writing. If you can fit in more great, but carve out some time that is sacred writing time. Nothing is aloud to interrupt it. Turn off your phone and email. Go to a cafe or library if you can’t ignore the chaos around you. Just write.
And that’s all there is to it.