Time Is An Excuse, Not A Reason

Just make the time to write. Time is an excuse, not a reason.
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I finally had time to read the first issue in my subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine. A half hour before bedtime, I sneak in an article or two (read in order, of course) before I click off the lights and flip on my alarm clock for another busy day eight hours away.

Within these pages, I read about the adventures of writers taking on wilderness retreats, literary agents discovering that hidden gem of a manuscript and authors publishing their first, second and third novel.

(insert dramatic sigh here)

Reading about so many writers accomplishing great goals—goals that I want to achieve—doesn’t make me jealous. It makes me sad.

I remember the conference I had with a professor I greatly admired during my first year of graduate school. He looked at me seriously and said, “I predict you’ll be signing your first publishing contract in three years.”

That was five years ago.

Where has all that time gone?

I was busy jumpstarting my marketing career, defending my graduate thesis and moving across the country. I’ve been squeezing every minute I have writing blog posts and social media updates and digital content in between for numerous companies.

But I haven’t been writing for myself.

My professor said that I should only concentrate on my writing, to take out loans while I finished polishing that perfect manuscript. But loans have high interest rates, and debt crushes my independent spirit. I figured I could balance both my writing and my career.

Well, I was wrong.

After a successful day of brainstorming, scribbling, rewriting and posting—I’m exhausted. My right brain is throbbing and all I want to do is hop into bed with a bowl of pasta and catch up on a TV show I’m already behind on.

I don’t regret my career decision. In fact, I love what I do. I discovered a career in digital marketing that blends my creativity and competitive nature. I get paid to write, the dream for writers.

But I’m struggling to balance all my goals.

Reading this magazine reminded me of why I wanted to be a writer. I forgot I wanted to be an author, to have my plays performed, to have my stories published, to run off into the wilderness and rework my manuscripts.

I need a good PTO package to get all this done.

How can I make all this happen in between the 9-to-5 grind, the errands, the morning jogs, the evening freelance gigs, the required eight hours of sleep?

I need to make the time to write.

So simple to say, yet so hard to do. But it’s really the only answer.

If I want it done, I must make time to get it done. I must value enough time in my schedule to dedicate to my fiction.

What can give? What am I doing now that I can cut back on or cut out completely?

I’m taking steps towards these goals. I’ve already submitted my creative work to several publications and play festivals. Time I spent surfing the web is now spent editing my fiction.

It’s not only about making the time to write. It’s also about making the most of that time. And with my competitive nature, I’m sure I’ll get it done.

Are you struggling to make time for your writing? Share your struggles below.

4 thoughts on “Time Is An Excuse, Not A Reason

  1. I started getting up earlier to write in the mornings. That worked pretty well for a while, but now I’m trying to make that hour or so more productive. It seems like when I have extra time, I waste it all staring at the screen, but when I have somewhere I have to go, I’ll get in a good groove and have to cut it off short. So, I’m trying to find ways to prewrite effectively and especially to find rituals I can do to trigger my brain that it’s time to write. This is really hard for me because I never want to do the same thing the same way two days in a row.

    Finding time was the first hurdle, but honestly I was wasting a lot of it anyway. It’s using the time that’s becoming a problem now.

  2. Wow, your troubles seem so close to mine. It is tough to find time to write when you have really full days. I have two young children and a full-time job, so my only free time is my lunch hour. I don’t get enough sleep to give up an extra hour for some early-morning or late-night writing any more. Rachel Aaron’s blog gave me some good tips for organizing my time so that I can write scenes more efficiently. Check out her blog when you can.

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