writing life

Many aspiring writers say they would write if they had time. But is the lack of time the real issue?

We live in the culture of busy, all we want is to do, do, do. How much of this doing is really important though? If we were to observe for one week where our attention is going and how we spend our time, we’d realise that we use a lot of our energy on things that only appear to be significant.

As a rule, if we truly care about something we make time for it. Even if it’s just five minutes.

In an episode of the How to! podcast which revolves around the question of having a baby or not Cheryl Strayed said:

“I wrote Wild in a state of fear and despair because I really thought how will I ever do this? I hadn’t even slept through the night for more than two years. […] All of my best writing happened while two little babies were sleeping in the next room and there’s something about that, that I can say yeah you know it was hard but I did it. And in some ways it clarified my ambitions because I was like: this is harder than it ever was before. What did I do all those years before I had them? I should have written 10 books.”

So the question is: is writing important enough? If the answer is yes then maybe one of these will be useful:

  • observe how you spend your time; see if there are things that you do that you can let go of or reduce and put the saved time into writing.
  • if one day you only have 15 minutes for writing, use them for a very specific thing like: work on a descriptive passage, pick a character and think about them, pick just one paragraph and make it better.
  • use a timer. You’ll soon realise that if you tell your brain it only has a limited amout of time to focus on a single thing it will be quite efficent.

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