Don't Have the Time to Write? Make Time.

I see two major reasons for not writing. One of them is a lack of creative energy. Oh, the muse is a fickle creature. Lament the waves of depression that keep the author from her sacred tome and wait until inspiration returns! But there are ways to deal with this, as the professionals know.

To keep the creative juices flowin', one must be able to tap into them. Ritual helps: same place, same time, same tools. A professional writer must be able to write even when she doesn't feel like writing.

But this isn't about that problem. The other reason I've seen for not writing is lacking time to write. Yeah, you work fifty hour weeks and have that four year old that needs food and love. Doesn't your family know you have real obligations? Don't your friends realize inviting you to a party is akin to beating Hemingway over the head with a brick and dragging him away from his typewriter?

But just as the professionals have to learn the ability to write when the muse might be hiding, you can't just sit around and wait for time to write. If you're busy -- and most are -- that's never going to happen, or when it does, if you don't have that skill of writing without inspiration beaming from on-high, your previous moment of availability will produce nothing but the sorrow of a blank page.

So the author must make time to write. You're busy. I understand. A lot is going on in your life, but either you're a hobbyist or a pro. If you're a pro, then you've probably got this part down already (as you should have that first problem solved, as well). For the hobbyist, you can think about writing in the same way as any enjoyable activity. If you like to watch baseball, you have to make time to watch baseball. You look at what time the game comes on, make sure you get everything else done, and then you sit on the couch, turn on the TV, and you watch. Easy. If you want to write, you do the same. You make sure you have everything else done, you schedule a time (and if you're trying to knock out both problems at once, you schedule your writing time for the same slot every day/week/etc.), and then you sit down at your desk, pick up your pen, and write down some words. Easy? For many, no, it's not, and maybe that's because writing is seen as an inherently self-indulgent hobby. I've seen people give more attention to building their NCAA brackets than their beloved writing projects. Part of making time to write is putting value in your writing and value in your writing time.

You don't need much time to write. Even half an hour is long enough to get a few hundred words on the page, and though you'll progress at a slower pace than your friend who works from home and gets a good three hours a day at the typing machine, you'll have something. That's what the hobbyist can do. That's how you build yourself into a productive writer. If you're schedule is full of other great things, then it's full! If you want to write, make room by taking something else out.

Do you ever find yourself in front of a TV, scrolling through Netflix? That's writing time.
Do you drink a cup of coffee in the morning? Do it with a laptop in front of you -- writing time.

Friends invite you out during your scheduled writing time? Nope. That's writing time!

If you can't find the time, that's really just too bad (said with sympathy and not sarcasm). Time owes you no favors, so don't do it any, either. Make time for your hobby, for your passion. If you can't, then there's likely something else in your life that's taking up more space than it should. You may not be able to get an hour every day or even a half hour every other day, but if you can get that hour on Sunday before the kids wake up or that half hour on Fridays when your husband gets home a bit after you, that's when you hit the keyboard.

If you're under the age of twenty two, I don't know what to tell you. Unless you're working two jobs, are already married with kids, and working hard to keep your scholarship, you should have the time to write.


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