Finding time to write. It’s the age-old complaint of writers everywhere. Pick your excuse du jour.
I’m too busy…
I have a full-time job…
I have children. Multiple children. They’re constantly re-enacting High School Musical 3 at the top of their lungs. Asking “Why?” Needing my love and attention and things like food…
I have aging parents…Sick cats…Dying plants…
I’m stuck in carpool…stuck in traffic…stuck in a perpetual state of writer’s block.
Whatever your excuses and however legitimate they are, if you want to succeed as a writer, you’re going to have to write. Regularly. Maybe even every day. We writers have heard the advice a million times, and we shake our heads like Carrie Fisher in When Harry Met Sally. “You’re right. You’re right. I know you’re right.” We have to agree.
So what does it take to finally make the commitment?
I have most of the same excuses – with one minor caveat. I actually DO write every day. As a full-time copywriter and brand storyteller, my professional life dictates (to my great pleasure) that I write five to seven days a week. I love to write and I have no shortage of work. What I don’t get to spend time on every day is my creative writing. And that’s a shame because I am head over heals in love with fiction. Fiction and I are in a serious relationship. We’ve been together for a while now. It’s a long-term thing.
Jamie Todd Rubin conducted an interesting — and successful — experiment. He set aside his preconceived notions about the environment in which he needed to write and instead began to place his focus on simply writing every day. The result is impressive. Rubin says he ended up writing 400k words in one year by taking the plunge. I’m sure author Craig Childs, another MFA mentor, writes even more. He’s never without a laptop, or a journal or a napkin. Heck, I’ve seen the man write sentences on his arm in a pinch. Ass in chair. Pen to paper. Ink to skin.
So, take a look at Rubin’s blog post and let me know your thoughts and ideas.
With a second novel on the horizon and several short fiction pieces nagging to come to fruition, I’ve found that Rubin’s research-based findings have inspired me to commit time every day to my fiction. I might have to relive the days when we had a newborn in the house and rise in the wee hours of the morning to make it work. I definitely need to put to use that mini Moleskin journal that’s been hiding out in my purse for several weeks. And I really like the idea of the noise-cancelling headphones. No more High School Musical for me!
And no more excuses.
It’s time to pop the question. Time to offer my solemn vow to be fiction’s faithful partner… in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, in full-time employment as well as on vacation. From full house to empty nest.
No more sporadic dates only when it’s convenient for me. No more showing up only when I feel inspired.
Fiction…will you marry me? Will you be the one I wake up to (at 4:30 in the morning) every day? Let me love you on good writing days.. and bad?
I’m not even worried that things will get a little “day-in, day-out” with us — because, Fiction, you and I can always spice things up. We can explore new settings, new protagonists. Even travel in time. And if we have a little conflict, so what? The more, the better, right?
They say if you can imagine yourself doing anything else, don’t be a writer. Fiction, I can’t imagine life without you.
Just say yes.