I don't have the time to write this blog post. Right now, in another open document, my novel's final edits are sitting, demanding my attention. I've been waiting for these edits; I wanted to be done with them a week ago. It's my fault they weren't done sooner. Right now my inability to estimate has become everyone else's emergency; I'm so blessed to have friends that will forgive me my errors in time management.
So, why would I stop what I'm doing to take the time to write this blog post? Deadlines. This blog is due, so sayeth my Asana. Time management software runs my life now, and I'm grateful for it. Prioritizing this blog post over my novel's edits isn't something I would do on my own. The pressing matter feels like the novel, but this blog post will be published before the novel is out, despite my internal panic.
This sounds a lot like work, doesn't it? Time management software? Deadlines? Prioritizing? That doesn't sound like the dreamy world of indulging in long trips through your imagination. It doesn't even sound like fun!
I always wanted to be a writer. At least, I thought I did. I loved indulging in long trips through my imagination. I even took people with me, by way of storytelling various role-playing games. That was more like improvisational theater than writing, but it let me express my stories to an appreciative audience, and that was all I wanted. However, the thought of sitting down at a computer and writing more than a character description was intimidating. It felt isolated. It felt lonely. It felt like work.
I didn't really want to be a writer.
I fiddled around with it. I wrote a couple of chapters here, I learned about MUSHes and role-played characters online through text. I even learned how to use wikis to keep my characters and plot straight in my games.
Commitment was not my bag.
It took a major, life-changing event for me to learn that writing is work, but it is worthy work. I was laid off, and unexpectedly had more time in my life than I'd ever had, and less money. I had a two year old son, so I didn't have a lot of running around I could do, which meant being stuck at home. And without my conscious decision, writing became the solution. Having something structured to do when I wasn't hunting for work made the situation bearable.
I am not saying that everyone needs a huge, life-changing event to get into writing. I'm saying that's what it took to get me to see that writing was worth the time invested. I never used to turn down an offer to socialize. Now I've restructured my life to socialize sparingly, so that I can use my “spare” time to write. I had a full time job and wrote 90% of Bento Box with that job. After I lost that job I kicked into high gear, because I may have to buckle down and take another day job again. We'll see. Success isn't predictable, and it isn't overnight. We'll see how I do.
What convinced me that I had time to write was an overwhelming desire to write. It became more important to me than socializing, more important than gaming, more important than watching TV. It's not more important than my husband or my son, but they know that and I work hard to keep it that way. It took a major change in my perspective, which has in turn to a huge change in lifestyle. Not everyone is up for that, and that's okay.
If you're a writer, you'll make the time to write.