I write for a living. I also edit for a living. I love my work and am grateful to have it. But it keeps me busy and it is hard to carve out much time for my romance writing. I have to contribute regular income to my household and there is only so much time in a day, week, month. Only so much physical and emotional energy within me to put out. However, there is nothing like getting a book contract for renewing my commitment to my stories.
I Got, Got, Got, Got No Time
I’m weary of talking about not having enough time. I'm kind of bored but not surprised with myself that I’m writing about it again. I wrote a post about it last summer and discussed how those of us writers who also work jobs and take care of families need to be creative, something we're good at, in finding time to write. And here I am again, reiterating the topic.
I'm open to suggestions for how to put time on my side. Here's a thought from Hope Clark in one of her Funds for Writers newsletter and website. She suggests taking a hard look at life's demands.
"We have to give up something else to make writing happen. We have selected a crazy hobby/career path/dream that is one of the most time-consuming interests on the
planet. It starts as a whim, then a dream, then an urge that grows. You have to do this. You NEED to do this . . . this . . . writing. … So, for every new hour of writing, what other hour of something else will you sacrifice? Give it a name. Cleaning? Jogging? Sleeping? Gardening? Lunch?" she writes.
The P Word
Clark makes a good point, because there really is only so much time to work with. It's a likely conclusion that I have to set my Priorities to, well, Prioritize working on my books. It seems that even though, as Clark points out, we as writers often glow when we talk about what it means to us, we don't do it. And according to Jennifer Blanchard on Better Writing Habits, being too busy to write, another way of saying not having enough time, is the number one reason writers give for not being productive with the thing they love. She, too, attributes this situation to not Prioritizing.
"Most likely you’re making time for non-productive things, like watching TV or surfing the Web. That means you actually do have time to write, you’re just not making it a priority to write," she writes.
It seems a good, stiff shaking of myself is in order. As Clark, author of Lowcountry Bribe and The Shy Writer, noted and what we all know, we can't do everything. We may have to stop doing something we feel has greater importance than our writing. She's found this out by becoming more successful with her writing.
"As my writing grew, as I had to promote a novel I never had to before, the demand for my other hours grew ravenous for my attention. How could I find more time? There went some of my gardening . . . I saw my chickens less. The house is definitely not as clean. I stopped going to the gym."
It seems obvious but nonetheless mindboggling—I have to pick what I'm going to spend time on. And if I seldom pick writing fiction, I'll not produce books. I have already cut back on housecleaning, so what can I cull? I'll have to figure it out. It's time.
*This post has been adapted from its original version posted on The Write Way Cafe in October 2012.