Monday, December 14, 2009

Busy, Busy

If you’re like me, you’re not making a living with your writing. Sure, you’ve got that dream project in mind, and maybe you’ve started taking steps to plan it out on paper. Maybe you’re further along than that, and you have everything but the kitchen sink plotted out for the world in your brain (and trust me, I’m looking for a way to bring that to life, too). Any way you slice it, you’ve got something in mind that you want to write, a great idea that needs to be expressed. There’s just one problem – you have no time to write!

Whenever I talk about writing to other creative people, a common phrase tends to crop up with minor variations: “I’d love to write, but I have no time.” Everyone has a million other things they need to do first, and they all take up every moment of every day. Whether it be work or kids, or boyfriend/husband (which, let’s face it, can also fall under the “kids” category sometimes), whatever your excuses are, they’re keeping you from letting you exercise your writing skills. They’re also completely bogus.

It’s always possible to find time to write. There are a number of perfectly good opportunities in the day to get something down on paper, opportunities that might otherwise slip by without you even knowing it. You can write first thing in the morning or just before you go to bed. You can write while you eat lunch, or while you’re on the phone listening to crappy hold music. You can write while you’re waiting for your friend to pick you up, or at the bus stop, or on the bus/train you take to work. Heck, you can write while you’re in the bathroom, provided you don’t have family threatening to break down the door if you don’t get out of there right now. There are tons of little moments in the day where you can put down some words in story form, if you know where to look.

How do I get around balancing a day job and social obligations to friends and family, and still find time to write? I’m fortunate in that I have a number of opportunities throughout the day where I can exercise my wordcraft. While I may not have much time between waking up and heading out to work (a morning person, I am not), I’ve got a good stretch of 20 minutes on the train ride to work where I can do my thing. At lunch, I can usually snag the same amount of time to nail down some story. And after work, I can either sequester myself at home or take a couple hours to fuel my imagination with caffeine at the local Starbucks.

Incidentally, I’ll take a venti Peppermint Mocha, the Frappuccino version if the weather is warm.

The point is, the supposed “lack of time” that everyone complains about is easily solved with some applied time management skills. Sure, you may have to sacrifice time in other areas of your life to accommodate writing – a little less time watching TV or fiddling around on the internet – but your writer’s spirit will thank you for it. And you may find that your writing will enrich the other areas of your life if you set some time aside specifically to let your imagination run wild.

Try it out, and see how it works for a week or two. And if you see me typing away on my laptop at Starbucks, I like my Peppermint Mocha with whipped cream, please!

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