So you want to write? What’s stopping you?

Here are two posts you really should read.

Want is a Vector by Graham Storrs

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.

Writing: Find the time or don’t by John Scalzi

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?

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12 thoughts on “So you want to write? What’s stopping you?

  1. Very interesting read – it is true that time must be made to write. Sometimes I write on my mobile phone as I walk down the street or sit on a bus because apparently that’s the best time for me. Snow makes that harder in winter though.

    I’d love the luxury of sitting down at the computer whenever I please in order to write and generally I have that luxury, which I know others do not. Though currently my free time is filled by a noisy older (who really sounds like she’s younger) sibling who is back living in the room next door to me, making the time I usually have to write very infrequent.

    Here’s to 2011 when hopefully there’ll be more time for the creative stuff!

  2. Wonderful advice, Merrilee. It’s such a good affirmation, as well as reminder, that it’s not only okay to let the writing come last, but that it can partly be the best and most happy inducing thing we can do when everything else is considered.

  3. Yes, yes. So glad to finally see something that doesn’t criticize me for not making the time to write. The time does exist, but it is difficult to manage a home and raise small children–my top two priorities as well. I do like me some tv, but I do still write.

  4. Great post, as usual. When I was a single mother running my own business, my writing pretty much consisted of making ‘to do’ and grocery lists and an occasional short essay/observation — and I never once regretted prioritizing as I did. Family first, work second, everything else kind of fought it out together to figure out what would come next on my list of priorities.

    Now my little family is grown-up, I work part-time and have the luxury of time to devote more consistently to writing. And to a host of other things as well, but I will devote a fair piece of my time to writing in 2011.

    And I may finish that quilted wall hanging I started sooooo long ago.

  5. 2011 goals? Oi vey, it’s been fluttering around my headspace but the few things that are coming up concrete are not writing related.

    Getting my financial circumstances under control so I can afford the new roof my house needs means finding a second job. I would love to sell a book to put a new roof on my house, but nothing is in shape to shop around. So I’m willing to trade in the spare time now and pick up the career part of writing once I have some breathing room. Breathing room means able to quit the second job.

    I’ll still be writing, very little actually stops that.

  6. Very true, which is why I’ve changed jobs to find a happier medium: a job I enjoy more, yet with more time to write, with a manageable decrease in salary!

    2011 will see me putting more time into my writing, including attending writing conferences, with the aim of publishing an anthology of short stories by the end of the year, and hopefully finding an agent for my novels. Lots to do…

  7. This year I discovered that I write because I am a creative person, not that I am creative because I write. So my new year is focused on living a creative life and exploring ALL of my creative interest. Only then will I really understand where writing falls in. These two articles are a great start!

    My first step toward accepting that I need to be free from any form of my self-imposed writer stigmatism was to sign up for an oil painting class that starts in January.

  8. Yes. There are a few people who have all the time in the world they want to write. There are a few who quite genuinely cannot find the time, no matter how committed they are. The vast majority of us are somewhere in between, but we’re not all at the same place.

    The thing I’d add is that not having time to write right now doesn’t mean you can’t make that time in six months, and just because someone is taking a break doesn’t mean they’re not committed. Life stuff comes in waves, and to some extent you’ve got to go with them.

  9. Yes, yes, many times yes! You can find the time to write, if you make time for it, but there’s no reason to neglect or bankrupt your family to do it, especially seeing as writing has so little guarantees–it may never provide you with financial gain and it won’t let you turn back time so that you can redo all the years you spent neglecting the kids. Man that one hits me the most. It makes me hurt a little–a lot–for the time I have told the kids, “not now, Mom’s writing.” 2011 will be a different year.

    You have no idea how grateful I am to have come across your post.

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