Where Do You Find Time To Write?
“Write at the edges of the day.” ~ Toni Morrison, author of “Beloved”
One of my online friends asked me this question: Where do you find time to write?
No excuses, 2016 is your year. Have you decided that? Have you really made a decision to do this? If so, read on.
People say to me all the time, “You should write…” and I tell them they could write, I’m writing already and ideas are the easy part. Easier for someone else to do it? No, you can.
A dear friend even said to me once, “When I’m ready to write that screenplay, you can quickly walk me through the process.” Nope, I can’t. I’ve been learning and working on the craft of screenwriting for many years and still have a long way to go. I can’t walk you through anything easily, you have to do your own work.
Excuses I hear: (a) If I could only take a year off to write, (b) When the kids leave home, I’ll have more time, and my favorite, (c) If I just had more money, I could have an easy job, writing.
While life is happening, you could be writing. The perfect time may never come, so just stay. Do small things with great passion. What works for me: I do five pages, then I’ve completed my goal. Time is not a measure for me.
Find some way of earning money that is not selling your books until you make it, otherwise your writing becomes stressful and there is pressure to write the next piece that will make a few dollars, as opposed to focusing on your magnum opus every morning and night in between working.
In Stephen King’s On Writing (one of my favorite books on writing) he talks of when he was working in a commercial laundry and his wife Tabby was working second shift at Dunkin Donuts while they tried to raise two kids. He wrote short stories when he could, and sometimes got a check in the mail.
But he persisted — and you can too.
- Write for two hours every evening, instead of watching TV.
- Use your voice recorder on your smartphone. I write articles while hiking sometimes. Sometimes I just enjoy the hike.
- Get up an hour earlier.
- On your commute (train/bus) — that’s why you have read Harry Potter.
- Saturday mornings.
- Hire someone to do your household chores — go to a bookstore, come home to a clean house. This is how I paid myself for work that I was not earning money at.
- Take a lunch hour at work several times a week, find a room and then write. People work from their desk too much now. When you leave your company, your inbox will still be full and they will replace you with someone else the next day. A dear friend once said to me, “They won’t build a statue for you and put it in front of City Hall when you leave.” Ego checked, life granted.
- Organize the number of your work days to four a week. Use the fifth for writing.
My personal story: I’ve always made my living as a writer. I just did not accept anything other than that as my goal. I rolled pennies for toilet paper once when I was broke (sad day, but I’m still talkin’ about it, right?) — and have also jumped up and down when I was cleared through Interpol to interview the Dalai Lama (great day).
There are many days in between, filled with kids, a husband, charitable work, creating and growing my own business, etc. I still found time to write and continued my writing education by going back to school to pursue my dream of screenwriting.
Some of my favorite writing books:
- Writing Down The Bones & Wild Mind, Living the Writer’s Life, both by Natalie Goldberg
- Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, Blake Snyder
- On Writing, A Memoir on The Craft, Stephen King
- The Art of Dramatic Writing, Lajos Egri
- The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
- The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
- Bird by Bird, Some Instruction on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott
- Writing Begins with the Breath, Embodying Your Authentic Voice, Laraine Herring
- The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler
I have three bookcases in the house filled and overflowing with books. This is just a quick top 10. If you have specific questions you would like to ask, give me a shout-out in the comments below or email me, and I’ll try my best to answer.