A popular post from November 2008
By Julie Wright
One of our commenters, Curtis Moser, made an excellent point the other day. He said he was, "working a full time job, struggling through full time school, and trying to balance that out with being a good husband and father."
Stephanie Humphreys said, "I feel I should spend my time doing things that will actually help pay for the groceries. Writing doesn't fall under that category, so then I feel guilty for even taking the time."
Life is insanely busy. Today even more so (get out and vote!!!!). Most men and women are in the workforce. there are children to raise, marriages to keep alive, house payments to make, things to fix, things to wash, things that must be done. There are days when I shout to my children, "I am only one person!" This is my lame excuse for not being able to be ten places at once, to accomplish all the things sitting on my "must be done right now" list.
I completely understand. I am no different. Though many might say Julie Wright is merely insane and the busy part is a side note, I maintain that my insanity is a direct result of being busy.
So when do I write? When should you write? How many words a day is enough to accomplish your dream, because you MUST reach for that dream. If you don't, you will die always wondering what you might have done. So not doing it is not an option. Let me see if I can help a little.
I've said it before and I will say it again (probably many times) Time is made, not found! I've never found time like I would spare change in the dryer while doing laundry. If you need to write, then you need to make time. It's amazing how a few minutes of writing every day adds up at the end of a year.
And I'm not talking about making huge chunks of time in three hour blocks or anything absurd like that. I know your lives--know MY life. I'm talking fifteen minutes. In fifteen minutes (when I'm focused) I can write 500 words. When I'm not focused, I'm closer to 250. I just took an average of ten pages of my latest work in progress and found that the average page has 302 words on it. This is roughly 15-20 minutes a day. One page a day equates to 365 pages a year . . . hey! That's a respectable book length! Let's say you take one day off a week, that's still 313 pages at the end of the year. So at fifteen to twenty minutes a day, you can write one book a year.
Let's think of where you might make fifteen minutes. If you have a job, your employer will give you two fifteen minute break (it's the law; if this is the first you've heard about the fifteen minute break deal, you need to call your HR manager). Work breaks are awesome writing times because there are so few distractions. You can go to your car where you are all alone, and there are no kids begging for attention, no phones ringing, no one dropping by the house to say hello. Now Curtis said he was going to school full time. This means he likely uses his fifteen minutes for studying, finishing term papers that got put off . . . etc. I totally get that. Grades are important when you're going to school with the purpose of exiting with a piece of paper.
But even students who are employees who are dads need a few minutes to themselves. Find a few minutes that belong to you every day, even if it's only three words you get written.
Stay at home moms have a different set of worries. We all know there is no way to steal a few minutes to yourself. Even the bathroom proves impossible as little fingers reach under the door saying, "Mom? Are you in there, Mom?" Lately I've been driving kids all over the state for lessons, practices, recitals . . . oy! But I usually end up with a few minutes during practice or at the doctor's office. I take my manuscript with me everywhere! I used to write on a spiral notebook with a pen. I finished three manuscripts that way. As a gift to myself when my third book came out, I bought myself an Alphasmart. It's lightweight, portable and doesn't have the distractions of email. I love my Alphasmart. Keep your writing with you (but don't forget to backup!) and take advantage of idle time presented to you throughout the day.
I'm not telling you to neglect your life, I'm telling you to enhance it--make it better by reaching for the dream. A few minutes every day goes a long way towards 'the end.'