Sunday, September 13, 2015

Finding Time for Your Writing

It's like Christ's parable of the sower and the seeds.  Some of the seeds landed on good soil, some on rocky ground, and some on thorny ground, where weeds would spring up and strangle the crop.  I believe that His mention of the thorny ground was to remind us that the cares of this life can strangle the good things we are trying to accomplish, by stealing all our free time, and can even prevent us from becoming the people we were meant to be.  We hear truth and fail to dwell on it and act on it, thus robbing ourselves of the growth we might have known, if only we had more time for what is truly important.

For those of us who are trying to be writers, it can be so hard to find time to write.  I work full time; I have a long commute; I own a home that needs repair and improvement; and of course, there's always yard work.  I have family who need my attention.  And my friends like to hear from me now and then.  There's always something that seems to be more important than my writing.  But if I'm ever going to become a published author, I'm going to have to find time for my writing.  Somehow.

This summer has been difficult.  In addition to my usual yard work around the house, I've tackled some home improvements.  I had no idea how much of a distraction the home improvements would prove to be.  I hate the cold of winter, but I'm almost eager for this winter to come.  I should be done with the home improvements by then, and the only yard work I'll have to do is to occasionally shovel snow from the sidewalk.  When my yard rests under its blanket of snow, so do I, and then I have more time for my writing.

Meanwhile, I look for those few opportunities that I have to get some writing done.  I have a tiny little computer, an Asus EeePC netbook - which I won in raffle, believe it or not - that has proven to be a lifesaver for my writing.  What little writing I've gotten done lately has been due to the portability of this little PC.  I pop it in my backpack and write on the bus, so I can take advantage of that long commute that I mentioned earlier.  On my lunch hour, I wolf down my food, boot up my Asus, then try to spend thirty to forty minutes working on my latest short story.  Saturdays are for chores, but on Sundays, after church, I take my Asus to the coffee shop and try to spend a few hours writing.  It's my only day that I can truly carve out a block of time for writing.  All those stolen moments, robbed from the time-consuming weeds of duty and responsibility, that want to choke all the creativity out of my life, add up, and I do manage to get writing done during those times.

So for those of you who write, don't give up.  Just find a little time somewhere in your schedule.  It doesn't have to be a lot.  Consistent effort will pay off over time.  The important thing is to be consistent.  When it's your time to write - WRITE.  Don't think of all those chores that need to be done.  It's your writing time, so just write.  The world and all your responsibilities will still be there when your writing time has passed.  Devote your writing time to your writing, and let the world turn without you for a few minutes.  You'll be glad you did, later, when you look at your finished text.

The worst thing that could happen to us as aspiring authors is to reach the end of our lives and look back and think of all those stories we wanted to write, but didn't, because we didn't find the time.  Let that fear motivate you to find a few stolen moments for your writing.

And remember this:  your characters cannot tell their own stories.  They depend on you to bring them into the world.  If you don't find the time to write, they can never live.  They will only be known by you, and they will exist only in your imagination.  The world will never meet your characters, nor will it know their stories - unless you find the time to SIT DOWN AND WRITE.