“I can’t wait until I’m done with high school so I can spend more time writing,” confessed several of the young writers I worked with some years ago in Ohio. They had been selected to participate in a week-long writing intensive at a state university. They were creative, avid writing nerds thrilled to have time with peers and adults alike who actually appreciated and encouraged their desire to write.
Every time I heard this, I immediately wondered whether I should break their bubble with the truth: they will never have time to write. That they probably have more control over their time to write in high school than just about any other time in their lives. That they will go on to college, where they’ll probably fill any non-academic time with work to pay tuition and much-needed social time. After that, more school or a job… or two jobs… juggling doing what it takes to pay the bills with staying connected with family and friends.
If they marry, they’ll have even more demands on their time… and having kids?!? Well… climbing Mount Everest might seem easier than finding time to write. (See Suzannah Windsor Freeman’s book “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Writing,” being released soon, for help on this front.)
Me? Thanks to my beloved husband, I was able to quit my job well before retirement age. We’re on the road as full-time RVers — living and traveling in our RV. As we planned what we’d pack and our first trip on the open highway, we looked forward to a future of fishing for him and writing for me.
What could keep us from that?!?
Well, life gets in the way. We might be on the road, but we still have to get the oil changed, make meals, do laundry, buy groceries. And since we’re in different cities and states all the time, that means it can take longer to run simple errands because we’re constantly figuring out which stores carry the brands we like.
Not that I’m complaining! Here’s my point: you’ll never be handed time to write. You will always have to carve out that sliver of the morning, afternoon or night to get that short story finished, that poem poured over, that novel nudged into the next chapter.
Even professional, bestselling authors have to block out time to focus on their work. They have all the business of writing they have to juggle.
So don’t keep waiting for the time to suddenly be right. It won’t be.
Sharpen your knife and carve out that slice of your day for you and your work. Hang a note on the doorknob or around your neck that says, “Please don’t disturb. Writer At Work.”
Otherwise you’ll never get to that short story. The novel will never get started. The poem will never find its internal song. You will never be the writer your dream of being if you don’t write.
It’s up to you.
Thanks so much for mentioning my book! This post is right on: you’ll never have more time to write unless you focus on making time. I hope a lot of young, aspiring writers learn from your words of wisdom!
Suzannah — You’re very welcome for the mention! Am looking forward to seeing your book (even though I’m not a working mom… !).