Finding Time to Write
Finding time to write is one of my abiding concerns and has been a particular challenge this week. I have tried to set up various schedules for writing, quit jobs so I could spend more time writing, organized work contracts so that my deliverables can be provided over a longer period of time, and worked at challenging hours like between 10 and midnight. This is nothing new to most writers. Maintaining some income and still finding time to write is the hardest part of writing. Yes I could give up skiing, but I ski exclusively with the kids and I am not giving up family time.
Every time I think I have something set up so I can write more, something creeps in, volunteer work for good causes that nobody else will/can do, small contracts that are hard to turn away because I quit my job and I have to maintain some level of income, and because small contracts don’t imply a huge commitment, so theoretically I could write next week, I am expected to take on more volunteer work (I am an easy mark for volunteer work).
I have a writing friend who says there are no excuses. That people who don’t find time to write only have themselves to blame and should stop whining.
Guides to finding time to write are predictable – many focus on writer’s block, which I do not experience. Time at my desk in which I allow myself to focus on writing instead of other priorities is my challenge. Getting rid of inefficiencies, avoiding unnecessary ‘should’ commitments, getting others to do things that they can do for themselves are other strategies. I am ruthlessly efficient with my time. Volunteer commitments are a serious problem and amount to 10 to 15 hours a week. Any ‘just say no’ counsel seems wasted on me. As much as writing is my priority, I am more inclined to sacrifice paid work for writing than volunteer work.
Joining a writing group or taking a course has proven an effective strategy for me. If I have a deadline and I have to impress other people, or at least not make them think I am idiotic, I will deliver. But short of that I have not found a successful approach. Writing is what I do when I have completed all my other to do items. I don’t pay myself first, and I don’t do my writing first. I do still write regularly and effectively, but not every day, and I must. I must write every day.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are
and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically—to
say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good.’—Stephen R. Covey
I'm working on it. I said no to two things today. It's a step. Very very small.
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