Many of my personal friends have mentioned how proud they are of me for writing my book, and how inspired they are to pick up a project that they stopped writing, for various reasons. So when I read the following piece by Hope Clark, author and editor of the Funds for Writers, I knew I had to share it. It is applicable to other disciplines too, not just writing. It is reprinted here with her permission. I hope it motivates you to continue your projects.
You cannot create time. You are allotted time. Twenty-four hours in a day. So when you say you don’t have time, you’re
wrong. You have the same amount as anyone else.
So when someone contacts me, and asked how can they make time for writing, I turn up the tough love to a pretty high volume.
You make time for writing by sacrificing something else.
There! Problem solved. Now all you have to do is decide what you toss out of your life to make room for your stories.
Oh, but you can’t. You have the job, kids, parents, church, volunteer activities, exercising, gardening, cleaning, commuting, Wednesday’s bridge, Friday’s movie night, and the list goes on and on.
How do successful writers do it?
Let’s start with one week. Find your notebook or calendar that has plenty of room to write on, and make note of absolutely everything you do. No fudging. No forgetting and making up answers. You have twenty-four hours in a day, seven days a week. Note them all.
Maybe you cannot give up your kids, as much as you’d like to on some days. However, you can do the following to spend more time writing and less time with child-rearing. Yes, I said it! Take some time away from the kids. I’m serious as a heart attack when I say that if your children do not see you passionate about something other than them, they don’t learn how to go after something great in their lives or respect others who do.
1. Pick your writing time, even if it’s 15 minutes a day.
2. Make that time off limits except in case of emergency (dinner isn’t an emergency).
3. Do not break your own regimen, or you teach the kids it’s okay to break their own obligations.
4. Have someone watch the kids even if you’re in the house. This teaches the kids that rules are rules.
5. Attend a conference. You’ll miss them more than they’ll miss you.
Don’t have kids? Let’s take the job, the commute, volunteering, and so on, and step back to analyze them in a different light. How can they be streamlined, short-cut, or reorganized to consume less time?
There’s always a way. With all the books on Amazon, obviously somebody is finding the time. You are not the martyr. You are not so unique. It’s just a matter of reorganization, prioritizing, and frankly, not being afraid of tackling your writing as if it were vital to who you are.
Editor, FundsforWriters, www.fundsforwriters.com
Writer’s Digest 101 Best Web Sites for Writers – 2001-2011