Finding Time to Write
Finding time, making time, so much to do, how to do life and write, too? These are the questions you ask yourself when you aren’t up to your neck with a project. These are the questions you ask when you think you know what it looks like when real writers write, and you aren’t doing it. But you are a real writer. Please gently pinch your right foreman with your left hand. Feel that? You are real (my apologies to all the philosophers I’ve known and read, but I am on my way to a point, here). Now look at the collection of documents in any of your computer folders. Writing, right? You wrote all that. You see where this is going…. you are a real writer. You have proof.
So now that you are a real writer, what did it look like when you produced all that writing? Where were you? What were you also doing (never met a writer who wasn’t multi-tasking with some close-at-hand, potential distraction)? Do you need real deadlines? How about self-imposed? Do you do well with a routine? Investigate your own methods and then do more of that.
But I am also talking about a mindset. Since you are a real writer, put your work in the top 1/10 of your to-do list. Make writing what you do before everything else is finished, before your are tired or hungry or cranky. And since you are a real writer, give yourself time to do research, to read, to talk with others about writing and reading. Writing takes time, so give yourself the gift of time. You may have to trick yourself.
I like to collaborate on writing projects. The energy of another person and a commitment to another person is fun and inspiring, so I collaborate whenever I can. Recently, I collaborated with a poet on a children’s book. I have read and studied poetry in graduate school, but I was afraid to try to really write it (could have something to do with all that poetry I read). My wonderful poet friend taught me to try,and she set me free. I find myself counting syllables and stresses on my fingers like a first grader doing addition. I do it all the time, trying to get a line right. And behold! Without the machinations of a master scheduler, I have given myself the gift of more time to write.
What might shake things up for you? What can you do that is fresh or different? Read more stories, go to poetry readings or story projects? Take a class? What might help your give yourself the gift of time to write and do all those other fun things associated with it?
This is not a rhetorical question. Please write down three ideas: