Here are two posts you really should read.
Consider the mother of young children who desperately wants to be a writer. She’s running a business from home, she’s looking after her family, she’s taking courses for professional qualifications – and she’s writing in her spare time. Some people might say, “If writing is what she really wants to do, she should completely reorganise her life so that she can do it. Nothing else will make her truly happy.” Which, of course, is rubbish. It almost certainly wouldn’t make her happy to neglect her children. It probably wouldn’t make her happy to be poor.
Thank you, Graham, for saying this. I came to the conclusion a while ago, that my family and my job are more important than writing, and that writing will always come third. That took a lot of pressure off. Does it mean I don’t write? Of course not. Because writing is firmly above such things as television, socialising and (unfortunately) health. It’s important, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of my life.
If you spend your free time after work watching TV, turn off the TV and write. If you prefer to spend time with your family when you get home, write a bit after the kids are in bed and before you turn in yourself. If your work makes you too tired to think straight when you get home, wake up early and write a little in the morning before you head off. If you can’t do that (I’m not a morning person myself) then you have your weekend — weekends being what I used when I wrote Agent to the Stars.
In other words, there really is no excuse. Everyone is busy, everyone has commitments. If you want to write, you will. Otherwise, stop forcing yourself and go do something you enjoy.
It’s the end of the year, and this is traditionally the time to take stock of your life. Where will you be focusing your energies in 2011?